Driving Innovation in Insurance: The Power of Partnering with Microsoft

Driving Innovation in Insurance: The Power of Partnering with Microsoft
By: Damien Philippon, COO and Co-Founder
Christophe Bourguignat
By: Christope Bourguignat , CEO and Co-Founder

In 2016, Zelros embarked on a transformative journey with a powerful vision and clear mission. Our vision was to pioneer a future where data and technology would be the driving forces in the insurance industry. Our unwavering mission remains focused on assisting traditional insurers and brokers in leveraging data and AI on a large scale, enabling them to effectively protect their customers.

To achieve this, we asked ourselves: How do we drive meaningful change in an innovation-resistant industry? How do we deliver value to policyholders seeking personalization and digitalization? With humility, ambition, and trust, we recognized that addressing these challenges required collective effort. Our goal extended beyond enhancing customer experience; we aimed to help insurers seamlessly overcome legacy systems, regulations, and other obstacles during their transition.

Throughout this journey, we realized the need to develop our own cutting-edge technology and intellectual property. Engaging in spirited discussions with our team, we made informed decisions and forged a path forward.

Why did we decide to build our recommendation engine on top of Microsoft Azure?

Drawing from his experience as a consultant, Damien dedicated his time to assisting clients in selecting the most suitable technology, resulting in the formulation of a compelling list of key requirements.

Non-competitiveAny cloud technology providers with intentions to compete against insurance players were automatically excluded from consideration.
Trusted brandIn the risk-averse insurance industry, trust and reliability are paramount for success.
Global footprintWe sought a player with data centers across the globe, aligning with our ambitious global aspirations.
Compliance with local regulationsGiven the stringent regulations in the insurance sector, particularly in Europe with its advanced data privacy laws, ensuring compliance was a complex challenge.
Complete tech stack with customizable capabilitiesAs a tech startup, we constantly evaluated where to allocate our resources and make strategic investments, whether it involved building certain components in-house or leveraging available off-the-shelf capabilities.
Unparalleled dedication to securityWith insurance being an information-centric domain, handling sensitive client data on a daily basis, we needed to demonstrate our commitment to cutting-edge cybersecurity measures to instill confidence in our clients.

Considering all the aforementioned factors, Microsoft emerged as the clear and obvious choice for our needs.

Unforeseen Advantages: Microsoft’s Valuable Support

On addition to providing an exceptional cloud foundation, Microsoft pleasantly surprised us with several unexpected benefits:

  1. AI Factory Program: Microsoft’s establishment of the AI factory program at Station F in 2018 presented us with a valuable opportunity. We were fortunate to be selected in the inaugural batch, thanks to the support of Anthony Virapin and Carlo Purassanta.
  1. Partner-centric Growth Strategy: Microsoft has recently emphasized its commitment to fostering strong partnerships. Attending the Inspire event in 2019 in Las Vegas, we received a resounding message: “Your success is our success.” Microsoft’s partner-friendly approach resonated deeply with us.

Furthermore, we were honored to be named Startup of the Year in 2019 and subsequently awarded Partner of the year in 2023. These accolades underscore the profound relationship we have cultivated with Microsoft.

  1. Strategic Contract Support: Microsoft wholeheartedly supports us in securing significant contracts. Despite competing against much larger companies in request for proposals (RFPs), Microsoft can actively endorse our solution and offer, instilling confidence in clients. This level of support is invaluable.

These unexpected benefits have further solidified our strong partnership with Microsoft.

The Best Decision Yet: Microsoft’s Ongoing Impact

As we fast-forward to the present day, we continue to celebrate our decision to partner with Microsoft for numerous reasons:

  1. Market Capitalization: Microsoft has grown to become one of the largest companies in terms of market capitalization, further validating our choice.
  1. Advanced AI Services: Every 6-12 months after our own implementation, Microsoft releases improved versions of our low-level AI services, offering greater accuracy and scalability. Their timely innovations, such as Chabot NLU in 2017 and Form Recognizer computer vision in 2020, have saved us valuable time, allowing us to focus on delivering unique insurance value and tailored solutions to our clients.
  2. Service Integration: Over time, Microsoft has acquired and seamlessly integrated several services that we were already utilizing, further aligning our partnership. Notable examples include LinkedIn, GitHub, and potentially other undisclosed services.
  3. Visionary Investment in Generative AI: Microsoft has made a visionary and bold investment of $10 billion in partnering with OpenAI, and set up the secured infrastructures we need to run specialized open source LLMs. As we find ourselves in the midst of the Generative AI revolution, this collaboration serves as an additional assurance that we will remain at the forefront of innovation.

All of these factors collectively reinforce our conviction that partnering with Microsoft has been our most advantageous decision thus far.

Navigating the Interplay of politics and technology: Choosing a US leader to drive European success 

Addressing the complex intersection of politics and technology is one of the most challenging questions, akin to an explosive cocktail. Our aspiration is to become a global player, proudly representing France and Europe on the international stage. We believe that fostering European global champions requires a spirit of collaboration and open competition, rather than pitting geographies against each other or constructing artificial barriers. 

We approach this matter with a pragmatic mindset, recognizing that the fastest path to accomplishing our mission involves making strategic choices. While doing so, we remain fully aware and accepting of the implications and intricacies involved.

In the ever-evolving tech landscape, nothing is set in stone. Today’s giants can be disrupted and may even face collapse within a decade. Consequently, we continuously benchmark Microsoft, ensuring that we offer nothing but the best to our customers.

By navigating this delicate balance between politics and technology, we remain committed to our mission of driving European success while staying attuned to the dynamic nature of the industry.


Embracing collaboration, embracing innovation, and embracing Microsoft as our trusted partner, we stride forward with unwavering determination, knowing that our choice has set us on the path to creating a brighter future for the insurance industry and for Europe as a whole.

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