Empathy, Education, and Expertise

In the past open enrollments, I’ve written about tips, tricks, hacks, and stats about how people can make the best decisions in choosing their insurance.  This year, I’d like to focus on a personal story.

My phone rang last week, and the woman on the other line – audibly distraught and anxious – asked, “I’m looking for health insurance, can you help me?” I’m a licensed insurance broker, and although I don’t work with individual clients, I stayed on the phone to listen.  

She was a woman in her 40-50’s with numerous health issues. Her carrier decided to discontinue the individual plan she was on. She was worried she could no longer get insurance from the same carrier or any other carrier. She was distraught, confused, and concerned because she had medical issues, and her insurance company didn’t want to cover her anymore.  “I didn’t know where to turn, and I just want to speak to someone who understands.”

“Can they deny me because I had a lot of serious health issues?” No. “Are you sure?” Yes. “Double sure?” Yes! “What should I get?” Let’s talk about your doctors and hospitals – at least a Gold if possible. “Can I just call the plan if I know what I want?” Yes!

By listening, I allayed her fears, gained her trust, and improved her confidence in being able to find insurance that is right for her. I ultimately directed her to a licensed broker who could help complete the process.

This phone call reminded me that health insurance is a very personal matter, it goes to the core of a person’s health care security. She needed empathy in understanding the confusion and struggle of what felt like a rejection from the insurance carrier. She needed the expert guidance to help her understand the regulations are working in her favor and she CAN get coverage despite her mounting medical issues. She appreciated the education on her options and the assistance in making the best decision possible.

In my role now as the Founder and CEO of an innovative technology company in the insurance industry, this call was an important and deep affirmation of our purpose and mission. It is NOT to make the best technology for the insurance industry. It is ultimately to transform the experiences humans have in learning about, choosing, and using their insurance. Regardless of the customer segment – either business owners, HR execs, employees, young individuals, over-65 individuals, families – insurance is providing health and financial security for people. That mission requires us to first focus on the human emotions – the anxieties, fears, aspirations, relief, and joy related to their health and then design solutions with empathy (both digitally and with human expertise) to support people during this open enrollment season and year-round.  It is about empowering people to gain the confidence they need to navigate the system, but offer the support and guidance for those who seek it.  

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