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Innovation starts with listening to the customer

Why Trustmark? We make sure our partners stand out from the competition with innovative voluntary products. Learn more in our white paper: 3 Ways to Grow Your Business with Voluntary Benefits.

Innovation is the driving force behind advancement. To move forward requires fresh thinking and fresh ideas. In the world of insurance, this is every bit as true as it is in other fields, but the human element involved in insurance lends a different slant to the way we approach innovation. We’re not building a faster car or looking to improve computer processing power, we’re looking to better protect our policyholders. Keeping that idea as our focus is what leads to insurance innovation.

The voice of the customer

Much like a car that goes faster or a computer that is more powerful, the common perception for insurance may be simply that higher benefits or more triggers for those benefits is the solution. That logic may be apt in other fields, but in the world of insurance, it misses the human element. A $100 million insurance policy for the zombie apocalypse isn’t very useful because the likelihood of using the policy are slim. Meanwhile, a policy that pays 10 cents but covers every possible injury may cover all the bases, but isn’t going to provide much protection should an injury happen.

Effective product innovation in voluntary benefits requires an approach that focuses on more than just being bigger or broader. For us, innovation requires listening to the voice of the customer. The real answers for insurance innovation lie in questions such as, “What conditions are policyholders experiencing?” or “When are policyholders most in need of protection?” and “What will provide the best protection for the real-life scenarios policyholders face?” When it comes to insurance, it’s not about building bigger, it’s about building smarter.

The human element in action

A consumer-centric approach to innovation may sound good in theory, but what does it look like when applied to the real world? At Trustmark, we’ve found success by listening to consumers before we start building products, so we get at what they care about most:
  • Universal LifeEvents – As a person ages, their biggest financial burdens are no longer covering the mortgage or sending their children to school, the concern becomes managing their retirement and the reality that 70% of people will need long-term care.1 Trustmark’s Universal LifeEvents offers life insurance benefits that convert into options for long-term care benefits in later years when the need for long-term care is higher.
  • Critical LifeEvents – 90 percent of critical illness claims are for heart attack, cancer and stroke.2 Today, doctors are better than ever at detecting these illnesses, so we designed a product that focuses protection on the most common conditions as well as covering for early identification and early-stage diagnosis.
  • Accident insurance – Much like with Critical LifeEvents, we saw that our customers’ claims were highly focused on 10 key injuries and 3 key hospital benefits. Our accident product provides the highest possible benefits for these services since our customers were showing us that’s what they needed.

In each of the examples above, we heard the voice of the customer and then took a different approach to our product design to meet that need. Increasing benefits or adding to our list of triggers would have been easy, but it wouldn’t have been as effective. Instead, we found that the best path forward is to start with the customer since, in the insurance world, that’s where true innovation starts.
1 “The basics”. Feb., 2017.
2 Gen Re. U.S. Critical Illness Insurance Market Survey 2013/2014