Modernizing life insurance: The 6 principles which guide our customer experience

Estimated 4m read

Modernizing life insurance: The 6 principles which guide our customer experience


Modernizing life insurance: The 6 principles which guide our customer experience

Estimated 4m read

Modernizing life insurance: The 6 principles which guide our customer experience

Estimated 4m read

Modernizing life insurance: The 6 principles which guide our customer experience

Estimated 4m read

Modernizing life insurance: The 6 principles which guide our customer experience

No items found.
Enter details to watch
By Modern Life
February 21, 2024
By Modern Life
Feb 21, 2024
Jump To
This is some text inside of a div block.

Modern Life’s Head of Design, Margaret Shear, has spent the past 20 years defining and launching human-centered digital products that improve people’s daily lives. She shares her perspective on addressing the pain points that advisors and their clients encounter during the life insurance journey.

The process to secure life insurance is lengthy, opaque, and ultimately frustrating—so much so that 109 million Americans don’t have the coverage they need to protect their loved ones. Meanwhile, 90% of life insurance policies are sold through financial professionals who have been underserved by lagging and fragmented technologies1.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. The life insurance industry is primed for meaningful change. At Modern Life, we are focused on improving the purchase journey to deliver better outcomes to more advisors and their clients. As we round the corner into our third year of business, we’re excited to share the six principles guiding our design decisions from strategy to pixel in bringing the future to life.

#1— Streamlined process 

The process of getting life insurance is riddled with hurdles for all involved. From repetitive data entry to cumbersome application requirements, many steps all add up to an application process that can take months and ultimately delay securing coverage.

In re-envisioning this experience, it’s tempting to try to remove each and every friction, as is the tendency of many successful direct-to-consumer (D2C) technology companies. But while one-click checkout may be great for low-stakes decisions like buying paper towels, we don’t believe it’s an appropriate aspiration for a high-stakes purchase that ultimately impacts your family’s financial future.

Instead, we believe that it is important for Modern Life to clear the noise. We build momentum—but never rush—towards securing coverage.

Our advisor-branded, shareable form enables advisors to collect health and lifestyle information from clients upfront in the process, helping to avoid unnecessary surprises during the underwriting process. Information collected is used to generate quotes and pre-populate applications submitted via Modern Life. Where advisors have historically juggled an array of paper, PDF, and web forms across this process, our normalized interface optimizes for readability and focus, making it faster and less error-prone to complete. 

#2— Elevated collaboration

The business of life insurance requires choreography. For any application, multiple teams of people and numerous processes and tools must work together to reach a shared goal. Think of the relationships in play: from couples shopping together to consulting with advisors navigating the dynamics of working with big carriers with the assistance of their brokerage and case managers.

Positive outcomes depend on productive social dynamics. Finding space for the human touch can transform this experience from a plight to a placed case.

With this in mind, Modern Life improves—but doesn’t aim to eliminate —interactions between people using technology.

One example of this is our approach to notifications, which puts Modern Life’s case managers in control of the timing and content of the message rather than automatically triggering notifications on any update (a pattern that may be appropriate in other contexts, such as air travel booking confirmations).

One of our advisors recently validated this approach: “Modern Life is a phenomenal company to do business with. They represent all the top carriers, and they know all the sweet spots in order to compete on tough cases. They also have all the best technology and superb case managers to guide cases smoothly, from start to finish. ”

#3— Increased confidence

Life insurance products are complex and involve many unique dimensions, making it challenging to understand the longer-term implications of securing coverage. Plus, applying for life insurance forces applicants to consider and discuss money and their own mortality, two of the most stressful topics imaginable. Clients turn to their advisors for the same reason advisors come to Modern Life: for expertise. Expertise demystifies the application process and helps them understand which products may be right for them.

Modern Life makes difficult topics easier to navigate. We put things in relatable—but never simplistic—terms.

Earlier this year, we launched an Insights Center, which centralizes information that may help advisors and their clients outside the mechanics of getting coverage in force. We strive to communicate at a level that can be easily understood by anyone with a basic knowledge of life insurance: a standard that we hold true across our ecosystem. 

In our digital product development group, nearly all of us have gone through the process needed to get certified as life insurance advisors in New York—empowering us to see things through the eyes of our users!

#4— Progress visibility

Purchasing life insurance is a significant financial commitment that requires reassurance and confidence to follow through on the decision. As timelines extend, motivation and trust may wane. At the same time, carriers are incentivized to take care and be selective when underwriting risks. The result is long turnaround times and opaque post-application processes, which can leave people feeling like they’re in the dark.

Modern Life creates certainty by conveying what happens next—even if the specific outcome is uncertain.

Not long ago, we heard an advisor describe their prior experience with the underwriting process as a “black hole.” Unfortunately, this is a common feeling we’ve also heard echoed amongst friends and family who may have spent weeks or months unclear of what to expect next while they were working to get a policy. 

The case activity feed we launched last year is one crucial step towards shedding light on this process. We’ve designed the feed to highlight key status updates while providing advisors more passive visibility into the interim steps (such as when notes have been added by their case management team).

Our team later released a weekly email summary version of this activity feed, and we were thrilled to receive positive feedback within hours of the first send: “I really like the weekly case update email… It is super easy to follow down the line. It helps manage time and expectations.”

#5— Moments of delight

Benchmarks for user satisfaction are generally low across the life insurance industry despite a pervasive need for people to secure their financial safety by obtaining coverage. Research from Bain & Company shows that most life insurance companies receive a Net Promoter Score, a metric used to gauge customer loyalty and satisfaction,  between one and 40. In comparison, we are proud to say that Modern Life’s current score ranks in the 99th percentile. Beyond the insurance industry, mainstream tech companies have raised the bar for expectations when it comes to quality consumer experience.

Modern Life creates micro-interactions with maximum impact—to ease pains and to impart feelings of reward.

Our brand foundations, developed in 2021 by the studio XXIX, have equipped us with a toolbox for injecting life into an industry often perceived as stale. We continually look for appropriate moments to inject brand voice and character into our technology and marketing alike.

Though utility is the primary purpose of the technology, we’ve identified key moments—such as during onboarding or after an application has been submitted—where we’ve incorporated more whimsical brand elements to evoke feeling, not just satisfaction. We believe that these moments reflect to advisors that our service isn’t just here to get the job done but also to make it a bit more enjoyable.

#6— Singular experience

Finally, as technology has permeated traditional industries, customers often are left to deal with mixed messaging from different business units. Outdated systems and fragmented records make it difficult for organizations to orient to customers plainly and coherently across sales, technology, marketing, and service touchpoints.

Modern Life is memorably distinctive for showing up consistently and cohesively—across every interaction.

As a tech-enabled services business, we are deeply aware that our advisors have many ways of interacting with us, whether through technology or our team. As a Design Team, we’ve introduced Experience Principles to build a shared language for what successful customer experience looks like and tools like Service Blueprints to visualize our business process—reaching beyond the bounds of our brand guidelines and design system.

The key takeaways

The intricacies of securing life insurance have long frustrated both advisors and clients, leading to a significant coverage gap in the United States. At Modern Life, our dedicated Design Team thrives on the opportunity to improve this cumbersome process for everyone involved. We embrace the excitement that arises from unraveling the chaos and replacing it with a streamlined, collaborative, and confidence-inspiring experience, ultimately leading toward a more secure future for both advisors and their clients.

To learn more about Modern Life, sign up for a demo below.

1.Woods, S., Scanlon, J. T., & Leyes, M. (2022, April 25). 2022 Insurance Barometer Study. LIMRA.

All registrants will receive a calendar invitation and link to join the webinar via Zoom. Can't make it live? Register anyway and we'll send you a recording of the presentation the next day.

What you’ll learn
A simplified life insurance journey for advisors and clients
Our proprietary technology and brokerage experts can transform your practice.

Request a demo

See how we provide advisors with advanced technology, unmatched support and the advice of the country’s top insurance experts.

Thank you
for your interest.

Insights directly to your inbox

Stay up-to-date on industry news, planning strategies, product updates, and more.

Thank you
for subscribing.
Download Whitepaper
Register now
Get started with Modern Life
Popup – Slide Up Icon