Interview: Why pay USD 100 for an insurance policy that you can buy for USD 10?

Insurance is something that is essential for everyone’s life but, at the same time, feels very complicated and distant–especially when it comes to young people. Due to their lack of information and expertise, people usually choose insurance products on recommendations from friends and family alone. What is worse, a great deal of people feel the burden of paying insurance fees and make cancellations in the middle of a designated period even when they cannot be compensated for what they already paid for.

This is exactly the problem that Myung Ki Joon, CEO of D.Lemon, set out to solve. He wants everyone to choose ‘the’ insurance product that is the best fit for his or her particular condition, rather than being swayed by others’ recommendations and suffering for it. He also believes that there is a way to change the way people think of and register for insurance services. To make this happen, he launched a service called Lemon Clip.

Platum interviewed Myung Ki Joon, CEO of D.Lemon to find out more.

Myung Ki Joon, CEO of D.Lemon. Photo from Platum

From the first person in South Korea to introduce an online insurance product to an entrepreneur.

What did you do before you founded D.Lemon?

In my previous job, I was responsible for the online business of a life insurance company. In fact, this was the first time that insurance products were sold online in Korea. For the three years that I worked as a manager of an online sales project, I led a team to design insurance products in a digitalized way to sell online and made digital marketing strategies. It first launched in December 2012, and around a year later, a lot of companies started to enter this blue ocean of opportunity.

As a pioneer, you must have been very committed to that business. What made you come out and start your own company?

After three years of dedication to making that successful, I noticed that the online insurance market was not growing as fast as I expected. I thought there needed to be a turning point.

At the time, I had the idea to make a joint venture between the insurance company that I was working for and a technology/consumer-driven ICT company. I could see the synergy from this marriage. However, despite my efforts, the company’s management was not convinced of the idea and it was thrown away at the end. Since I was very confident that this model would work, I decided to start my own business based on this idea.

Traditional insurance companies failed to build a trusting relationship with their customers. The key is transparency and sincerity.

What do you think is the biggest problem that the traditional insurance industry faces?

Firstly, insurance products are not something that people feel happy about after they have paid for them. It is something people feel obligated to buy in order to prevent the worst thing from happening. To put it simply, customers benefit from this purchase only when something bad happens. So, inherently, purchasing insurance products can hardly be ‘satisfying.’

Second, Koreans are paying more for their insurance premiums than the average amount in OECD countries. Why? When customers buy an insurance policy at the suggestion of people around them, the conditions and price levels are set in favor of insurance companies rather than customers, so that the former gain higher commission fees. Unfortunately, there are no alternatives for a general public that is not well-informed of the details of insurance policies.

Tell us more about D.Lemon.

Our service, Lemon Clip, puts great emphasis on the transparency of all information. When one is searching for a particular insurance policy or company, he or she can come to Lemon Clip for everything. Lemon Clip shows the price list of different companies and policies so that people can make more reasonable decisions.

D.Lemon’s goal is very straightforward: enhance customers’ experience of buying insurance policies.

Is there anything else that D.Lemon focuses on?

Yes. We put a lot of effort into preventing security issues. This year, we received security consulting from the Financial Security Institute to proactively diagnose potential problems.

What are some of the features/functions that differentiate Lemon Clip from others.

We excel in two aspects; technology and service.

The search engine in Lemon Clip is ‘client method.’ That is, every search is done in the user’s own smartphone, so no personal information can be leaked to the outside. This goes a long way to prevent security issues.

Our service has three parts. Basically, you can check all the information on insurance policies you have registered. There is a ‘viewer’ function that allows you to use it for later billing, and an advisor function that diagnoses the status of the insurance you have joined. Now, it is being done in semi-automation, and at the end of the year, we plan to start advanced diagnostic services using artificial intelligence robots.

Also, users can look up and compare different insurance products on Lemon Clip. Right now, a lot of so-called insurance comparison sites work by getting people to leave their contact information and enticing them to buy certain products. In Lemon Clip, every piece of information is out there for everyone.

What is your business model?

As our app and web become increasingly popular, online-based referrals will also increase. If our user joins a certain insurance policy through our app, we earn commission fees. In the future, we will try various profit models such as group-buying.

D.Lemon recently raised seed investment. How do you plan to use the capital?

We will continue to focus on enhancing services and strengthening our value, in contrast to other O2O or software services, which merely increase their number of users. More important for us is the level of trust the users have in our service.

What is D.Lemon’s future?

We aim to get rid of inefficiency in the insurance market and make a consumer-centric insurance service.

This article, entitled “Interview: Why pay USD 100 for an insurance policy that you can buy for USD 10?”, was written in Korean by Platum, edited by AllTechAsia.

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