LINGS – insurance for when you actually need it
Roger Schüeber, CMO and Co-founder of LINGS, spoke with Efma about his company's innovative insurance offering and how they have formed a real community with their customers.
What was the inspiration for the creation of LINGS?
Actually, it was the customer! At Generali Switzerland, we were doing the first design thinking sprints at the end of 2016. The one outcome/prototype, that the customers wanted, formed the basis of LINGS. To build this from scratch, Generali decided to have a special team of four employees, which worked on the project for nine months. We had a budget and one goal: The first paying customer would arrive after four months.
What were the main ideas and feedback you received from customers during the design thinking sprints?
The target customers in this sprint were young professionals: people from 18 to 28 years old. Most of them expressed three main frustrations:
· They don’t like household insurance, where their IKEA table is insured, because they are not interested in that. But they want to insure the things they really love. For example, their smartphone, laptop, camera, or bike.
· They don’t understand the terms and conditions and all of the accompanying exceptions. They want to know what exactly is covered and in the best-case scenario, everything.
· They don’t understand why they should insure their things when they stay at home. They want to insure their gear when they are out using it, when there is actual risk involved.
Can you describe in more detail your relationship with Generali – your level of independence and then how you collaborate with them?
We started as an internal startup. All four of us were employees of Generali. LINGS was just a brand. They gave us the task to build a solution and the opportunity to take all the resources we need from Generali. But they also said we should do as much as we can independently, outside of Generali. It was our luck that our biggest supporter and sponsor were two Exco Members of Generali Switzerland. Because of that we had a way to exert a little bit of pressure if and when we ever needed something. Take the tariff for example. We needed to have a premium for our solution, but no one had time and resources for us. So, we also asked for a tariff by a reinsurer. Then we said to our colleagues from Generali “It’s okay if you don’t have time for this, but please explain to your boss why the premium is going to someone other than Generali.” Now we are a part of HITS (House of Insurtech Switzerland). HITS is a subsidiary of Generali Switzerland with the task of bringing innovative ideas into the company.
What do you think is key to your outstanding conversion rates?
The key is the whole offering and how we are marketing ourselves. We are a part of the community and not just the next insurer for photographers. We are talking with our customers about their passion and we also share this passion with them, instead of talking with them about insurance covers. Although we are a digital insurer, we are very close to our customers, we are involved in important community-driven events and point of sales. And that’s where the customer really sees us and not promoters. We also work closely with brand ambassadors, which are close to our target group. If a customer writes us an e-mail, we provide feedback quickly and personally. Because of that we have a close and personal connection with our customers. In my view, this is the reason for the outstanding KPI’s from our mailings.
LINGS offers on-demand insurance for photographers and bicyclists. The next step is travel insurance. Could you tell us more about it and your future plans?
As a customer you can plan your insurance with LINGS. You can tell us from when to when you need to be covered and which objects you want to insure. The insurance automatically turns on and off. There we built travel (health) insurance into the process. If you tell us you will be leaving Switzerland for a certain time, you have the possibility to add this insurance cover. But you see this solution only in this moment and nowhere else on our platform. The reason why is simple: We don’t want to be like all the big insurers, where the customer is lost when he sees the website with all its products, links, and information. We want to give the customers an offer at the time it makes the most sense. Like when you are booking a flight with the next best offers in the process.
The next steps will be legal protection travel insurance and a cancellation travel insurance. We are also working to expand LINGS into two other countries in Europe. And we want to build more sales points to offer our customers normal insurance, like we did with the travel insurance.
Do you think the LINGS ultra-flexible model of insurance could be utilized with other types of insurance (home insurance, car insurance, health insurance)?
LINGS is more an add-on to a household insurance. We believe in the future you will buy LINGS and the household insurance together. All your belongings will be insured, when they are at home, but when you are going out, we’ll detect, with the help of IOT, what you have with you and you’re then covered outside of your home (automatically or via push message). I definitely see LINGS being possible for car insurance, especially for the full comprehensive insurance. Why should your car be covered for damage, when it is at home in the garage? With this on-demand (IOT) service, you just have to pay when you are not at home with your car. For health insurance I see the only way being how we developed it – as an add-on insurance for travelling, for example.