VouchForMe is a European ‘insuretech’ start-up. Their innovative blockchain product and novel approach towards trust, and the power of social connections, has the potential to completely disrupt the consumer insurance market.
How it works
Customers can leverage their social networks by vouching for one another, underwriting the insurance risk and lowering their premiums as a result. The leadership team at VouchForMe approached Further for help in developing and fine-tuning their proposition for the UK market.
We knew that VouchForMe’s blockchain product and social proof-based concepts were right for the UK market. The idea got a lot of traction with the blockchain and business community as well. But when we started designing and creating our ‘go-to-market’ strategy we realised we needed to test our assumptions from the stand-point of UK consumers. Is our value proposition clear? Are we really aiming at the right audience? We were seeking a local UK research partner
that would support us to find out what we needed to know. Further were a perfect fit.
Lučka Čokl Preis CMO, VouchForMe
Our research design required an online research community with 30 carefully selected consumers. This forum enabled us to quickly task and probe to find out what we needed to know. Hosted on our Together™ platform, we designed activities that surfaced people’s complex attitudes towards trust, risk, friendship and family – and how these intersect with attitudes to money. We also combined a range of individual and group discussions, surveys, heat mapping exercises, projective techniques and media related tasks including video responses.
The leadership team at VouchForMe observed the community in real-time, which in turn enabled our research team to quickly probe and deep-dive interesting topics as they surfaced. This approach resulted in response and engagement rates of around 90%.
Dr Marie-Claude Gervais, Director of Research at Further, explains: “We wanted to understand the subtle and complex attitudes people have towards
trust, money and social relationships. How far do they trust people? With how much money, and under what circumstances? And for what purposes? What do they think about harnessing trust between friends and family to reduce the cost of insurance premiums? We found that the concept of using social connections
to reduce the cost of insurance is extremely popular, especially for younger people. We identified where demand is highest and advised on how to take the
proposition to market in the most effective way.”
Through the study, we quickly learned that there is undeniable demand for the concept of harnessing trust to reduce insurance premiums in the UK market, though not as originally envisaged by VouchForMe. Unlike in other markets, friendship groups are not the sweet spot for this disruptive and innovative product because of a widespread reluctance to mix money and friendship. However, parents and grandparents of children of driving age showed considerable enthusiasm for the idea of involving relatives in sharing the cost of insurance.
Lowering insurance cost was the main motivation
The main motivation is the appeal of lowering the cost of premiums, especially among young and inexperienced drivers whose premiums are extremely high despite the fact that they may be deemed ‘safe drivers’. Participants also like the idea of using more personal factors to determine the cost of premiums. They think that current calculations take no account of their actual driving behaviour, while VouchForMe does. Some like the ‘community spirit’ behind the proposition. Many also agreed with the idea that being vouched for would encourage safer driving, as drivers would be keen to avoid having to ask others to pay for their
share of the excess.
This is a good way of reducing car insurance be prepared to vouch for one another. premiums. It is an effective way of showing the insurance company that you are a good driver and are less likely to have an accident as your friends will have volunteered to take part of the responsibility and pay part of the cost. If the
driver knows that their family/friends would have to pay part of the cost, then they might have more incentive to drive with more care.
Blood is thicker than water...
When borrowing money from a friend, decide which one you need more – or so the saying goes. The digitalisation of trust is less appealing among friends. There are deep-rooted attitudes against mixing money with friendship.
We found that family members would be more likely to vouch for one another. Where friends are concerned, it was ‘best friends’ that would be prepared to vouch for one another.
Where relatives are involved, reciprocity is not essential.
Additional challenges we helped to surface
To encourage others to vouch for them, people would need to better understand the benefits for ‘vouchers’ and ‘drivers’. However, of paramount importance was the need to understand the ‘mechanics’ behind VouchForMe, such as: how to sign up, how premiums are calculated and repaid, what reductions they get compared to standard insurance and what happens if a person defaults on their commitment to pay for their share of the excess.
Encouraging people to vouch is always better face-to-face but telephone may be acceptable with some relatives. Taking the proposition to market will also require a multi-prong strategy to disrupt current models of car insurance. The challenge will be to target two very different audiences: those who vouch (parents, those with money) and those who are vouched for (relatives, children, close friends). Young people also expected that they would be able to download a VouchForMe app, from which they would be able to invite friends or relatives to join.
I would expect to be introduced to VouchForMe on all of the comparison sites similar to the other car insurance providers, but ideally in the long term there would
be a tick box for ‘open to other methods of reducing costs’ which would include black boxes etc and, of course, VouchForMe.
VouchForMe is set to make a big impact in the insurance market. They now have proof of concept and a clearly defined proposition and target audience in the UK. We focused on car insurance but there are many other types of insurance, from
home insurance to health insurance, where this model could be applied.
Further really understood the brief and were extremely
proactive. They performed comprehensive research, evolving insight that is proving extremely valuable. We’re very confident that we’re taking the right product and proposition to market at this time.
Lučka Čokl Preis CMO, VouchForMe