How Can Insurers Contribute to Suicide Prevention Initiatives?

Innovation Project Summary Cookhouse Lab

How Can Insurers Contribute to Suicide Prevention Initiatives?

Addressing the issue of preventable suicides in the working population.

3

DAYS

LONDON

2018

8

COMPANIES

3

MVPs

Challenge

Identify triggers – that are visible to insurers​ – and support people with resources that will make a practical difference.

WHY?

Understanding those with Suicidal Thoughts

SEE

SAY & DO

HEAR

THINK & FEEL

DISCOVERY

How can insurers help both the insured and uninsured?

How can current insurer touch points be leveraged?

Can data and technology support our efforts?

Is it possible to help without communicating a hidden agenda?

Maximizing the use of technology will help recognize triggers and better support families with claims.

CONCEPTS

Maximizing the use of technology will help recognize triggers and better support families with claims.

1

A human touch

The solution is simple, but often those can be the most impactful: a handwritten card for the recipient of the claim after a suicide.

This solution provides a small, but personal touch, that humanises a currently formal touchpoint. The card includes information about how to seek help and self-care, and all information would be expertly screened.

Suicide prevention Solution01

2

Penguin Awareness Campaign

The penguin was chosen as the face of the campaign because of its caring nature, and survival in community. 30 Six-foot penguins would be placed around London, fitted with screens that would ask passers-by questions about how they feel, to raise awareness about mental health, and encouraging people to stop, think and interact.

The idea was inspired by best practices around the world showing how a simple question could distract those with suicidal thoughts from acting on them.

Suicide prevention Solution02

3

Insurance industry working group

Due to the interest of the team in taking this topic further as an industry, a working group was proposed to continue the efforts that the Cookhouse Lab had initiated.

The mission of the group is to catalyze actions within the insurance industry, targeted at contributing to suicide prevention initiatives. It will initially run for a 12-month period at which point a review will be held to determine whether or not to continue.

Suicide prevention Solution03

RESULTS

In this three-day sprint, the project team explored in depth this important, and emotive, societal issue.

2

Empathy Maps

1

Customer Journey Map

21

Ideation Questions

17

Lightning Demos

12

Initial Solutions

3

MVPs

1

Innovation Report

3

Project Presentations

PARTICIPANTS

We also offer intro sessions that provide insurance professionals with the opportunity to experience our Cookhouse Labs methodology and a sneak peek at what it’s like to co-create and collaborate with our global community. If you are not a Cookhouse Labs member and are interested in finding out more, check out our membership benefits!

How Can the Insurance Industry Contribute to Suicide Prevention?

In Britain, 17 people die of suicide daily on average, and men are three times more likely to take their own lives as women. Suicides have a tremendous impact on humans emotionally and trigger financial costs, so we decided to run a three-day Pop-Up Lab in London to understand how the insurance industry could contribute potential solutions for suicide prevention in the region.  

Suicide: a societal and insurance industry challenge 

When a claims manager from RGA in the UK raised the issue of how our industry could help prevent suicides, we began exploring the problem and learned of a number of people in the insurance industry who volunteer with non-profit organizations that focus on suicide prevention. 

One of these is Samaritans, a UK non-profit. We learned of a Samaritans marketing campaign that displayed posters on a rail line, promoting their suicide hotline. The result? Suicides on the rail lines decreased by 20 percent. This low-cost initiative clearly helped save many lives, as well as helping the rail industry serve their users better.

Considering how suicide affects our industry, healthcare and society in general (we estimate the UK life insurance industry paid out more than £100m on suicide claims in 2017), we were eager to contribute. Running a sprint using Cookhouse Pop-Up Lab would give us the opportunity to learn more and work with people directly impacted by this crisis in the region. If you think of Cookhouse Lab as a test kitchen, then the Pop-Up Lab is our food truck, bringing our skills and experience to collaborate with local experts in global locations.  

Using our network to bring people together to solve problems 

Despite the sensitive nature of this topic, we found that people were eager to get involved to find solutions for suicide prevention. All of the participants had both a personal and professional (i.e challenge in their organization) connection to this societal issue, and they came together to solve it. 

Usually, when running a Pop-Up Lab, we aim for a group size of six to eight participants. In this case, we had such a strong interest from candidates that we chose nine:  a diverse group of re/insurers, insurers and consultants, many with operational experience in actuary, claims, or underwriting. 

Participants of this Pop-Up Lab were from the following organizations: 

  • Agrippa 
  • Aviva 
  • EY 
  • Legal & General 
  • Munich Re 
  • Pacific Life Re 
  • Reinsurance Group of America 
  • SCOR 
  • Vitality 

 Two experts in the suicide prevention field also joined a session on the first day as masterminds, generously sharing their knowledge and experience to help the project team complete empathy and customer journey maps. In addition, the participants grabbed inspiration from 17 lightning demos about male suicide prevention tactics used by others. With much motivation and purpose, the team cooked up a diverse set of ideas and solutions.

In just three days this fast-moving project team created three solutions to save lives – a tremendous feat! Each solution targets suicide prevention at a different level: specific, macro and strategic. Let’s take a look at what they cooked up: 

Specific: This solution was formed to address the fact that the suicide of a relative can be a trigger event for other suicides. The project team came up with the idea for insurers to send a handwritten condolence note including information on how to seek help and self-care to a suicide-related claimant. This small but personal touch humanizes a currently formal touchpoint and could help reduce the claim suicide as a trigger event for another suicide among family or friends.  

Macro: The next solution was a macro-level campaign to promote mental health awareness and human interaction in London communities. The project team envisioned this happening by placing thirty six-foot penguins around London, which would encourage people to stop, think and interact.  

Strategic: The strategic level solution involved forming an industry working group that would catalyze actions within the insurance industry targeted at contributing to suicide prevention activities. The group would span operational teams (e.g. underwriting, claims) to address suicide from all perspectives in insurance.  

Solving an industry problem in one locale can have a global impact 

The problem of suicide is not limited to the UK. By devoting our attention and resources to thinking deeply about a problem, it shines a light on root causes and issues that people may have ignored  or overlooked. One of the biggest takeaways from this Pop-Up Lab was: don’t be afraid to tackle a sensitive subject. We all benefit when a workable solution is created, because it may spark an idea that can help solve a problem somewhere else. By looking at our industry’s processes through the lens of suicide, we identified many simple steps that could be taken to improve things. 

Similarly, there are other common challenges and problems that exist across the insurance industry and global communities. Doing a deep dive into these challenges in a specific region can trigger a positive change globally. 

Want to get involved with suicide prevention?  

Thank you to all of the participants for bringing their innovative minds and compassion together for this project. If your organization is interested in joining this group of innovators for the next steps for this project, or if you have an idea for another social challenge in need of an insurance industry solution, please contact us. 

Thanks to Jonathan Hughes for sharing insights from facilitating the Pop-Up Lab to contribute to this blog.

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