This Week in Coverager (9/18/2020)

This week, guests Kate Terry from Surround Insurance and Lance Poole from Juniper Labs discuss with Nick how and when legacy insurers should rebrand. We also discussed distribution with aggregators and how insurers should be thinking about how they use these and all other channels.

Kate Terry (LinkedIn)
Lance Poole (LinkedIn)

Articles referenced:
https://coverager.com/policygenius-launches-with-lincoln-termaccel/
https://coverager.com/la-parisienne-assurances-becomes-wakam/

 

Watch here:

 

 

Transcript

Nick
Hello, everyone, welcome back. This is another episode of This Week in Coverager. It is the week ending September 18th. And as you can see, I do not have Shefi and Avi with me. They are taking the week off or the day off for the Rosh Hashana holiday. So filling in, I have two superstars in Insurance. I have Kate Terry and Lance Poole, both co founders of companies that I think are going to be doing some absolutely marvelous work in insurance and I'm going to get their opinions on a couple of hot news articles that hit Coverager this week. So, Kate, Lance, hello. Thank you. Appreciate it. So you you're filling into some big shoes here.

You ready?

Lance P
Tough job.

Kate T
Keeping the seats warm.

Nick
Okay. So, before we just to give the audience a sense of who you are, why don't you take a couple minutes each? Kate, you go first. Who are you and what do you do?

Kate T
Sure. Hi, I'm Kate Terry. I'm a co founder and CEO at Surround Insurance. We are about to launch in about a month and what we do is we build beautiful insurance products that are designed around the lifestyles of young modern consumers. I have 15 years of insurance product management expertise before this at Progressive and Plymouth Rock and most recently, I spent six years as an SVP and Product Manager at Liberty Mutual. So I've seen both sides of the fence and I'm excited to talk to you today.

Nick
Yeah, so I think Kate in my first interaction was online on Twitter, arguing with someone about Lemonade, that's a story for another day. We don't have to get into that. But and so her name kept popping up. It's like you got to be introduced and now we are and I couldn't be more happy. And Lance Poole, you are not a stranger to the Coverager airwaves. But go ahead and introduce yourself and your company.

Lance P
Certainly I'm Lance Poole, the CEO of Juniper Labs, and we help insurtechs, fintechs, brokers, agents hold number of people find ground truth on small businesses. So we have a suite of API's that help answer questions like who are you? What do you do? Has anything changed? So really trying to help our customers understand their customers really well in the small business space, which is traditionally pretty hard to get good data on? And I'm an actuary by training. So spent the first 10 years of my career in the life industry and have since made the switch over to commercial insurance and, really like it so.

Nick
yep, full disclaimer, Lance's company and my company have a a something in place so you know but no conflict of interest I still love Lance and he's going to be Juniper Labs is going to be helping me with some flood stuff so it's going to be awesome. So welcome to both of you. And so the the I'll go right into the first news article. Let's see if I can do screen share the right way this article here on Coverager this one here. La...you guys speak French?

Kate T
a little bit

Lance P
I'm from the south and Nick so I have a hard time saying English words properly so let's not even go there.

Nick
Okay so that's Katye, this is for you let me know how I did La Parisienne???...La La Parisienne?? okay whatever. So, la Parisienne is becoming, I think it's Wackam or Wakam????

Kate T
that's the harder one to pronounce.

Nick
That is the harder one. Yes.

Oh wait Lance Lance Lansky probably helped me with that one.

Lance P
That's right. Maybe maybe Wakam?

Nick
Yeah, that's that's probably the the fish down in Alabama. You stick your hand in the mouth. Noodling them. Anyways, the this was the I think this was the top read story in Coverager for this week, and what's very interesting about this particular topic is that La Parisienne is like 100 plus year old company rebranding. And so I want to get Kate in Lance's opinion and insights on this but are we going to be seeing more of this? Are we is this sort of, you know, we, the, the young, the young audience is now like the pig in the Python, you know, kind of moving through the system there, I think, you know, part of, I think, the largest population in the world. And so are we going to be seeing like these really classic companies with classic brand names, all rebranding to be a little more hip, a little bit more, I guess desirable to the young audience. So, Kate, I'll take your view first. What do you think of this?

Kate T
Alright, I'm going to go with a solid...it depends. So Wakam? Wakam?. How are we decide to do this see, and they're rebranding? Wakam, we'll go with Wakam. Okay. So if you think in contrast, you know, you got the esurance brand, disappearing. In the States, you've got Geico and Progressive that are 70, or 80 or 90 year old brands that nobody thinks of as being that old. What's the difference? And I actually think that it's largely about employees, right? So I'm an old school insurance company, I need to hire a bunch of people who know how to do technology and some really cool things into a business that sells insurance to other types of insurance companies. What am I gonna do? I need to create that burning platform to say we're different. But I still also still need to be able to say to my customer, Oh, really? We're the same, right? So I think that's what the rebranding is. It's the burning platform. It's the identity. It's the we're different. We're intrapreneurs or entrepreneurs. We're exciting. I think that's really what this is about that it's not really a consumer thing.

Nick
Lance.

Lance P
It's interesting to see companies like this make rebrands. I worked with a company at one point in my career and they went through a rebrand and the indictment on the previous brand and how the company thought about the brand was the executive leader who was leading the charge on that brand change actually showed three or four different pictures of the brand throughout the building. And there was part of the logo that was on the left side on one place, it was on the right side on the other case, and that just really didn't care much about their brand, the image and, so it's it's pretty typical inside the insurance industry to not focus much on the brand. And that these guys are almost 200 years old, so it's wild. I think the article was 1829 is what I caught. And I don't know I think that it one thing that's hard to rebrand is the codebase. It's hard to rebrand the 18 legacy systems they have. It will be hard to rebrand some of those aspects but I checked out the site and it's some of the best visuals I've seen from Insurtech, insurance, fintech, like you name it, it's really good. It's really playful. And as a consumer, it certainly has a feel of being young, fresh and modern. So I have to imagine they spent a lot of money on this rebrand. And, yeah, I don't know, to Kate's point, maybe it does help with hiring I'm sure that's, that's a big part of it. I mean, typically, when you do a rebrand like this, you're going to give away a bunch of T shirts and other kinds of swag to the company and everyone gets excited about it. It's like a way to create some news internally, but really, like not much, not much happens from the company's standpoint in terms of you know, what changes with the financials like, no one gets a big bump in their stock price because of a rebrand. You know, I think every market knows like, hey, this doesn't have a huge impact on what the company is going to do. So

Nick
any chance any, any chance of alienating, like me, so is there a line in the sand where it's just like, well We may we may lose some of our older customers. Is that possible?

Kate T
I don't think that's much danger in this case, right? I mean, it is b2b2c. So they're not really marketing at consumers, right? It's a white labeled product. It's hard to imagine that a lot of the Insurtech and MGAs is that they're marketing to care that much about their brand name. And it's hard to think that retail customers or small business customers who presumably are still being served under the old brand name care that a big insurance company has more than one brand.

Nick
How about if, like a let's take let's take a lesser known company, like something in the States, something maybe just as old, like 150 year old mutual in you know, in the northeast, for instance. And so, with could, would that benefit them, like because that could be a situation where they may only be known locally. Right? And so they've could have a different set of issues, but also the same, I guess frustrations in hiring young professionals and maybe even like being desirable to young consumers. could could we see that?

Lance P
Yeah, I think at this at this stage, it's more table stakes than it is something that's really going to benefit your company. So if you haven't rebranded in the last 60 years, you should consider doing it just just sort of keep pace like it's not gonna catapult you to the top of the line anywhere. But you should freshen up things to Kate's point. I mean, it feels good to be at a company where things are modern. This staying with the times or our brand is more modern reflects modern design, all those things are good, but I don't think it necessarily benefits you beyond just just getting you up to speed with where everyone else is.

Nick
Okay. Go ahead Kate

Kate T
yeah, yeah, no I agree with everything Lynette said and I also think those Mutual's are in a really interesting position, you know, living here in the northeast are 100 of them.

Nick
I know, yeah,

Kate T
exactly. Yeah, a lot of them are in one state or two states or three states, and they've storied businesses in many cases. And a lot of them are sitting on a lot of surplus, right Enormous surplus, so they're very stable, but it also means they've got to be sitting there thinking, What do I do strategically? And you've got to think that least a few of them they're considering this Insurtech, this younger consumer, because otherwise they're not gonna be able to perpetuate themselves, right?

Nick
Yeah, or even competing against each other. So the, the three that I always think about are Quincy Mutual, Hingham Mutual and Norfolk and Dedham that are all right next to each other. And I bet Lance has not heard of either any of those three, but all three are like, you know, combined, like 400 years old.

Kate T
Yeah. And I know at least two of the three I'm familiar with they're sitting on enormous cushion or surplus, right. Yeah. Somebody reads yellow books in such as a hobby, right? So, yeah, so what what are they going to do? right and I think it's it's not complicated but it's a little bit more complicated because of the channels as well right a lot of these Mutual's don't really sell direct to consumers, they do sell through a very loyal independent agent base. So I think the question for me is, is, is the best thing they could do to reach this customer, really about the brand, right, like rebranding themselves? Or is it actually figuring out how to help their agents sell more with more effective and efficient business processes and products that are maybe better designed for the younger consumer and not actually sure that the brand itself is going to solve their problems?

Nick
Yeah, that's an interesting point. Because, you know, since Farm Bureau's and Mutual's across the country are predominantly agent based, it may not benefit them to rebrand because the agents doing the selling for them anyways, You know, so it might be better to spend that money or make that effort in towards the agency relationship, which is what Avi and I were talking about the last, I think two weeks, were specifically about agency relationships, and how, you know, that's, you know, if I had my druthers, that's where I would put my effort and if I if that wasn't the distribution, I was going to go after, I would, I would make sure that I had some sort of differentiated relationship with them versus you know, just the pace you know, I'm in a product with 15 other Mutual's or other companies,

Lance P
Right? Yeah. Because if you if you rebrand and you're one of these older school companies, you know, there's someone's job that's gonna have to redo all the marketing pieces. For instance, like there's some room with hundreds of marketing pieces like these one pagers that once upon a time an agent would give to a consumer. So instead of spending the money to Kate's point, redoing all that, why not give your agents like a video platform? To You know, go and talk to their customers or record videos or do more on social media or things like that they're going to help them be more effective to reach potential younger customer versus having to just change the logo on a bunch of pieces of paper. Yeah.

Nick
So you guys, you guys are younger than I am. Right. So let me ask you, if does it resonate? Would it resonate with you as a part of the sales process? if, let's say you were sitting in front of an agent, and you know, they're giving you several different options, and one of them was like, This company is 150 years old. A plus rating like does that would that mean anything to you guys?

Kate T
All right, so I'm gonna go I'm

Nick
You specifically not not not your peers. Yes,

Kate T
right. So I'm a zenniall. Right? So inserted between the millennial and the genX generation, and I'm going to actually quibble with you to begin with, I don't want to sit in front of an agent. I want to system

Nick
The email, the email says, hey, yeah, option. option three is 150 year old company, local, local mutual, with you know, a plus rating.

Kate T
Yeah, I mean, I like a local business, right. I like local. That's good to me. I like that it's financially stable. But I think the bigger question for me is, can I understand what they're selling to me? Is it what I was looking for? Is this just easy? Like, does it look professional? You know? Maybe Maybe, Lance, maybe I'm going back on not rebranding, but the branding needs to look crisp and fresh, which I think is what you said before.

Lance P
Yeah, I think you particularly in a world where you're going through aggregators, and all you see is the logo. So if you're using an aggregator and you get a few price quotes, in you have this price that's, you know, $19 A month, but the logo looks like it was designed by a 3 year old because it's 100 years old and hasn't been updated. You know, I mean, that's the kind of thing where it's like, this is a legit company, because I've never heard of, you know, frankenmuth. Right. I don't know who this is, or whatever, the company's name, not to pick on frankenmuth. So I think that does that does matter. But, Nick, to your question, it really is more dependent on the kind of product like it's commodity product. For me. It's term, but what's the cheapest and the easiest experience like I've just been going through the term buying process. And I was kind of on the fence between no medical pyramid, on site thing versus the quick issue, but it was like 15/$16 more a month and I was like, I'll just I'll just get the person to come take my blood. That's fine. I'm fine with that. If it had been $3 no doubt, just go for it. And I'll take the quick issue. So I do like somewhat having an easy process, like if they have a modern logo, but then you get into their, quote, flow and it's it's 18 steps and you're having to refill questions several times. That's the point where I'm just like, I want to find something else.

Nick
So there's a lesson here, like really like it, whether for those that are listening, whether you think the branding thing is legit or not legit, there's still so many other aspects that seem to trump that and I think most people would agree with that. That's like, yeah, you know, that might catch my eye and you know, that might be icing on the cake, or something like that. And, and, Kate, to what you said, I think it kind of swung all the way back that you if you're selling through the agency system, you better have your agents prepared to sell your product if they can't do it correctly. If you have the Fivver logo, you know from the third grader, you better have the agent Be prepared to field questions and be able to overcome objections. So it's it's just funny like week after week, we almost invariably come back to that, that that becomes a problem and Lance brought up aggregator, so I'm going to share the next article. Let's see. Here it is. And let me move over you. Can you guys see that? Yep. So yes. PolicyGenius launches with Lincoln TermAccel. So that's PolicyGenius is an aggregator. So Lance, you brought that up, and I always count on you to do the proper segue for me. And you also brought up term insurance to like you were just like, boom, is like came prepared guns blazing. And so this ties in a little bit to the prior one as well, because Lance, you made that appropriate segue which is, so we got an aggregator selling, Lincoln. So this I think, was the second most viewed our article on Coverager for this particular week, and what I found interesting about this is that Lincoln is selling this on their website, I got to believe they're selling this through agents as well. So again, we seem to come back to these stories over and over again. I am a shareholder of Lincoln. So I have a financial interest in this and full disclaimer, but it's that shotgun approach. It's, we're going to use any and all distribution channels. And, you know, I can tell you from having spoken with Avi and Shefi so often about this. And me personally, it seems too broad. It doesn't it seems distracting, to have so many different distribution channels to be able to do this. And I know, personally on my side of property casualty, I've seen so many companies get into like, channel conflicts and all this other stuff. So, you know, I'll kick it. I'll kick it to You guys, I'm not sure what to make of this. Like, it's, there's so much here that I'm not I'm scratching my head about Lance, you brought up the medical exam issue, like, at what point does this not work? And how do these companies balance all of these things?

Lance P
Isn't it is a mess in terms of having all the different distribution channels, and particularly because a lot of the traditional carriers aren't set up to effectively handle all those channels in an efficient way. I mean, things have changed. So, so full caveat this with the time out of the life industry. It's been a few years, but you know, one point we'd have a CSV file we're having to send to different distribution partners, when we were changing term rates and like, Oh, wait, we sent you the wrong file. Don't do that one. Or we're seeing a spike in sales. I mean, there's just all kinds of things that happen because it's such a manual process. So Nick when you do when you add new channel like this, it does create more complexity and you have to ask, you know, is it worth it in terms of the value that's there for Lincoln by, you know, selling a bit more cheap term online, but you know, maybe they're getting younger customer that could be customer longer term backed by a few more products, then it maybe maybe it's worth it.

Kate T
Yeah, I would, I would tend to agree with you. I mean, I think good move for great move for PolicyGenius. Lincoln depends on whether it's profitable, right? A bunch, right. Who knows? But, you know, I think this fractured distribution system we have where everybody sells the same products. You don't have specific channels that specialize in specific things which might make sense. It shows that our industry has really failed in two broad areas. One is a total failure to design around a comprehensive customer experience, right? I mean, My parents in their 70s shop on Amazon, right? They expect an experience at least that good when they go to buy insurance. And that is just not what you get on most sites. If you do get a great experience, it's usually for a very simple small chunk of the insurance that you actually need as your life moves forward. I think the other thing that we've totally failed on as an industry like we can do better is in the products that we sell, right? We have this very rigid mindset around like, you know, homeowners and life and disability and that's completely different from auto and I can tell you just you know, having been in the industry long enough that often you have no idea if a customer has both an auto policy and a life policy with you, even if you're a large carrier that sells both every you know every product is sold in its own ecosystem. Lance, you said you made a joke about La Parisienne working with 18 different legacy systems. I'd be amazed if it were 18 right, I bet it's like 243 systems Yeah. All like bolted together with some COBOL in there somewhere right like API What? And then also people's training, right, I made the move from personal to commercial entity carrier. And it was like an unusual thing to do. That shouldn't be a big deal, right? But it is. So you get this rigidity in the way we're trained, in the matrix organizations where there's somebody responsible for each product. And then we blame it on kind of being a regulated industry. I think those excuses just aren't good enough. So we're seeing this fragmentation. And that's where a lot of the insurtechs are coming in. That's part of what makes it exciting. But it really is a failure of kind of design around the customer in designing products for those customers.

Nick
But it's a it's a victory for PolicyGenius. Right? Sure. Yeah. Yeah. And so it um, it's one of those things where that that the aggregation space could have like winner take all characteristics, like there's probably a scale, a scaling benefit, where you just get so big Like an Amazon, you get so big, it's just like, it's too difficult for a smaller aggregator make any noise too expensive. You know. And so for, for the aggregators, it makes a ton of sense to be able to pull this off and sort of get these products one by one to come off. But I think I think all three of us are just scratching our heads at the carrier side. And, you know, how are they going to pull this off? And maybe, maybe this is maybe this is where they could rebrand, like, I've always like, okay, you want to use that channel, go ahead and use your channel but like, you know, like, for example, some of these Mutual's have like several licensed companies, right, why not carve one often said, this one's going to be dedicated to this particular, you know, set of channels like the, you know, DTC and this one will be the agent one and i don't know i'm not sure about that, but it just, it's it to me, it seems confusing for them. Their branding, when they're just they're scattered all over the place.

Kate T
I think that it can be tough on the cost of acquisition side in terms of now we're a little inside baseball but in terms of allocating expenses, so if you have both big big direct business and a big intermediate business see through, through

through agents

if you're doing a lot of advertising not a lot of the Mutual's aren't, they're too small, right. But if you're doing a lot of television advertising, and a progressive and Geico, these companies are spending literally billions of dollars on advertising. Some of that benefit, you can put it through as your, you know, your CAC for the direct business, but it does also drive people to your agents offices, right. And so I think it's a little bit of like a love hate thing, where none of the agents want to look at a direct quote that some customer brings in that they can't beat, right, especially if you have different rates. But on the flip side, it does drive people into the office. So I think it's it's, it's, I take your idea, Nick, I think it's definitely makes sense. In some cases, but I think it can complicate that relationship as well.

Nick
Fair enough? L Lance, I would, I would think that, you know, maybe insurance is different? Maybe when we, when we discuss branding, the way we think of it with other industries, it's just different in insurance just like the way the products different and we're trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Lance P
Yeah, I think we're, we're starting to see some of these commoditized products move to platforms like this because it's just not profitable to sell. A Product, 10 year term that where the premium is $17 a month. And or for an agent. Isn't that worth my time necessarily to go back I don't really get much commission. So maybe that's one of the things that drives the difference. But one thing I wonder for PolicyGenius and maybe this is, this can't be done because it's so different, but does PolicyGenius ever end up in a place where they just create their own product, like go get paper, and they they've seen the experience of other carriers that they know all the pricing. Maybe there's a way for them to say we can do it better similar to the Amazon approach of, of, you know, let's go ahead and and produce the USB core because we see that this thing selling really well. And we can make some money and do it cheaper than what our competitors are doing. So but I don't think that's happened so much in the UK, like I know UK is well ahead of the states on the aggregator market, that much easier to price shop everything there. But I don't know that those aggregators are like doing their own products. So there could be other limitations to that. But that's one thing to watch out for, for PolicyGenius as they as they grow and scale and they've obviously got you know, raised over $150 million plus I can't remember if they're valued at a billion dollars but close to their growing company. Yep. Right? Yep. And maybe that's, that's what helps them sort of step change on that is to start offering their own their own product.

Nick
You know, that's, that's where, potentially where the where there is the benefit you brought up the UK, you know, there is a difference that that's a regulatory issues do come in, you have, you essentially have like 50 different products, you know, that you have to sort of keep track of and it gets it gets really expensive to to sort of manage that. And so, yeah, balancing all of that off becomes problematic. So a question I would have would be Lance brought up commoditized product a couple times. So you'll take take something like that Kate's working on which is more of a we're reimagining and going to create like a new, you know, we're going to fit the insurance to match The person or the exposure that you have that's different now than it was 10 years ago. Does this would a policy change, would an aggregator work for a non commoditized business or product?

Kate T
That's a really interesting point. I mean, it could.

I think what's challenging in all of this is, is that the pieces of insurance really do fit together in a way that is sort of beautiful. In some ways. It makes it really difficult to pick apart in others, right, like, yeah, you know, if your belongings are sold, stolen out of the backseat of your car, it's not on your auto policy. It's your renters, your homeowners policy that covers it, right. And that's like one example of a million of these things where old lawsuits divided it. So you need to do something about that. And it's hard for an aggregator to do, it can be done, but it's hard to do. If you're giving You're pulling policies from different sources right to fit them together. If you're an mga like we are, or a carrier, like any of the carriers who have the knowledge, but maybe not the will to do some of this stuff, then you can pick your policies and craft them together so that they fit right and talk about them coherently to the end consumer instead of in these rigid silos and still pass it on through the back end, like traditional insurance. So I think that would be would be tough for an aggregator, but then again, what's to prevent an aggregator from setting up an MGA or a carrier if it had cash sitting around in managing both their own product and other people's products? Right.

Nick
Yeah. Any any comments, Lance?

Lance P
Yeah, I don't think the distinctive real unique products do fit navigation because at the point of aggregators is allowing for simple price comparison where there's really no difference. You're comparing apples to apples in every case, and so if the Lincoln product is $22 and AIG product is $25. I can pick the Lincoln product. But I do think that it's, you know, it's a strong approach to build unique products, assuming you can find some market adoption. You know, there's just a, I've seen all kinds of interesting life insurance products, but everyone just sort of comes back to give me 20 year term. That's gonna cover me until my kids get to college. So I'm good with that. So it's it's hard to blaze a trail on these financial services products, where I just needed to do you know, financial protection thing, versus, you know, creating an iPod, which is like 1000 songs in your pocket. That sounds really exciting, and it's new and different, and we'll try that.

Nick
But unless unless it's on once you have skilled salespeople, yeah, definitely. So for like life insurance, you know, I know having been In the financial planning space, you know, there there is a big need for whole life variable life because there's, there's, it's different than just like I need to I need life insurance for when you know, past the point where my kids get to college, it could be a tax situation. It could be, you know, I want I want to leave a benefit for someone, you know, a charity. And so that's also what you know, Shefi and Avi and myself have been talking about I feel like there is a line. Like there's a one there's a price point, right where when you get above that price point, it's really hard to do digitally. You know, like, I don't want to whip out my credit card for $1,000 Premium because why am I buying like this? $1,000 it's not the iPod like it's not fun. Like, Oh, I feel I feel more comfortable with a little bit more research or something like that. Or to to, to what you just described Lance. I think it's complex. product, you need someone that can figure out, you know, this will solve a problem. But I need to get in front of the people who have that problem that requires a whole skill set of prospecting and sales to do that, so it sort of seems to keep swirling around there, which, which makes me really there is a limitation to what the aggregators could do. If Amazon or Google came in, there would be a limitation to where they could take this, given what their DNA structure is.

Lance P
Yeah. And they've tried, I don't know if there's been as much effort in life insurance, but I know in the mortgage world, Google enter the mortgage, world mortgage aggregation, and you get quotes and, and they abandoned that business 18 months in because of the regulatory overhead. And I think they were also competing against against themselves a bit because they're getting all this money from mortgage companies to buy AdWords. And then they also have a platform themselves. So I think that's the other thing to think about, particularly with Google is that They're getting so much money from life insurance on those AdWords the most expensive AdWords there are. Yeah, so they have very little incentive to mess with that. And just want to keep the money flowing there.

Nick
Yeah. Kate, Kate, what's what's your strategy for Surround?

Kate T
yeah, I'll tell you a little bit about that. And then I'm gonna throw out a hypothetical product and see if we can think of sell it online. Okay, because I got an idea. Um, so our strategy is that we're initial our initial product is aimed at asset light urban professionals, right, so people who drive but don't have a car, they rent an apartment, they do some freelancing. It's really hard to buy the right insurance for that I think about that angsty moment if you don't have your own car insurance policy, and you're standing at the rental car company and you're like counter and you're like lovin travel, right? And you're like, I think my credit card covers this, but I'm not sure. Yeah, by the way, go look because the liability may well not become right to your card. So what we're selling is a flat price. bundle of, you know, driving coverage, cycling coverage, renter's insurance and some light professional liability, three minutes to quote and sell super easy,

Nick
low premium?

Kate T
low premium but higher than selling, you know, renters policy alone in the agency channel. Right.

Nick
So directing to consumer?

Kate T
Yeah, it's so it takes that takes care of that moment where you know, independent agents or independent agents, by and large, are intergenerational businesses, right. Like they insure your parents, you're on your family's policy you leave to maybe go away to college or to go take a job in the military. And it used to be that you probably bought a car around the same time. And that's that was the intergenerational handover. Right, but people delaying the purchase of those assets or they're not buying them at all, like our lifestyles change. And so the agents are standing on this burning platform where they know they need to find a way to get that customer. But if they wait until eight years later, when they buy a car then they're competing with $2 billion of Progressive ad spend, etc. Right, so it's bad. So there's the agent in the in the customer. there's not as much of a safety net as there used to be right? Yeah, yeah. Um, so I'm going to actually throw it throw it a challenge there to the prior conversation, which is I think we kind of all settled in on, it's hard to place non commoditized products in online channels are an aggregator. So I'm gonna throw out an example. You guys play with me on this? So what if instead of aggregating things like, here's your homeowners, and here's your auto in here, eight options. Instead, we're kind of like, Who are you? What's going on in your life? Right, and we find out in with very few personas, there's some common ones, right? One is that you're a freelancer or solopreneur. And you got your own business and you need health insurance and you need life insurance, you got a kid, and you need disability insurance as well, probably right. Well, we already sell disability with the life as a writer, right? Is there any reason we can't sell the health insurance as well and bundle it up in like a health and life package so that it's easy for you to understand, like the problem today is that we're breaking it up into like, five different things and then telling you about each one separately, right? I think that's an approach that could really work. You just can't do this, like let's define things by existing line of insurance and try to talk to people about them.

Nick
Do you know the answer to that Lance? Because Kate like this is just so coincidental. I was literally thinking of, you know, life and health have they both have like a wellness component to to that like, and I and I just interviewed someone from john Hancock about their vitality program. And I'm thinking you know, that's a life insurance product and like, I haven't heard any health insurance. Insurers do that can do you know, the regulatory pieces of that can life and health be bundled?

Kate T
So I don't know I am I will admit I'm licensed to sell both health and life and have never sold either. I'm definitely a Property & Casualty person but I think there's also a distinction which is true in the Property & Casualty space as well. Between bundling things in the sense of this is the only way you can buy it. And it's one policy, right, which is an approach that has been tried many times. It's burned up a lot of capital and hasn't really worked that Well, generally speaking. And then there's an approach that's like, let me talk to you about your life holistically. They're a bunch of little pieces I'm gonna put together for you, but I'm going to talk about it in ways that makes sense to you. If you get hurt. Here's what will happen, right? Should something happened to you or your spouse or your partner? Here's what will happen to your children and how they're supported. Right? Like it's some of it is how we talk about it, how we present it without hiding that you've got multiple policies, or there's some health insurance expert who could tell us right?

Lance P
Yeah, I don't I don't know the details as much but I do know you can tell supplemental health along with life and there's riders but it's it's very defined in terms of what's covered and it's different than traditional health insurances. So there are some regulatory restrictions, but it is insane. They're not more closely connected. I mean, I mentioned I'm sure Shopping for life insurance policy also got a physical for the first time in like four years. So in the in the span of one week, I'm going to have blood drawn twice that they use the right arm this time.

Nick
But it's ridiculous. Yeah, it's ridiculous.

Lance P
So I should just be able to show them like, hey, here are the results from my blood test. Here's the thing I got from the doctor. But, of course, like, none of this talks, if you would be great if you could sell life and health and I think that's like we talked about, I think you were talking last week, Nick about the role of financial advisor and how, you know, they can play an important part in some of these things. I feel like that's what I wish financial advisors were empowered to do, like they're just, they're like the chef and they have all these ingredients, right? And so it's like I just put the ingredients together and I've got a beautiful cake for you. That is, you know, is going to cover all the needs you have. But but instead there's like only certain things financial advisors can do and a lot of them You know, like financial advisors, I know a lot of them don't sell life insurance cuz they don't want to ask about your health. They don't want to ask the questions, you know, if you how much you smoke and, you know, if you have diabetes and those sorts of things, it's like, that's not my job as a financial advisor doing some of that limits. Both of those things being done together, which could be a good way to have that be done online in a way like, you know, if wealthfront or betterment or some other platform, because if it's just an online forum, I'm filling out and someone's processing it, maybe I'm more open to talk about those things. But

Nick
it's interesting. Yeah, it's just so many things that are broken. I just remember the last time I went to the doctor's office, and it's like, fill this out, and it's like, I already filled this out like I, you emailed me and I filled this out, it's like, well, you get to fill it out again. And it was like all I had to do it by hand. And I just felt like I was answering the same questions over and over and over again. And it was just just thinking credibly frustrating to do that, and, and Kate to your point, and then we'll we'll call it, you know, we'll call it quits here. But I think there's a line in the sand like I think, as you, you know, to what Lance said, there's, you get to a certain stage in your life where your life is complex or you have assets or there's something unique about it. And, you know, like, I just want to talk to someone about this. Yeah.

Kate T
Yeah, no, we, it was interesting. We did so many interviews of kind of younger consumers to talk to them about insurance, which certainly made us ahead of every cocktail party, right? But it was interesting. Everybody says millennials and Gen Z, they don't want to talk to anybody. That wasn't what we found, right? What they want is a totally beautiful, digitally enabled insurance, insurance experience or an experience generally, but then when something's complicated, like there better be somebody to pick up the phone like a warm voice that you know, knows Yeah,

Nick
that makes perfect sense. Right like oh man, isn't it yeah it's like make make the experience easy like the story of the doctor's visit I just had like why am I filling out this form? multiple times especially when I filled that one digitally already, you know, but it's true. It's true that you know I you know, Lemonade when Lemonade started they had they were adamant, there will be no number that you can reach us that this will be all digital. And that didn't work like they actually had to create a call center because I think things get very confusing especially claims time like holy you know my place caught on fire I have no place to live like I don't a bot a bots not going to get me into a hotel. So I think I think those are some really good points and I'm See I scheduled half an hour or 45 minutes and we always go much longer because the conversation is so stimulating but Kate Terry of Surround insurance and Lance Poole of Juniper labs. Thank you. I appreciate it.

Lance P
Thanks, Nick. It was blast.

Nick
Okay, and for anyone that's listening, this is the This Week in Coverager for the week ending, Friday, September 18. And don't forget, still wear your mask. Come on. I can't believe I still have to say this. Just be respectful of one another. It's not that hard. You can do that. And if you get a chance, click that subscribe button or go. You know, make a comment and be good to us. So for Kate freelance for Nick, this is This Week in Coverager. Until next time, have a great weekend, everyone.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai