Tag Archives: david beckham

Thoughts From an Insurance Millennial

The risk management and insurance industry has become very concerned about how to attract young people and encourage them to pursue careers there. The industry has taken steps, including with programs such as MyPath  and InVEST, which educate students and young professionals about the industry and career paths that could fit their interests.

Looking at the issue from the standpoint of a Millennial working in the industry (I’m 21 years old), I’d like to suggest three other ways to spark curiosity in the “Next Generation”:

1. Auto Insurance 101 Classes

Most of the youth population hasn’t considered pursuing a career in insurance or is completely turned off by the prospect. Who could blame them? For many, their only exposure to the industry stems from paying high premiums for car insurance. When I started driving, I paid around $1,200 annually for insurance on a car I bought for $8,000. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t just save the money and, if something happened to my car, use it to buy a new one. I didn’t realize the exposure I had because I might damage someone else’s car or hurt another person.

An insurer could use this lack of understanding to design an auto insurance 101 course that would have two benefits. The course could explain coverage and create intelligent customers for the future. The course could also be designed to spark curiosity in some to learn more about how insurance works and about all the good it can do. Some will begin to ask their parents questions or even pursue studies in risk management and insurance in college.

Try adding incentives for taking the classes, such as reducing premiums or providing lower deductibles for the same price. Building intelligent consumers should reduce their risk as drivers, so the incentives might even pay for themselves.

2. Sponsoring Sports Teams, Clubs, etc.

Sponsoring sports teams, clubs and other youthful groups in a community or at a high school or college could be strategic in attracting the “Next Generation.” In addition to generating name recognition and positive PR, a company could expose some youthful minds to the industry. For example:

Someone sponsoring a local high school soccer team could create a competition to answer the question: How much are David Beckham’s legs insured for? The winner gets a signed jersey from a local Major League Soccer player.

Someone sponsoring a local college’s political clubs could create a competition around the question: How much would it cost to insure the White House? The winning club gets a paid trip to the state’s capital and a luncheon with some state officials.

3. Partnering with Teachers to Make “Classroom Insurance Policies”

This can be a fun twist on teaching a classroom about insurance. After working with the InVEST program to gain relevant teaching material, reinforce the concepts through a simulation that students can relate to. Create basic “classroom insurance policies” and give students an amount of “money” they can spend to buy different policies and endorsements. This would take some time initially to build the program but would be an enjoyable way for students to learn and get some exposure to reading a policy, applying endorsements/exclusions, etc.

An example: Forgetful Student Policy

A policy could include protection against forgetting that an assignment was due and would allow the assignment to be made up that night for half the credit (actual cash value). An endorsement could be bought to upgrade the policy so that the assignment could be made up for full value (replacement cost). Exclusions could include large projects or papers.

Creating interest and reinventing the image of the business must be an industry-wide, collaborative effort. Understanding that learning can be exciting for these young students and professionals should greatly increase the success of efforts to attract the “Next Generation.”

 

Made in China: Some Surprising Innovations

The dawn of a new industry and the Next-Gen Insurer is unfolding, influenced by levers of change from within and outside the industry, accelerated by an explosion of data and new technologies and fueled by innovation. Some insurers are embracing innovation to inspire a renaissance of competitiveness and customer value, reinvigorating what made them successful leaders in the first place or making them new market leaders of the future. There is an unparalleled opportunity to ignite a new future that is powered by the human imagination – and that is what China insurers are doing, as indicated in a recent article titled “Chinese Insurance Policies Cover Some Really Bizarre Things,” by Clare Baldwin and Diana Chan in Business Insider.

While the insurance policies being created may seem bizarre to some, they epitomize the spirit of product innovation, personalization and customer engagement that are identified as key trends in SMA’s research, The Next-Gen Insurer: Fueled by Innovation. Understanding rapidly changing customer demographics, needs and expectations is critical. The ability to reinvent the way to develop, package and deliver products and services is vital for insurers if they are to be relevant, let alone successful, in today’s new digital world.

So why are these innovative policies important for U.S. insurers to understand and consider?

First, the inspiration for innovation can come from other markets and geographies. The inspiration may stimulate the imagination, prompting new ideas and uncovering opportunities that can be built upon. In many cases, the thinking in markets, such as China, with less-strict regulations can help identify, incubate and market test new ideas. With more customers researching insurance on the Internet, they will see these innovative products and ask for them … and ask you why you don’t have them, or something similar.

Second, taking an innovative approach to meeting smaller, more defined needs provides a great entryway to other insurance products. What a great way to introduce your brand as innovative and personal.

In general, with trends like the connected car, driverless car, connected home, connected health, sharing economy and more affecting the future of traditional insurance products such as auto, home and health, to name a few, insurers must be as creative as possible in adapting to the shifting landscape.

Interestingly, niche-focused insurance products like those in China have been emerging in other areas in Asia Pacific, with “hole in one” insurance, and in Europe, with “wedding” insurance. Zurich’s wedding insurance, which covers all of Europe and which covers the costs of canceling or postponing a wedding, is an example of such a product and has been a big success in terms of sales, marketing and brand recognition. In the U.S., Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway insured the $1 billion prize to anyone who accurately picked the winner of every 2014 NCAA tournament game, a competition sponsored by Quicken Loans. And while no one picked the winners in the brackets, Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway got a lot of coverage.

Each of these examples engages customers in a fun way while also meeting a specific need. They have an element of “the cool factor” associated with them, something profoundly needed in an industry deemed stodgy.

So, while the article about quirky Chinese insurance policies seems to take an “aren’t they cute” approach, the examples are actually highly relevant for the customers they target, not to mention helping to educate a large population about the broader value of insurance. The massive interest in these untapped nooks and crannies exposes the fact that there are ready customers, regardless of geography.

The insurance industry has offered personalized, unique products in the past to selected individuals, but not on a mass basis. Remember when Tina Turner’s legs were insured, David Beckham’s legs were insured, Keith Richards’ hands or Bruce Springsteen’s voice … all for millions of dollars? The difference here is that these are high-value, highly customized situations that were all one-off products. In today’s digital world, with the customer demanding personalized offerings, mass product personalization will increasingly be a key driver in product innovation, shifting the industry away from the legacy of mass production of personal insurance products. Fueling this change will be customer demographics and preferences.

With product personalization, insurers need to develop products or product components that customers can shape to their unique needs – within days or weeks – according to new customer expectations. The mass personalized products will include new services that will strengthen customer loyalty and retention. These trends will help insurers differentiate themselves in the market and open market opportunities that can drive revenue and profitability.

So instead of the “naughty child insurance” offered in China, maybe it could be child care insurance that covers the costs of holding the child’s place while the child is out because of significant illness. Instead of buying insurance for smog’s ruining your holiday, you could buy insurance against weather such as hurricanes or snowstorms that could cause cancellation or limits to your vacation. And instead of covering pregnancy before the honeymoon, insurance could cover a health issue or death of a key wedding participant that could affect the wedding plans, and insurance could be the thing that could make a painful time a little less painful.

Major forces are converging that are fundamentally changing the entire paradigm of insurance, creating the Next-Gen Insurer in the process. Today’s insurers are faced with choices that are more intense, complex and transformational than ever before. An era of new leaders will be determined by their ability to respond to change and become innovators, embracing and capitalizing on each new wave of disruption.

Some of the waves with vast possibilities will be product innovation and mass personalization. Insurers in other geographies are catching the wave of customer needs and expectations. Are you prepared to ride the wave of mass personalization? If not, your competitors will!