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Autonomous vehicle insurance by design with AXA XL

Our award-winning product strategy and design collaboration with AXA XL enabled them to conceive and launch an innovative global product - all within three months.

The challenge

  • How do you design a product which is a world first?

  • How do you get a traditional organisation to act more like a start up?

  • How do we move a team from a product-led mindset to end-to-end service thinking?

The approach

  • Product strategy workshop to identify what 'autonomous vehicle insurance service' would look like.

  • Distillation of key ideas into a market-ready product in 3-months.

  • Worldwide product launch and creation of an autonomy global centre of excellence.

A group of people from across AXA XL, including underwriters, legal and design discussing the project.

How do you invent the future? You design it

Autonomous vehicles are an exciting new technology which attract lots of media interest. What’s had less attention are the implications for the insurance industry. What new or changed risks do autonomous vehicles represent, and how will the industry underwrite these? Whatever advances happen in the vehicles themselves, the sector can’t move forward until insurance is available for them. AXA XL asked Foolproof collaborate on product strategy using design thinking. It was the first time AXA XL had used this approach for new product development.

Mapping the insurance landscape for autonomous vehicles.

Commitment, alignment, action!

Our client sponsor realised that if the product was conceived and specified without early participation by all the business areas needed to bring it to market, we would lose momentum and encounter blockages late in the process. She was tireless in persuading each business unit to field someone into the initial workshops who could speak for their area and collaborate on solutions. We brought together participants from all over the globe and from every part of the business that would have a hand in developing the product. AXA XL’s autonomy partners, Oxbotica, also joined us to share what they had learned about technologies and marketplaces relating to vehicle autonomy.

Stepping out of the world of insurance

We started by looking at how other markets had been disrupted and how successful companies developed value propositions for today, with an eye on building assets and capabilities for the future. In other words, who else has tackled a challenge like this? And what can we learn from their approach?

Two people sketching.

And then stepping back in

A group of employees and strategists discussing the proposition.

Business strategy

By analysing the state of the market today, then understanding customer needs in the future, the group were able to develop a plan for how a service offering would develop as autonomy was adopted across different industries and commercial contexts.

I’ve never attended a workshop where everyone stayed so engaged throughout the two days and were really determined to develop a concrete deliverable. The outcome is a testament to the trust and commitment of everyone involved, and they have put their names to a world’s first.

Adrian Copland, former COO, AXA XL

A changing world needs new answers

The team’s strategy was a service that will develop in three phases, across a number of years, as vehicle autonomy spreads across the world. The first phase was completed within three months when AXA XL unveiled its first insurance offering in this space. As heritage companies find themselves competing with small agile organisations, it’s vital to find and embrace new approaches to stay relevant in a fast-paced world and get the right products to market quickly. By thinking of the problem in a different way and engaging a new approach to product design, AXA XL were able to produce a service offering from scratch and move to launch in under three months.


Stakeholder workshop, experience strategy, product strategy, strategic road mapping.


One x two day client workshop with retained contact over three-months until product launch.

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