Filiz Sarah Gärtner

Meet our CODE_n CONTEST Finalists 2016: Community Life from Germany

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Not a lot of people like to deal with insurance issues. A fact, of which the team of Community Life was aware of, too. Reason enough for the Frankfurt based FinTech to design really easy to understand key protection products that people can get completely online. Founder Claudia Lang (Phd) told us more about the idea behind Community Life.

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Dr. Claudia Lang

Claudia, what is Community Life GmbH all about? How did you come up with the idea?

Claudia: I was on the board of a life insurance company, so know the industry from the inside. What I saw more and more was that people are not happy with insurance companies. They know that the right insurance protection can be important, but they would prefer going to the dentist to filling out an insurance application. They think: “I can’t understand it, so I can’t trust it, all that paper stuff and then the insurance salesman monopolising my couch.” So we decided to tackle all of that and make it better. That is why we designed really easy to understand key protection products that people can get completely online. Customers have a secure portal on which they can change information about their policies and see their entire transaction history, including phone calls and chats. And we disclose how we earn our money because openness is an important part of trust.

Last but not least, the years I have spent in the industry have made me realise that insurance and charity are cousins. That is why we donate a part of our annual revenues for charity purposes, including any hardship cases in our insurance community. Our customers call the shots on where the money goes.

“Digital Disruption“ – that’s the motto of this year’s CODE_n CONTEST. What makes your solution innovative, what makes it disruptive?

Claudia: Nobody else has designed and implemented a completely online life insurance process for term life and disability products. Nobody else has really simplified these products by using short sentences and no insurance jargon.

We also got rid of the usual gross/net price offer for customers. Companies attract people with a low net price offering that can be increased to the gross price anytime over the policy term. That is not our idea of fair for the customer. So we offer a fixed price to give people planning certainty.

We have also divided up the insurance value chain in a new and disruptive way to benefit the customer. Our insurance partner(s) carry the technical insurance risk, while we focus on designing and implementing digital convenience and fairness for the customer. By consistently putting the digital customer at the center of things, we are building up an online insurance community for which we can negotiate the best possible deals from insurance companies. We are effectively bundling purchasing power for consumers like commercial brokers do for commercial clients.

You’re one of the 13 finalists in the Applied FinTech contest cluster. Which challenges do you think young companies have to face in this sector? How do you handle these challenges?

Claudia: Well, what is sexy about the financial sector, and particularly insurance? There are lots of other services that excite people a lot more. At the same time, I don’t believe that making insurance exciting, assuming it were possible, is the way to go. We need to engage and at the same time reassure that we will be there when the customer needs us because he has a claim. So finding the right balance between a message of innovation and a message of security is important. We are building new brands in an industry in which customer trust is a key factor.

There is also the challenge of big enterprise contagion. As soon as you co-operate with a traditional player in the market, your agility may be at risk if your partner does not understand and support how you operate.

From car to homeowner’s insurance, disability or life insurance, for customers, there are endless options out there, not all of which might be essential. Do you also help when someone wants to figure out what’s right for them? Can they keep the insurances they already have – and does this work with any insurance company out there?

Claudia: We decided to offer essential protection products – products that consumer associations generally recommend – namely term life and disability. We then built these products to be top of class in terms of what they offer. We wanted to make sure that you could not go wrong if you choose a Community Life product. The products have received terrific ratings, so we believe that we’ve done that job right. And if you want to know how much cover you need, either as a first cover or a top up on existing insurance, we have an entertaining online tool that helps you. Or if you prefer speaking to someone, advice from a trained insurance specialist is just a click away. When I read the customer reviews we get on eKomi, I think we must be doing something right.

Thanks so much for the interview, Claudia!

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