Insurtech diary: Countdown to product launch


In the first of a series of diary posts, Alex Cherry, head of content at Buzz, provides an insight into what it takes to launch a new insurtech product.

It’s Monday morning and three of us from Buzz are off to the Insurance Innovators Summit. Charlotte [Halkett], our managing director of insurance product, is on stage later, and we’ve place for a stand on the exhibition floor.

Bella [Hernandez], marketing executive, meets me at the venue sporting a branded Buzz T-shirt and heaving along a large plastic trunk hopefully containing the ingredients for at least one stand.

Several long, long flights of stairs later and we’re in the ‘Insurtech Zone’. You’d be surprised just how many of the challenges we face getting our name out there are purely physical.

At today’s event we’re showcasing Buzzvault, our soon-to-launch horror-free reinvention of home insurance. It’s as simple as: open the app, complete a quick survey using our mobile video tool and get your quote.

Our video tool, Buzzsurvey, is meanwhile used by removals companies all around the world, and we were exhibiting it at the International Association of Movers show only last month. Step one is making sure we have in fact brought the right materials.

In a flurry of magnetic sticks and, yes, the right canvas panels, our stand takes shape. A smooth backdrop telling the Buzzvault story. A branded podium. And some product flyers, glossy, firm and with that fresh-from-the-printers smell. However much chaos goes in – provided simplicity comes out, we’re happy.

On stage around lunchtime, Charlotte discusses the idea of insurance as a ‘pull’ product. There’s a strong feeling at this year’s event that insurance can be a great enabler for customers, whether they’re driving, travelling or leaving the house. But a lot needs to change with how insurers design their products and how they communicate.

Come Wednesday, I’m back at base making my morning coffee. The events trunk is stowed in a corner. The event blog has been written, published and relevantly hashtagged.

A ray of sunshine passes over our high-end motivational poster “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. But all I’m eating for breakfast is an Estonian wafer snack left out by our chief technology officer John [Sotiropoulos], who’s just returned from a meeting with our one of partners over in Tallinn. Ironing things out in advance of D-Day.

Meanwhile, we’re not just building a new product but a whole new product team. And we’ve not just got to keep pace ourselves but to get each new member up to speed as well.

Over the next couple of days, we’ll each take turns introducing a new starter to different cogs in the Buzz machine. Insurance, removals, video tech – nothing like staff inductions to get you thinking about who you are and what you offer customers.

Until, once again, 4pm on Friday rolls around - this means one thing: we’re officially allowed to dip into the special side of the fridge, home to more than just Coca Cola.

One week more in the journey. One week less until Buzzvault launches. And one thing certain: it only gets tougher from here.

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