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05 Sep 17 09:29

The other day, I came across a tragic story about the famous French author and philosopher Anne Dufourmantelle, who drowned while trying to save a child in the Mediterranean.

It was ironic because she often wrote about the importance of taking risks.

"The idea of absolute security — like 'zero risk' — is a fantasy. Being alive is a risk," Dufourmantelle told the French newspaper La Liberation in a 2015 interview.

This time, taking a risk cost her dearly.

But it doesn't matter whether you are putting your life on the line to rescue someone, or you're sitting at home on the couch. We are all born with risk. Whether we choose to recognise it or not, it is with us all the time. Within hours, a perfectly healthy individual can – due to illness or accident – find himself fighting for his life. I know this because I was in this alarming position myself.

During a routine diving expedition with my son, I suddenly couldn't breathe, and knew immediately that something was very wrong. Long story short, I suffered from a rare condition called Immersion Pulmonary Edema (IPE). Unlike drowning, IPE is where you leak fluid from your blood stream into the lungs without aspirating any seawater. You drown from within.

Thankfully, I survived. But during that critical moment, I knew in the back of my mind that my family would be okay. I knew this because I had adequate life insurance.

A windfall of cash couldn't possibly make up for the loss of someone that they loved and relied on. But there was still a mortgage to pay and kids to educate. There were promises made – both publicly and privately – that still needed to be kept.

This is where life insurance comes in. It helps close the gap between the risks inherent in life and the risks we are able to bear.

At iptiQ, we want to make it easier for people to gain peace of mind because – as Dufourmantelle pointed out – just being alive is a risk.

Ultimately, accepting risk is part of accepting life, but there are ways for people to manage that risk and acquire more security and peace of mind. We help our partners deliver insurance products in new and innovative ways. We provide more channels, a simplified underwriting process and a great user experience.

To find out about how you can provide more peace of mind, please visit our website at:

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Location: New York, NY, United States


Duncan Minty - 7 Sep 2017, 9:49 a.m.

Being alive is a risk, and so a key part of life involves engaging with risk and learning from it. That builds experience and expands our horizons. I climbed mountains as a teenager and explored caves as a young man – now I run around forests as an orienteer. Those experiences have enriched me and are part of the family story.

While my digitally savvy daughters will have the same scope of opportunity, will the consequences be the same? I’m not so sure.

I see changes in insurance that point to life and health insurance being harder to obtain or more expensive to buy for those who engage with risk, for example through sports such as diving or caving. I touched on them in this blog post -

There are many innovations happening in insurance at the moment, and it’s a great time to be in the sector, but as I learnt many years ago in my postgraduate degree in science and innovation, not all innovations leave positive legacies.

From my perspective, how insurers engage with the ethical dimensions of data will be as important to the success of the sector as the clever new ideas that are attracting so much attention. As the saying goes, all that intelligence and energy is great, but without integrity, the dangers multiply.

Phil Walker - 7 Sep 2017, 12:03 p.m.

Thank you for sharing your article, Duncan. In the US we have very high degrees of risk selection so we're even further down the path that leads away from social insurance than you are in the U.K. But I thoroughly share your concerns.

I think it is critically important that we use data to streamline processes for customers - what we call "Finding more ways to say yes". We need to avoid creating less insurable populations.

Like your kids, my 18 & 19 year old are exploring the world; sometimes through adventurous activities. Their passions are climbing and mountain biking. While both sports have their risks, they also have substantial long term health benefits.

We are working hard to develop affordable products for the adventurous. Indeed, we should encourage more people to get off the couch and become more active. I am hopeful we will get there.

Will Trump - 7 Sep 2017, 4:52 p.m.

Thanks for your post Phil. Building on Duncan's comment and your reply, do you think it would be a good idea to change our tone to customers when they present a higher risk to the pool than "the average"?

Currently, when a prospective customer reveals to us that they bring a higher risk to the pool (e.g. because of a health condition, family history or even their adventurous activities), I would say that typical insurer's tone takes a turn for the worse. It could be summed up as "oh no… you're not perfectly fit & healthy – this is going to be as cheap as we said… are you sure you want to go ahead?"

Shouldn't we turn this on its head and actually become more and more positive (or "assertive") about their need for life insurance?

Something along the lines of "We're delighted to be able to offer you insurance cover – here is your price. We said that life insurance provides valuable protection, and based on what you've told us about your health and lifestyle, we feel it's all the more relevant to you to get this cover in place"

We actually did run a trial where we tested the first element of this theory (the "positive news" vs. "negative news" message in the revised offer letter) – and we found that it achieved a 4% uplift in take-up of the policies.

Phil Walker - 8 Sep 2017, 12:39 p.m.

Thanks Will. We'll pass this along and give it a try. I can see how that would have potential. Please send any specific script suggestions via email.

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