Made possible by passion and technology A modern small business case study
A Cool Project How technology empowered one financial services practice to make an Australian first difference, in just under 90 days
How one company’s belief that everyone deserves a fair go led to the creation of a specialty online business brand, providing Life Insurance services for Australians with well-managed HIV or Diabetes and other complex health conditions or hard to insure occupations.
The impossible made possible
People with preexisting medical conditions face challenges getting their life insurances sorted. 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 for most of us.
Stigma and discrimination
But for people living with specialty 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 specialty consumers as simply too niche and 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, business debts to cover who have a manageable chronic illness and 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 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 LGBTQI+ 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 policy 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 assessed with privacy concerns paramount, so all identifying information is removed from general inquiries. (The websites public privacy standard stipulates they do not use visitor tracking or re-marketing cookies.)
By providing an anonymous pre-assessment service, consumers with specialty needs can now interact and learn about their situation and receive 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 This quick and agile response to a consumer need was only made possible through a small business embracing technology to help extend its reach into the community they whished to serve.
The raw 'tech' materials that made this possible include six key technology bridges:
- Responsive website design - ensured that all data was easily available to the widest audience, on the widest range of mobile and tablet devices.
- Live anonymous pre-assessment questionnaires – enabled real-time online interaction and consumer feedback on their personal situation.
- An 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.
- Animated explainer videos (with closed captions) – ensured that the tone of the service was consistent with its vision and approach.
- Email auto responders and enquiry ticketing systems–enable online enquiries to be managed by only the appropriate team member in an information-secure environment.
- Social 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. @unusualrisks
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 Life Insurance policies to protect and provide for their family when they need it most.
The last word
*And no, it has never been done before for this underserved community.