As I sat in the ornate board room of one of America’s largest insurance companies, I heard the same excuses I had since I started in insurance as a teenager: change is scary and hard, and it’s better to not rock the boat. It always made my heart sink, stomach drop, and skin crawl.
I remember when I was young and chose this industry – so excited to help people on their worst day, being there for people when life’s tragedies strike. And, as I thought to myself in those days, what was even better, the insurance industry had plenty of interesting and great problems to solve. New technologies were changing the way consumers were purchasing everything from groceries to apartments. New car models were helping people avoid accidents. New data sources were able to provide insights never before seen – what a perfect place to be to really make an impact!
So how did I end up in a board room talking about political capital, dying business models, and being told we had to be realistic (i.e., do nothing) about new technologies, all the while watching our customer satisfaction rates, profits, and revenues decline? More importantly, what was I going to do about it?
I decided enough was enough. Consumers weren’t getting a fair shake and I knew it.
After about 100 of those conversations, I decided enough was enough. Consumers weren’t getting a fair shake and I knew it. I will never forget the first time I learned the amount of money wrapped up in executive compensation, mass marketing, and agent commissions. Why were consumers tolerating this, especially when they weren’t tolerating it in any other industries?. Amazon had turned retail upside-down. Uber was revolutionizing the taxi cab industry. But insurance hadn’t changed one bit. They were still blasting TV ads every chance they got, increasing the cost of a product that is a basic need for most Americans. Those that weren’t blasting TV ads everywhere were instead paying insurance agents ridiculous amounts of money to compete with the air time. Executives were still taking home some of the largest paychecks of any industry. Worst of all, this was being done with a complete disregard to declining customer satisfaction rates.
To top it all off, there was the “pricing strategy”. None of our customers knew how we were determining their prices and that was lucky for us! We’d gradually increase our customers’ prices over time, regardless of if they had losses or not. We figured we could “boil the frog slowly” and no one would notice. The last thing we were worried about was reasonable rates – give us your credit score, and a little basic information and that was good enough for us. It didn’t matter at all how good of driver you actually were, so long as we could get you in the door, then slowly price gouge you.
So, I took a bold (and probably crazy) move and quit my cozy corporate job and started an insurance company. It was going to be different this time. We were going to build a company that did right by the consumer. We would leverage new technology to make sure we were always giving consumers a fair price and the proper coverage, without them having to worry about being swindled later. We also weren’t going to bombard them with ads – something they hate and that was needlessly increasing prices for everyone.
And that’s exactly what we’ve built here at Root. It’s been a long, arduous journey and we aren’t done yet. We know we’ve created something exceptional.
We’re refreshingly simple and are the first insurance company that gives you the price you deserve. Download the app and try it out; it’s incredibly easy.