February 20, 2017
How to Make Insurance Fun
How do we create the wanting without having to sell insurance? What if we create a competition that rewards good behavior?
The insurance industry has had it tough. We are in the business of protection, but in truth a big portion of our time is spent dealing with fear, anguish, death, destruction and tragedy. You hear from your consumers once when they pay for insurance, and the next time you hear from them is when something bad happens. But does it have to be all doom and gloom? That is a question that I’m constantly asking myself. How do we take an industry that is built off pain and turn it into pleasure? In other words, how do we get people wanting to buy and not having to sell?
On my last major project — in fact, no, two months before I created this project — I was sitting in a cafe and looking for the next cool app to download, thinking to myself: Apple has done a fabulous job of taking a boring piece of machinery and flipping it into a sexy, useful piece of technology that is a vital part of my day-to-day life. It is my calendar, map, photography, diary, communicator, financial planner and a lot more. I can’t even walk the dog without my iPhone. How did they do that? Every new item, accessory, upgrade, model and news blurb, I’m watching and wanting the next new thing. It’s the wanting that baffles me.
See also: A Closer Look at the Future of Insurance
I believe that the insurance industry has an opportunity like no other to make a difference in every aspect of our lives and at the same time the challenge to do so successfully. I was looking for a breakthrough that could get insurance into the day-to-day life of our consumers. I knew it had to be a combination of social behavior and technology that was economically viable but also a call to adventure that people could not ignore; most of all, it had to be fun and create a wanting. So I began my research and decided the breakthrough had to be an app. But what sort of an app? There are so many silly, gimmicky apps out there that get lost on my phone and never get used.
Through my research and connections I found a startup led by data scientists who were initially monitoring potholes on Boston roads and had built an app that could monitor driving behavior. Perfect! This is what I was looking for; people drive everyday, and they are emotionally connected with their cars.
Now the question was: How do we get people to want to download the app and be monitored for driving? I mean, who would do that? What’s the incentive? How will we generate revenue?
This led to several hours of brainstorming and strategy discussions, but the main question was: How do we create the wanting without having to sell? It struck me: What if we create a competition that was built off recognition and rewards good behavior? We were really onto something here. This could be huge; safe-driving campaigns could be turned into beautiful marketing messages that people would be proud to be a part of. The intel and data we collected was so rich that it could change the way we did business.
My vision was that the app would bring people together around the dinner table, engaging in friendly banter. It had to be a competition that was fun. Voila! Singapore’s Best Driver Challenge was born. For the very first time in my career, I saw light at the end of the tunnel. This is a small breakthrough in the grand scheme of things, but it challenges the industry to step up and pay attention to innovation as the cornerstone of change for the better.
The moral of the story is that an industry that is dominated by negative energy and very little contact with its consumers can be flipped into something fun, interesting and meaningful.