How technology empowers the financial services practice

How one company’s belief that everyone deserves a fair go led to the creation of a speciality online business brand, providing Life Insurance services for Australians with well-managed HIV or Diabetes.

The impossible made possible

People with specialty medical conditions such as HIV or Diabetes have always struggled to access Life Insurance and related products in the Australian Financial Services market.

Most people today take for granted the ease and speed at which we can transfer the weight of life’s major risks to an insurance company. Whether this is through insuring our home, our car, our ability to earn an income or our lives, it’s a simple enough process.

Stigma and discrimination

But for people living with speciality health conditions, it’s a different matter entirely. Such people repeatedly face additional barriers of ignorance, misinformation and even antiquated stigma, should they even attempt to set up what most people today take for granted: a Life Insurance policy to protect and provide for their families when they need it most.

Many financial advisers see such speciality consumers as simply too niche a with issues too complex to assess and, therefore, not a cost-effective focus for their business to do anything about.

The end result is that good people, often with families to protect, who have a manageable chronic illness but who may still qualify for a Life Insurance policy: at best, they miss out; at worst, they suffer further discrimination, stress and alienation by our apparent lack of interest in recognising them as a normal part of the consumer community.

The change that one person with passion and technology can make

One small business in Financial Services embraced technology and decided to be both the leader and the change it wanted to see in the world. This was made possible through a commitment to dignity and service, expressed through technology.

The ingredients of change

The brand is unUsualrisks.com.au , and in September 2014 it became one of four business finalists recognised in the annual Honour Awards as "...an organisation that has provided leadership and who made a significant contribution to the LGBTI community in the field of business, finance, commerce and industry."

Key issues faced along the way

  • This niche market has admittedly complex needs that fit a limited and constantly changing set of financial products and solutions. Changes to assessment criteria are reflected quickly in the unUsual Risks website’s pre-assessment technology.
  • As part of applying for a Life Insurance policy, personal and sensitive information is collected and assessed. Privacy concerns were paramount, so all identifying information is removed from general inquiries.
  • The effect of a formal decline after an application is made has far-reaching effects for every future insurance application the individual might make. Special procedures are in place to manage these issues.

By providing an anonymous pre-assessment service, consumers with speciality needs can now interact and learn about their situation and get real-time feedback about their opportunities, free of the problems that foster ignorance and discrimination.

How technology makes good ideas possible

Within the course of 90 days, an idea around a need, was grown from concept to a complete standalone viable online service, which is now already in its second revision.

The raw materials that made this possible include six key technology bridges

1Responsive website design - ensured that all data was easily available to the widest audience, on the widest range of mobile and tablet devices.

2Live anonymous pre-assessment surveys – enabled real-time online interaction and consumer feedback on their personal situation.

3An online chat facility via Skype – provided both privacy and accessibility for prospective customers to get additional information, without the need to disclose their own identifiable sensitive health details, during a pre-purchase inquiry.

4Animated explainer videos (with closed captions) – ensured that the tone of the service was consistent with its vision and approach.

5Email auto responders and enquiry ticketing systems–enable online enquiries to be managed by only the appropriate team member in an information-secure environment.

6Social media and LinkedIn business profiles have extended the reach of the service and reinforced the consumers' ability to confirm the authenticity of the service, to verify its capacities and to be introduced to the people behind the passion.

The big picture result

This purpose-built service provides up-to-date information, anonymous pre-assessments and a clear pathway with dignity and discretion into what most people today take for granted: the ability to establish a Life Insurance policy to protect and provide for their family when they need it most. (*And no, it has never been done before).

Drew Browne

You never really understand a system until you start to change it.
I’m an entrepreneur specialising in usable strategic financial advice for Small Business Owners and their families. After 20+ years of experience in law and financial services, I've come to believe there are some conversations that are too important not to have. And in the end, we won’t remember the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Contact Drew through LinkedIn