The private customers of the largest Swiss insurance company will in future be able to pay with the market-leading crypto currency.
AXA, the second largest insurance company in Europe behind Allianz, is the first to offer its Swiss customers insurance in Bitcoin (BTC) to pay. This is made possible through a cooperation with the established crypto company Bitcoin Suisse.
The insurer names the digital change accelerated by the corona crisis as the driving force behind this step. AXA also refers to its own market research study from 2019, which had shown that almost a third of all respondents between the ages of 18 and 55 own or at least have an interest in cryptocurrencies.
Claudia Bienentreu, Director for Innovation at AXA Switzerland, emphasizes in this context that the introduction of Bitcoin payments is a reaction by AXA “to the growing need among its policyholders for alternative solutions in payment transactions”. New technologies in particular would play an increasingly important role.
The actual payment process with the cryptocurrency is simple and not very different from normal payments. The customers of the insurance company can simply make a normal online payment to which a reference number is assigned. The respective amount due is initially shown in Swiss francs and then converted into the equivalent in Bitcoin. However, the exchange rate used for this is only valid for a certain period of time. If customers complete their Bitcoin transaction during this period, they do not bear any risk when changing Bitcoin to Swiss francs. In addition, the insurance does not charge an additional fee for Bitcoin payments.
AXA does not hold the transferred Bitcoin itself, but instead the crypto funds flow to Bitcoin Suisse. The crypto company, which in this case acts as a payment service provider, charges a fee of 1.75% for converting Bitcoin into Swiss francs.
The market-leading cryptocurrency is not the first point of contact with blockchain technology for the large insurance company, as AXA already joined a project in 2017 that tracks the lifespan of cars on a blockchain. The insurer also sponsors the University of Basel’s Blockchain Challenge.