Insurtech Five
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Insurtech Five

Designing travel insurance for women

Jane was something I always wanted to build… I just had to figure out how to do it.

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One of the projects at my previous agency (PLUS2) involved research for the women’s advocacy program for one of the Big Four Banks. Within the banking industry women (as a segment) are often referred to as the next billion dollars. My team and I conducted an extended series of quantitative surveys and quantitative customer interviews and we shocked to hear how excluded women felt from disenfranchised when engaging with financial services. The interactions women described with the bank left my team and I aghast and the saddest part was they had become conditioned to expect this treatment.

Unsurprisingly, the results of our research came as a great shock to male dominated management team within this financial institution. They had not set out to exclude women. It was simply a blindspot. They just didn’t see it or believe it.

It was this experience, coupled with the data we had about who buys travel insurance and when, that lead to the creation of Travel with Jane. My team and I were focussed on the safety and wellbeing of female travellers and advocating for equality in all issues faced by our customers.

However we didn’t want to “pink-wash” the product and to raise awareness around wage parity, Jane offers a world first Gender Pay Gap discount while also donating to the Women’s Legal Service.

The financial implications of a Gender Pay Gap have far reaching consequences, naturally some of which spill into the ability for women to seize every opportunity to travel, and travel safely.

The steps to go live

The hardest step when launching any insurance product is convincing the capacity you’ve correctly identified an opportunity and you’ll deliver a good return. To achieve this we followed a process that is loosely based on the build, measure, learn cycle outlined in the Lean Startup.

  1. Identify an opportunity (hypothesis)
    This is can be driven by founder gut instinct or through market research. In the case of Jane it was a mix of hearing the women tell their stories about the banks and understanding the data around who buys travel insurance (mostly women) and at what stage of the customer life cycle.
  2. Build a prototype
    To test our concepts we built a number of lightweight prototypes so we could test with real customers. In this case it was some basic wireframes and concepts we printed on paper and on-screen to test with our customers.
  3. Measure
    We then organised a series of interviews with customers (feel free to ask me how to do this if you’re interested) and tested the concepts with the customers.
  4. Learn
    After conducting all the interviews we collated the results and digested what we (thought we had) found.
  5. Iterate … back to hypothesis
    We then developed an updated hypothesis and went through the process again.

Pregnancy and getting the capacity on board

One of the key findings in our customer interviews was that we needed good pregnancy cover. This is a really tricky benefit with underwriters due to the frequency of complications with pregnancies and the medical bills associated with the care. Finding a local insurer with the foresight and willingness to design and price this cover was almost impossible. However, thanks to our data and customer interviews we managed to partner with a forward thinking underwriting team at a Lloyd’s syndicate.

The future for Jane

Jane is going international in the next 18 months. Due to legislation in other regions we’ve had to remove our gender pay gap discount and embark on a partnership with not for profits who are active in the space of gender equality. We’ll be donating 10% of all sales to 6 Cause Partners who are active in challenging gender inequality in Australia and abroad. Our cause partners were recruited within from within our community. They are active in promoting gender equality spanning all areas of impact including: wages, education and legal representation.




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Ben Webster

Ben Webster

Partner, dad & hopelessly geeky surfer. Insurtech founder of @insuredbyus @agile_uw & a few others.

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