Innovation in the time of pandemic
Innovation is the ability to see change as anopportunity not a threat – Steve Jobs
The magnitude of change we are experiencing at the moment, the level of uncertainty, and the threat to not only the way we live or work but directly to human life, makes it difficult to perceive the current situation as an opportunity. At the same time, we are experiencing so many wonderful initiatives manifesting solidarity, a spirit of community, that give us some positive inputs to focus on. How can we try to turn this situation into an opportunity to come out better and stronger on the other side?
What can we learn from the financial crisis in 2007
Historically we have seen that periods of crisis can become a time of truly understanding customer needs. Some of the world’s current great tech unicorns were born during the 2007-2009 financial crisis. The economic downturn, and the need to delight the customer, who wouldn’t spend money on things they didn’t like or didn’t need on a tight budget, brought us services like WhatsApp, Groupon, Airbnb or Uber.
This brings up the question of how the current medical and economic situation will shape the business for the next decade. How will it impact on the way people interact with insurance? Will we see the rise of new policies that are being purchased for future pandemic situations, for example, new triggers for business interruption policies, or a new level of adoption of telemedicine as part of national and private health insurance? Could this event change the US health insurance industry forever? These are the kind of questions which could become opportunities for those who are willing to embrace change.
A chance to innovate
At Ninety, we are noticing two types of innovations insurance carriers are already looking into. The first type is the immediate need to ensure business continuity which is connected largely to how we work. Embracing working from home and adapting how we do business on day to day basis. This is a challenge that we at Ninety have had to approach as well, as a lot of our workshops and trainings have historically been face to face. We have embraced technology and various digital tools to help us move our activities into the virtual world and help our customers continue to innovate remotely. Our consultants have now been running projects successfully remotely for a couple of weeks by creating digital workshops that follow our 123 Framework™.
The second type of innovation that we see insurers are doubling down on is accelerating the digitization of their services. These initiatives are connected to activities that are still very much connected to doing business face to face like changing the way agents and brokers are interacting with their customers at the moment, or how loss assessors can use technology to inspect the damage and process claims. These are opportunities which we believe our clients should be actively exploring at this time, as need is the mother of invention.
Another opportunity to innovate are chances to improve the lives of our customers in these difficult times and understand what the direct opportunities or challenges are we should be aiming to solve at the time of crisis. For example, there are questions of life assurance customers who might lose their jobs in this economic turmoil and be forced to stop their policies when arguably the threat to their life and stability of their families is much higher – is there something insurers can do to enable these customers to keep their policies?
I think the important question to ask now is how our customers are changing, and how different we will all be as consumers in the post-pandemic world. How are their priorities in the long and short term changing and how can the insurance industry, which is a safety net for many in personal and professional life, help customers settle into a new reality? We believe that there is incredible power in co-creation with customers and now more than ever listening to their voice will be a strong indication of what products might be successful in the new reality. In the same ways the last financial crisis gave birth to the sharing economy, what customer needs will insurance have to meet to remain relevant for customers in the coming years?
If you are embarking on a journey to answer some of these questions, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We are happy to chat about how our digital 123 Framework can help you in creating new value for your customers.