Empowering microinsurance agents to provide life protections in Upper Egypt
Gulf Insurance Group needed help from FairVentures to solve microinsurance distribution problem in Upper Egypt, where the idea of microinsurance is still foreign. A design sprint was done to solve these problems resulted in three successful main features, including product source of truth, client stories, and client profile. In addition, research on Arabic localization was also done and implemented. The project received positive feedback from user testing. Then it was handed off for phase 2 to the stakeholders.
The lack of distribution and knowledge of microinsurance
The concept of insurance in the suburbs of third world countries are still novel, yet they probably need it more than people who have extensive access to it. The big problem with insurance is it tends to be expensive and is not an easy concept to understand. Microinsurance is a solution to this cost problem. Microinsurance is insurance products that offer coverage to low-income households with a significantly low premium. However, there are distribution and educational problems of microinsurance, especially in Upper Egypt. These ranges from the lack of insurance knowledge of the potential customers to the availability of microinsurance in a certain area.
To build, sustain, and nurture trusted microinsurance agents
So FairVentures were tasked to build, sustain, and nurture trusted microinsurance agents to offer insurance protection to their network of family, friends and clients which lead to increase risk protection for low to middle-income segments in Upper Egypt. We then summarize our goal in a question:
“How might we digitally enable insurance agents to identify needs and distribute defined service(s) to their prospective clients?”
GV Design Sprint
Defining focus and brainstorming solutions
A Google Venture design sprint was done to brainstorm solutions to the problem. To narrow down the scope of the project we focused on an insurance agent as our target persona and selling as the target event. The insurance agent incentives are to obtain commissions, community involvement and support, and grow client base. They have also sold microloans, a similar concept to microinsurance but for loans, thus they already have an existing client base and know-how to interact with the potential clients.
We went through the ideation process from research, crazy 8s, to storyboarding. We ended up wanted to prototype an app that facilitates insurance agent to sell microinsurance. This app includes several features such as product information, stories, and client profile.
GV design sprint storyboard we conducted
I also did research on Arabic localization to effectively and efficiently design for Upper Egyptian user, which includes language, pattern, and cultural context.
Reading pattern and cultural context
Arabic readers reading pattern on Arabic sites mirrors the F-shaped reading pattern. When choosing images, it’s crucial to not fall into using common stereotypes (choose images specific to the targeted region).
Mirrored F-shaped reading pattern
UIs for languages that are read from right-to-left (RTL), such as Arabic, should be mirrored to ensure content is easy to understand. However, not all components are mirrored and that is because of the pattern they have developed.
For example, on the navigation bar above, the navigation order is mirrored. Some icons, such as Stories and Products icons are mirrored. Even though either icon doesn't communicate direction explicitly, it does hold a direction. For Stories icon, if you open iMessage or WhatsApp in Arabic, the chat “bubble” is mirrored due to reading pattern/direction. For Products icon, the icon resembles a list with bullet points; and in Arabic, lists and bullet points are also mirrored due to Arabic reading pattern/direction. Clients and More icons don’t need to be mirrored as they don’t communicate any direction. But what about Tracking icon? Yes, the icon communicates direction, but it communicates a graph or trend direction. Graphs are not mirrored even in Arabic thus the icon does not need to be mirrored.
Product line - Products source of truth
The product line feature is the products source of truth to obtain details. This feature lists all the product lines that the agents can sell with description and all the necessary information. For the main list view, I consulted with the stakeholders on what is the most important information for the agent to sell. The top three main information is coverage limit, price, and insurance name, which then I surfaced it in the main product list.
Microinsurance product list and page
Stories - Utilizing empathy to educate clients
The stories feature provides agents with materials to utilize empathy to educate clients about microinsurance. By using other clients’ stories, it helps potential customers to empathize and understand the concept of microinsurance. The stories help to educate the potential customers about microinsurance and why it’s important for them, how realistically can microinsurance help people when something unexpected happens.
Microinsurance clients' story page
Client profile - Contextual information
The client profile is the place where agents can obtain or write information about the clients. The client profile works similarly as contact information found in any mobile OS. It contains the client’s phone number and address, also, there are fields for the client’s personal details like family members, religion, and client’s microinsurance related information. This will benefit the agents by allowing them to record client context information. The client profile is necessary to separate work and personal, also provide details specific to the product context.
Microinsurance client profile page
Validations, feedback, and learning
We developed guidelines and scripts for interview testing with the microinsurance agents in Upper Egypt with the stakeholders. From the testing, we gained validations, feedback, and learning. The story feature is very desirable as it helps the customer to empathize with other people. The product information and client profile features are really helpful on the insurance agent end. It helps them to keep track of their client and the products available. Overall, the prototype was successful and received positively by the agents.
In addition, through the user testing experience, we learnt some dos and don’ts of user interview and testing in Egypt.
- Ask the participant whether they’re comfortable to be recorded or not
- Expect some women are not comfortable to be recorded (cultural)
- Have an outside translator to translate recording to reduce biases (he/she tends to translate word per word as the translator has little knowledge about the project)
- Doing user interviews and testing during Ramadhan may slow down your overall time
- Overcrowding the room with people, especially with men when interviewing a woman can create an uncomfortable environment
Learning and Next Step
Story feature is really valuable
From our testing, participants (microinsurance agent) agreed that stories had played a big role in their career and they found that this story feature is really valuable. The client profile is crucial for guardians to recall information about the clients. In addition, the kind of information within the client profile should be explored more through questionnaires or interview with the microinsurance agents.