My job is to create a great user experience for our product, which is digital recreational boating insurance. Wait, are you yawning already? Please, stick with me here, I promise it gets better.
When it comes to insurance, digital or otherwise, the word “fun” doesn’t immediately come to mind. Buying insurance is important! It’s the smart thing to do, it’s responsible, it’s something we all really need to take care of. However, if you’re like me, you want the process to be as fast and painless as possible. Tell me exactly what information I need to provide, how much it’s going to cost me and keep it simple. Because - to be quite honest, what we all really want to do is to put the administrative tasks behind us and to get out there on the water to have fun.
As a university student I studied communications and political science. I started out working in communications, but pretty quickly I discovered that my real passion is in the area of digital. So I signed up for a webmaster course and truly enjoyed my job as webmaster for a technical education program. With everything that I approached, I always kept the customer’s point of view in front of me when thinking about the digital experience. Creating the optimal user interface is so important, because if you don’t get it right, there are other competitors out there, and the vigilant customer will simply look elsewhere.
During the past fifteen years I was Head of Product Activities and the User Experience (UX) in various industries, including telecommunications and gaming. I had some super interesting challenges as we created new products for international markets, and I was even asked to relocate with my family to Gibraltar for 5 years. My wife and our 2 kids had some amazing experiences there. In gaming, for example, one of the goals is to keep the user engaged in the digital platform for as long as possible. The more time that the user spends on the website, the better it is for everyone.
However, in insurance it’s not that way. In fact, for the insurance customer it’s exactly the opposite. When it comes to creating the best UX for buying insurance, less is more. Less time on our website means more value and a better experience for the customer. The process must be efficient and user friendly while still meeting the regulatory requirements of the insurance industry. That means knowing what information is important to collect from the beginning and diving quickly into the subject at hand.
So, let’s go back to the very beginning: I heard about Ahoy! through a friend, who introduced me to the Ahoy! CEO Amit Nisenbaum. I felt an immediate “click” and knew that the fundamental goals and beliefs of this creative initiative could provide a strong synergy with my previous experience. I loved the idea of being able to create something which is altogether new, more or less from scratch. I was also attracted to the business model and the new insuretech arena. And then, when I met the rest of the Ahoy! team it felt so right, and I knew that yes, this is a place where I want to be!
Ahoy! is a different kind of insurance company. Living up to our brand promise means more than just saving the customer time. We must also stand out by offering unique features and services. Our mobile application, for example, includes safe navigation capabilities which alert the boater of imminent risk of hitting ground. That’s so important in my eyes!
As Ahoy!’s VP of Product, my focus right now is all about optimizing the conversion funnel, creating the path from a prospective customer visiting our landing page to choosing to become a policy holder. Once a customer lands on our website, they need to immediately understand who we are, what we do, what is our added value, and the steps required to obtain a policy. If we are missing any of these elements, chances are the user won’t be converted into a paying customer.
Next, we have to make sure the journey itself is smooth, simple and fast in terms of the overall user experience. Starting from the system performance, for example, the movement between pages needs to be fast and seamless. Loading time should be minimal. It should be clear what we are asking for during the different stages of the funnel, what kind of details to fill in and exactly how to do it quickly.
The user also needs to understand their current position in the process. There is a continuous feedback system guiding the user to move from point A to Z in minimal time, without getting stuck due to confusion or technical reasons. At the end of the day, it’s a task: you need to buy a policy. And I need to make sure that it will be a super simple experience without compromising on accuracy.
One of the main areas where we need to get it right is in designing the interface for our specific customer. It’s important to understand the persona, the way they use digital products and the type of interfaces or products they are used to. You need to come with the right approach in order for the target customer to actually use the product.
We also put a lot of care into engaging with our customers after the insurance policy is issued, creating features that provide continuous value throughout the lifecycle of the relationship with the customer. Our unique Safe Navigation feature, for example, provides real-time safety alerts that can warn the boater of a submerged obstacle or other potential risk. Another example of a product feature we offer is insuring your mobile phone while onboard or in the marina. That is so important! So here and now!
In my spare time, my biggest passion is to create new things. I love inventing! I love to create new furniture from obsolete items that other people no longer find a use for. An example of this is in several of my recent projects creating a table from an old bicycle and creating lighting fixtures from vintage motorcycle headlights. I’ve also created bar furniture from some scrap wood and other recycled materials. In addition, I even love to photograph (and sell) some of those creations, so check out my IG page if you’re curious to see more.
In the same line, I also love to start from scratch and create things that are entirely new - with all of my heart - just to let go and be super creative! That’s what brings me back around to my work at Ahoy! In my professional work at Ahoy! I'm lucky to be working in an industry that gives me the opportunity to create something new in the digital world. In a way, I see a parallel between my creative hobbies and creating a new digital insurance experience. I select the best elements of the “old” and use them to design something that is new, innovative and provides superior value.