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Italian insurer Generali teams up with Obi for cell phone app

by Laura Galvagni

Yesterday Assicurazioni Generali announced from San Francisco it reached an agreement with Obi Worldphone to best take advantage of “the mobile channel, reaching up to 20 high-growth markets by 2017.”

The essence of the agreement, signed with the original manufacturer of mobile telephones, is to integrate the Generali-branded app in the new device (Worldphone) developed by Obi. This is an option that would allow the Trieste-based company to reach a potential base of over 10 million people.

According to the agreement, Generali and Obi will jointly develop “a mobile insurance platform based on 'native' applications included in the standard set-up of mobile phones, with the aim of engaging consumers through the offer of services directly from the home screen of Obi Worldphone.”

The intention is to supply a sort of tailor-made service, customized to the country in which the telephone will be sold. The applications, therefore, will be developed based on the specific characteristics “of individual countries and offered to customers in the markets in which both Generali and Obi operate.”

Whoever buys the new Obi telephone can have an application integrated with which to manage one's very own insurance profile from every point of view, from the renewal of the policy to the management of claims. The agreement will start in 2015 in Turkey, India, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines and the United Arab Emirates, but the goal is to reach 20 countries by 2017.

“This breakthrough deal with Obi Worldphone will allow Generali to deliver useful, relevant services to a highly attractive customer base right through their favourite tool - the smartphone,” said Giovanni Giuliani, Generali’s Group Strategy and Business Development Director. “Generali will be present on the home screen of Obi's phones as an embedded app, and this will enable a new way of engaging clients. We are extremely pleased to work with Obi, a cutting-edge technology start-up with a proven track record that stands out for its high-quality design and impressive distribution capabilities.”

Obi is a start-up whose co-founder is John Sculley, former CEO of Apple. Its objective is to offer young consumers state-of-the-art devices at attractive prices. Obi has a far-reaching distribution network that is ensured by its partnership with Inflexionpoint, a leading company focusing on IT supply chains across the world.

The telephones have an Android operating system and are designed by Ammunition, a San Francisco-based design studio, listed in first place on the 2015 ranking by Fast Company of the world's top 10 most innovative companies in design.