You hear the words “life insurance” and you think…boring. And you’d be well within your right to think so. Traditionally, life insurance conjures up images of endless appointments, mountains of paperwork, and the inevitable: death. Let’s just say it hasn’t been pegged for the most glamorous of industries; And yet, it stems from the most meaningful of human emotions. Paying for a policy that will solely benefit others is, simply put, an act of love.
This is an industry that revolves around devotion: a policyholder’s devotion to their family, an insurer’s to their policyholder. When combined with the sophistication of the data underpinning underwriting decisions, the forward-thinking strategy needed to be of service decades from now, and the size of an industry that’s been slow to evolve, that devotion suddenly becomes a catalyst for true innovation in response to a mission: to get more people covered, faster.
When you inject love into it, life insurance becomes less of a chore and more of an exciting purchase for the consumer as well. Here’s why I get excited to work in life insurance every day.
There’s room for truly creative problem-solving.
The life insurance industry is worth $766 billion in the US alone. The auto insurance industry, while much better understood, is “only” worth about $740 billion. Keeping with that same analogy, 49% of consumers still haven’t purchased life insurance while only 12% of drivers go without auto insurance.
With a coverage gap estimated at a staggering $15.3 trillion, the question becomes why—especially when 106 million Americans know they need to buy coverage. The answer can be found in another gap that has widened over the years: product-to-market fit.
Traditional life insurance products still involve medical exams, in-person appointments, paper forms and some still need —believe it or not—fax machines. This simply will not work in the 21st century, where customers expect everything to be instant and digital. To keep up with expectations, some incumbents have developed “simplified issue” products with online applications. But that convenience comes at a high price (literally) for consumers, as insurers make up for underwriting shortcuts with hiked-up premiums.
There lies the opportunity for innovation in life insurance: how do you transform a six-week, analog process into an instant, digital one? And how can you achieve that without charging more or compromising underwriting, which is absolutely critical to the longevity and profitability of a life insurance company?
The data is dynamic and evolves in real time.
We have spent five years solving this highly complex problem with the help of technology and data. But we’ve only scratched the surface of innovation. New healthtech devices, data sources, and scientific research emerge daily and help push and refine our understanding of the factors impacting longevity—and thus life insurance as a whole.
Many industries rely on data in one way or another. But life insurance is, fundamentally, a data and probability problem. As data collection and analysis methods evolve, so does our business. If phase one of digital underwriting innovation was to prove that computers could predictably match human underwriting decisions (while delivering a modern customer experience), phase two is about improving upon current underwriting standards—and is well underway.
Nothing keeps you on your toes like innovating in an industry with a seemingly unbound capacity for change. Which is why maintaining a leading edge in life insurance is first and foremost about maintaining a technological one.
There’s an opportunity to become a beloved brand.
What’s a life insurance brand you love?
Just a few years ago, that question would have seemed nonsensical. Nobody loved life insurance because nobody loves paperwork, needles, and financial planning. That left an incredible opportunity for new insurtech players to innovate not just on the product front but also with branding.
For example, we departed from the traditional saccharine of life insurance ads with a humorous campaign featuring a dad dodging daily booby-traps set by his family (and adorable dog), punctuated by the provocative tagline, “life insurance so good, they’re gonna want you dead.” Based on the consumer insight that almost one in two couples joke about taking each other out when getting life insurance, the campaign was awarded by AdWeek and led to significant gains in awareness and favorability for our brand.
So, who still thinks life insurance is boring? I believe that in the end, everyone will see life insurance as I do and for what it was always meant to be: one of the most delightful and satisfying purchases one can make.