3 golden nuggets from a designer working in insurance
This year, I decided to make my own “2022 wrapped” career-wise. I thought to share my thoughts as a Product Designer working in insurance (Bowtie) for the past 1.5 years.
1. Utilise your tools as much as you can to understand a problem.
Insurance is a tricky domain which could take more than a year to fully comprehend. Every day is a new lesson learned everyday for me. That being said, it’s important to really take time to understand the problem at hand. As designers, we are equipped with a handful of tools or methods to frame a problem so don’t be afraid to use them!
At Bowtie, my projects normally entail automating processes whereby I’m required to use service design and systems thinking skills to understand the end-to-end flow. Service design because they involve work online and offline. Systems thinking as one step in itself is a system part of a much larger, complex system affecting numerous other functions.
Often there are times when I struggle to understand a problem involving a complex process even after a series of calls with stakeholders. As a designer, I realize that I have the upper hand in using what I learned to accelerate the discovery process. So I schedule another 30–45 min call with the relevant stakeholders. But before this call, I make sure to prepare the following:
- Craft a simple user flow of the current process and my proposed flow on Miro based on my understanding
- Prepare screenshots of the screens that appear in the process or are affected by the problem
- Quickly sketch a draft of the solution I plan to propose
- Comment your questions on the steps you do not understand on the Miro board for stakeholders to see
- Share the link to the Miro board with stakeholders in advance
This quick preparation has not only helped us visualize the end-to-end flow but also given me a headstart in getting feedback on my proposed solution in just a span of 30–45 mins. Through this method, I’ve been fortunate to have had a ton of efficient meetings in the discovery process.
2. Cleaning up and documenting your work is just as important as delivering it well.
Insurance processes are already complicated as is. If you want to influence other stakeholders with your design process, make sure your work is readable and organized. In the past year working as a designer, I’ve noticed numerous encounters where an engineer or marketer would refer to a customer journey map to help them understand a problem. This is a chance to show others that your design process does work. If a file is not readable at a glance, the reader will give up and eventually ask you to explain it all over again which only wastes time.
To avoid this, you can try the following with your team (WIP):
- Develop a standard language for user flows, customer journey maps, Notion docs templates, etc.
- Collaborate with your team to categorise the files so they are easy to find
- Document why the file exists in the first place: what was the problem, when was it created, who’s the author, etc
3. Insurance is an exciting industry to design for.
Insurance literally concerns life and death. It is abstract and not a physical product. How do you as a designer gain the trust of customers to protect them until their last breath? How can you turn a concept so abstract into something easy for customers to understand? It’s no doubt a challenging area to solve as a designer which only makes it a constant learning journey.
To make things more complicated, the majority of insurance processes are manual involving numerous stakeholders from sales agents, underwriters, claim officers, financial underwriters, finance guys, and much more especially if it's in a traditional insurance company. Such processes often mean thousands of Excel sheets that need updating. This only opens a vast area of opportunities to automate the process to not only make business workflows more productive but also improve the day-to-day lives of these people. What used to be a 2-day process can easily turn into a 10 mins workflow with the help of service design and systems thinking! 🤯
Personally, it is through these projects I truly feel the impact of my work as a designer.