Q&A: John Latona on Haven Life’s Experience Redesign

IIR asks General Manager John Latona to comment on some of the specifics of Haven Life’s new insurance buying experience.

(Workup of Haven Life’s “Results” page. Source: Haven Life.)

Editor’s Note: This is a supplement to our main article: Haven Life Launches Redesigned Insurance Buying Experience.

While putting together a story on Haven Life’s redesign of its digital insurance buying experience, we had the opportunity to interact with John Latona, the firm’s General Manager. Haven Life’s publicity materials were crafted for the general public and business press, and we asked Mr. Latona to address the interest of our insurance innovation-focused audience about some of the salient improvements featured in the redesign that create an innovative or competitive customer experience. Here’s what he called out:

Why rates instead of quotes:

John Latona, General Manager, Haven Life.

It’s an industry standard to lead with an initial life insurance quote at the start, which is based on an applicant’s perception of their health without reference to underwriting guidelines. Beginning with a quote used to make sense when it took a manual underwriting process several weeks to determine eligibility and final pricing. But since each company views medical conditions differently from a pricing perspective, the quote is just a vague estimate that often results in people being disappointed with their final price. For example, comparing quotes across sites would give a general estimate that doesn’t factor in much about the individual. That means it’s probably going to be pretty far from what coverage would actually cost—especially if your medical history is more complicated. We see this as an opportunity to give our customers transparency into our pricing and ultimately to build trust, so we used technology to take an application and underwrite customers in real-time. Why provide people with a quote when they can just answer a few more questions about themselves and know their real rate?

A shorter insurance application:

The application and underwriting have historically been two of the most time-consuming aspects of the traditional life insurance buying process. That’s because the data being reviewed was not dynamic or personalized to the individual. It was also being reviewed manually, which required many applicants to answer questions that weren’t relevant. We streamlined the application and removed questions that weren’t needed in the underwriting process, and now, for many applicants, there are about 30 core, conversational questions instead of 60 to 100. That’s mainly a result of combining our underwriting platform and the mortality model we built in partnership with our parent company MassMutual. Also, our application questions are reflexive, so we only ask what’s relevant to an applicant’s medical history. Lastly, we use industry standard third-party data sources, like prescription history, to identify applicants who are eligible for our InstantTerm process or who may need to share additional information (like a medical exam). This allows us to improve and shorten a customer’s experience by tailoring the application process to each individual and their specific history and needs.

Real rates for everything you qualify for:

This update is a little bit of inside baseball, but we adjusted another part of our experience that we all think is really interesting and a game changer. It also adds to the transparency of real rates. Now, when you get your real rate, we’re providing you with pricing for everything you qualify for. For example, if you initially say in the application that you want $500,000 in coverage, we tell you how much that will cost for 10, 15, 20 and 30 years, and if you also qualify (based on your age and income) for $750,000, you can see your personalized pricing for that amount of coverage, across term lengths, too. These prices update in real-time based on what you select. You’ll see this illustrated in our brand video at about 0:35. If approved, you can usually claim that rate and start coverage immediately. This creates more transparency into eligibility and pricing than ever before.

Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For over a decade he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at AnthODonnell@IIReporter.com or (503) 936-2803.

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