Partnering with the Insurance Industry to Support the Community

Over the course of 2 days, we provided small business owners with live access to expert knowledge, resources, and community support to aid them as they return #BackToBusiness during these challenging times. The session topics were selected based on key business areas that owners had expressed interest in learning more about. Our team of innovators has been working closely since April to bring this virtual event to life, and we’re happy to share that it was a success!  

To help you get caught up on the progress of this project, we’ve summarized some interesting facts about this event below: 

It all began with a Co-Creation Sprint 

In April, we brought members of the insurance industry together virtually to ask the question, “How might we come together to support the small business owners in the community?” 

Over the course of 4 afternoons, our innovators worked together using Design Thinking to develop an impactful solution to the challenges small business owners were facing in these difficult times. The team interviewed owners in Canada, the U.S., and Bermuda to understand the challenges in depth, and what they learned about was the fear, anxiety, and uncertainty small business owners experienced every day. During these interviews, the team uncovered a common challenge — while many owners sought vital information to develop their reopening strategy, such as Financial Planning, Marketing, and Insurance Coverage, very few of them were able to access expert knowledge due to budget constraints and lack of accessibility.  

The solution: Make the information accessible at no cost, truly from the core of supporting the community! 

We received truly generous support from the industry 

There’s a reason we call them Summit Partners, and not Sponsors! The entire event was organized by volunteers, promoted by Partners, and hosted by expert speakers looking to give back to the community. We’d like to give a special shout-out to Kasia Kraszewska, Nancy Kwan, and Marcel Hegglin for their dedication, support, and enthusiasm throughout the project! 

We’d also like to say a big thank-you to our Partners: 

The community loved it! 

The community shared incredible feedback, thanking our expert speakers for making the information easy to understand and for taking the time to answer questions from our audiences! 

“I appreciate the fact that our speaker was self-taught and candid,” one attendee wrote to us about the session, Build an Online Presence. “As a small business owner, financial resources are precious, and we need a practical approach. He was practical, informative and very helpful in responding to questions. A great presentation and very happy to have attended!” 

“Loved the whole talk,” another attendee shared after the session How to Launch a Product ended. “It was simple, effective and the speaker gave a clear and comprehensive explanation. Very refreshing to listen to her.” 

All of our survey respondents said that the information shared offered value in helping them get back to business. During the event, our registrations more than doubled as more business owners joined to obtain access our live and on-demand sessions! 

There’s more to come 

After the positive response we received, the team decided to continue to support the community by offering more live and on-demand sessions in the coming months! We’re excited to share that we already have expert speakers lined up on topics such as Cybersecurity and Legal, thanks to our newest Partners — more on this soon! 

There’s still time to join this community support initiative; click here to become a Back to Business Partner! 

Curious about the next phase of the Back to Business Summit project? Click here to subscribe to our newsletter and follow us on LinkedInFacebookTwitter, and Instagram for updates! 

Community, Collaboration, Co-Creation

A few weeks back we ran a sprint focusing on Innovating to Save Community Businesses During COVID -19. Clearly, the word Community is in the title, as a reminder of what we stand for at Cookhouse Labs: Building a community, connecting with a community, taking care of our community. In essence, Cookhouse Labs takes us back to what insurance is all about – community.  

During our sprint, we interviewed small business owners, and what we heard from them was how stressful, scary, and frustrating this current situation is for them, which is no surprise; we expected similar words. Even though entrepreneurs are used to uncertainty and sometimes thrive and use uncertainty as a motivator, the current level of this uncertainty is even higher and scarier than usual as a result of the COVID-19 lockdown, which has resulted in a tremendous impact on their immediate families, their teams, and the families of every employee involved.  

Empathy is our compass during our process and our journey, as it is the key ingredient for our methodology. Listening to our personas, we identified the current level of fear, stress, and worry. It is one thing to KNOW that there is such an impact; is another thing to SEE and FEEL the impact as the team heard the words and saw the expressions on the faces of the owners we interviewed.  

So, what lessons did we takeaway?  

The current situation is creating an environment of: 

  • Confusion – People are not sure what to do next, since no one knows how long the lockdown will be in effect; 
  • Frustration – Everyone is feeling stuck because, again, not knowing when the business will be running again, there nothing or little an owner can do or plan; 
  • Loneliness – Many people are feeling alone and isolated, as if they are only ones feeling stuck or confused; 
  • Fear – Owners worry about what will happen to their businesses. For all of them, this is their passion, and for some of them, their longtime dream 

The biggest takeaway was seeing their reactions as the team interviewed them. For many business owners, it appeared as if it was the first time someone took time to really listen to how they felt and how this is impacting their life. Even more important, it was the first time someone asked them, “What do you need? How can we support you?”  

The sprint team did an amazing job at connecting to their human side and empathizing with each person they interviewed, truly feeling their real emotions.  

As the result, the team defined a solution: Providing a virtual space that can be available for these small business owners quickly, while they need it, at no cost to them. It’s a solution that provides them with the feeling that they are not alone and that someone does have their back. Who? The insurance industry, specifically the insurance members that participated in the sprint.  

So, stay tuned and keep coming back to learn more about this virtual space: What it is, how it will be created and how YOU can be part of it, if you wish. Meanwhile, this sprint is moving on to a Phase II. At Cookhouse Labs, Phase II means, we are moving forward from ideation and testing to bringing the idea to life.  Click here to find out how you can join Phase II!

We would love to say thank you to those business owners that were happy to share their time and stories during the sprint. And we invite you, our community members, to learn more about those businesses whose owners were comfortable with sharing details about their companies. Links are listed below, so pay them a visit!  

Thank you to our business owners – check out their pages and share if you feel inspired to do so! #CommunitySupport 

Jessica Ash 
Pristine Services 
Whatsapp: 289-380-6900

Raquel Furbert 
Blueprint Hair Studio  
FB: Blueprint Hair Studio
Instagram: @bphairstudio 

#MakeInsuranceBetter with InsurTech Startups

How can insurance organizations successfully collaborate with InsurTech Startups to accelerate innovation?

While an increasing number of organizations are investing in these collaborations, the success of these initiatives is fairly low. We know that there are many insights large organizations can gain from InsurTech startups, and our most recent Sprint aimed to create a long-term win-win solution for both groups.

Over the first two days of the project, the team focused on empathizing with both sides. The team interviewed a corporate Mastermind and 3 InsurTech Startups, and each innovator brought their own experience of working with Startups to the project. Through these interviews, the team discovered many pain points for Startups, as shown below.

During the interview analysis, the team realized that all of the Startups frequently spoke about one pain point – the issue of time wastage. As one Founder shared, “It can often take 1 month between the first email request for a meeting and the actual in-person meeting”. Some of the reasons cited for this issue were

1) Not being connected to the right person

2) Delayed responses

3) Bureaucracy, which required booking a meeting room instead of a phone call to communicate

On the third day, the team used the Design Thinking methodology to establish an empathy map, which helped them visualize the thoughts and feelings of these Startups. Equipped with this deeper understanding, they defined a persona – Betty, a recent graduate and InsurTech Startup Founder. The team mapped out Betty’s journey, where she attempted to connect and collaborate with large insurance organizations. Next, they created a “How Might We” statement: “How might we identify the right decision makers to speed up the process of collaboration, improving Betty’s experience?”

Within 5 minutes, the innovators produced 26 ideas for solutions to this challenge. Together, they decided on the winning solution – a dedicated committee of decision makers. This solution was further developed on the fourth day and presented to the community via an interactive presentation. The team invited the audience to share their insights through a poll after the presentation, which opened the floor for a discussion around the future of collaboration between InsurTech Startups and large insurance organizations.

A big thank-you to the participants, Masterminds, and community members for sharing their time with us during this exciting project!

As we continue our Virtual Events calendar into June, we would like to invite you to check out our upcoming trainings and events. These events are free for members of the re/insurance community, as part of our gift during these challenging times.

We look forward to seeing the community at our upcoming events as we continue to collaborate to #MakeInsuranceBetter!