What does innovation imply within the UK safety market?


A consumer requested me to deal with this query in a current webinar about safety proposition developments. The analysis it prompted meant a number of days trawling again by way of 20 years of press articles and hoarded paperwork about initiatives I’d been concerned in. 

First, let’s have a look at the which means of the phrases innovation and revolutionary? To a sure extent they’ve turn out to be clichés, usually blended in with different phrases equivalent to ‘game-changing’, ‘revolutionary’ and ‘world-beating’. I wish to hold issues easy and have all the time seen innovation to imply one thing new that didn’t exist earlier than. However there are two kinds of new. One thing totally different and one thing higher. And proposition improvement gold is one thing that’s each totally different and higher. 

When essential sickness cowl hit the UK within the mid-Eighties it was revolutionary as a result of it was totally different. Utterly new. But, each iteration of essential sickness merchandise since, while revolutionary, have simply taken the unique thought and made it higher. It began with firms including situations to the listing of sicknesses lined and developed into including partial funds and improved “ABI Plus” definitions. 

The “totally different then higher” sample of innovation occurs in most industries. Suppose again to 2007 when Steve Jobs from Apple stood up on a stage and mentioned he was about to launch three new revolutionary merchandise. A large touch-screen iPod, a telephone and a new internet browser. The wow second got here when he confirmed the three merchandise have been one – and he known as it the iPhone.  

The iPhone was totally different. Each iteration of the iPhone since, and each equal good telephone from different producers, have been higher. The iPhone 13 has a greater digital camera and a higher sooner chip than the iPhone 12, nevertheless it isn’t totally different. 

The safety trade’s iPhone second got here in 1996 when Scottish Provident launched the menu safety product. While Apple mixed a music participant, telephone and internet browser into one product, Scot Prov mixed life insurance coverage, essential sickness cowl and revenue safety into one versatile proposition. Eighteen months handed earlier than one other supplier launched a menu proving that “totally different” also can enhance aggressive benefit. On the time, suppliers may copy “higher” sickness lists inside weeks. 

The menu grew to become the popular ‘product chassis’ for many safety product launches after that. However once more, every iteration has been an enchancment quite than a totally contemporary design. 

With my expertise of product improvement, I do know launching one thing totally different is far more durable than doing one thing higher. Again within the early noughties, Vivid Gray thought of launching a special strategy to essential sickness cowl primarily based on the bodily results of sickness quite than on the definitions of the situations themselves. After a lot analysis, they pigeon-holed the concept and took the better route of bettering the prevailing mannequin. In different phrases, including extra sicknesses. 

It’s attention-grabbing to see AIG Life happening the bodily results route now however selling it as an enchancment of the prevailing mannequin quite than a totally novel strategy. 

As I accomplished my analysis for the webinar, I got here to the conclusion that we’ll by no means see a special safety product mannequin. Is that this disappointing? In any case, I usually hear folks ask, “When will we see the Uber of safety?” Or, “What is going to the AirBnB of safety seem like?”  

Look at these ground-breakers nearer and also you realise Uber and AirBnB didn’t re-invent the taxi automobiles or the bricks and mortar of the lodge. They got here up with a special service mannequin and buyer expertise. 

That is what the longer term appears to be like like for cover. We are able to solely make the merchandise higher. However the place we will be totally different is with the processes and the client expertise, and even the advertising communications. 

Royal London’s Underwrite Later, for instance, is totally different nevertheless it’s a service proposition not a product. And with extra Synthetic Intelligence, Augmented Actuality and even the Metaverse on the way in which to supply a basis for innovation, that is from the place a “totally different” future will emerge. 

Roger Edwards is managing director of Roger Edwards Advertising and marketing and advertising director of Safety Assessment 


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