Made up of Kiwibank employees, millennial- focused insurance experiment Wicket looks to use technology to make i nsurance a priority for young people.
Idealog: So tell us a little bit about what your idea was and give us a taste of your elevator pitch, if you’re not too sick of repeating it.
Callum McPhail, co-founder and CEO (right): Our focus was on life and living insurance. It was pretty much as ‘blue sky’ as can be, really. We looked into who's not currently being served by the insurance industry and what we found was a big pool of millennials who are just not interested in insurance. They don't trust insurers. Basically, the positioning of insurance products just doesn’t cater to them.
So what was the research stage like?
So before running headfirst into developing a solution we actually sat down with dozens of [millennials] and conducted hours and hours of interviews in their environment.
When we started to talk about risk, we asked 'what would happen if you actually couldn’t work?" Almost 100 percent of them said 'Oh, I’d just go back to mum and dad’. That threw us off initially, but then we said ‘Well, instead of moving back to mum and dad’s, which would be a bit crap to be honest, and mum and dad might not even want you to move home with them, if we could give you a product that actually insures your income for several months to several years after you become sick or injured, would you be prepared to spend the same amount of money as you spend on a coffee per week to get it?’
Almost all of them said ‘yes’, so we discovered that pairing lifestyle, something they associate with, with insurance, a product they don't yet associate with, gets them thinking a lot more about it.
What did you learn from going through the accelerator? What was the key takeaway for you?
One very important thing that happened to us was the realisation that you have to fail fast.
We ran headfirst for the first two weeks thinking that it was the application process that was too difficult. We had this idea that whoever lands on a webpage to apply for insurance is just finding it too difficult to apply and that's why they're not taking insurance out.
What we quickly validated was that that's not the problem. We went out and actually talked to people who were applying for i nsurance and asked them where the pain point was. They said that i t wasn’t the application that was the i ssue. For a l ot of people i t was cost. For a l ot of people i t was a motivational i ssue. It wasn't actually the application that was putting them off.
So about two weeks in we realised, 'Oh, that's not the golden ticket'. That was a key moment for us and a key part of any accelerator: figure out what's not going to work, as fast as you can.
What other ‘lightbulb moments’ were there for Wicket?
During one point of our research, we were accused of ‘leading the witness'. We were trying too hard to prove something and the way we were asking the questions, we were trying to get the outcome we expected.
Having people who can call you out on things like that and say 'actually, the method you're using here is wrong', that's really, really valuable. We were lucky to have people around us who could point out those flaws, because when you've got an idea and you think it's an idea that’s going to solve the world's problems, you don't want to hear that it's not. But if you can realise your own bias, that's very powerful.
When you've got an idea and you think i t's an i dea that’s going to solve the world's problems, you don't want to hear that i t's not. But i f you can realise your own bias, that's very powerful. Callum McPhail / Wicket