Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator 2017 wicket


As New Zealand’s most innovative bank and the main sponsor of the Kiwibank FinTech Accelerator, it was only natural that Kiwibank has their own team on the programme. Sophie, Callum, and Johnathon were approached two weeks before the KFA started to be that team. Between them, they have over 12 years of experience with Kiwibank, and they were all within the perfect age range to participate. Funnily enough, Wicket’s CEO Callum saw the KFA ad pop up in internal Kiwibank comms late last year and thought to himself, “someone’s going to be doing something awesome.” Lucky for us, that someone is him and his team. Sophie, a product analyst, and Johnathon, a customer experience specialist come from the insurance arm of Kiwibank, whilst Callum works in digital product development. Sophie has taken on the role of CTO of Wicket, and Johnathon is head of operations.

Say kia ora to Wicket!

The name itself came from an internal KB Facebook competition. They wanted something Kiwi related and a name that would invoke a sense of protection. If you’re a classic Kiwi, you know that in the game of cricket, wickets are the things you try to protect. So the name also invokes the magic of Kiwiana that everyone in New Zealand grew up with – playing cricket in the backyard, surrounded by friends and family.

The mandate

While the other fintech teams came to us with a business concept, the KB team were given a mandate from the powers that be: KB insurance doesn’t have online channels for applications and that needed to change.

They came into the programme with open minds ready to explore alternative online insurance products while talking to existing KB customers. Just because they’re backed by KB doesn’t mean they’re not subjected to same rigorous demands of the accelerator programme. An hour after their first time at the KFA they had to present their pitch.

Through the help of KB, they’ve been able to use social media to reach out to customers on KB’s Facebook. They may have set out thinking they could make a fast and easy online application that would provide better conversions, but they’ve since changed their tune. They backed up their initial assumption by looking at overseas markets, where innovative insurance companies were providing full online applications. They also looked at other local providers like Pinnacle, BNZ and Sovereign. But after taking the time to validate these assumptions they quickly realised that the application process wasn’t an issue for customers.

So what exactly is the issue? Well, Wicket have come to understand that many New Zealanders don’t even know what life insurance covers, how important it is, or what it costs.

An education

The process up to now has been more customer journey discovery which has helped Wicket to confirm that moments such as taking out a home loan and having children are the key triggers for most people in buying life insurance. Their competitors know it, too. Another thing they’ve learned over the past few weeks is that price is often the main concern for people, particularly those with pre-existing medical conditions.

Due to the lack of understanding around what insurance covers, Wicket plan on helping educate New Zealanders on the importance of insurance products. Here are some of the main problems they’ve identified:

  1. Customer’s cost vs perceived cost: people don’t know how much it actually costs.
  2. People don’t understand how having life insurance benefits them, the knock-on effect or the value.
  3. People’s past personal experience with life insurance (not often positive)
  4. Assumptions that ACC covers illness (it only covers injury)
Target market

Wicket’s target market is broad but they’d like to focus on the younger side 20– 35-year-olds.

When it comes to millennials, they just don’t know that the earlier you get insurance, the better it may be for you in the long run. Many of them know that they need it, but they need a push. Callum thinks this push could be done through the right kind of education (blogs and videos) and making it easier to get in touch with someone who can help. They know what they’re up against: 21-year-olds who might not understand the benefits of getting life insurance. With no kids, no house, and no responsibilities, it’s completely understandable, however, they’re not factoring in that a life insurance policy could protect their parents from a lot of heartbreak and financial woe in the future. After all, if you’re not around while your parents are in retirement, who will take care of them?

It’s personal

According to Callum, life insurance is the most personal product you can buy. This hit home for him a few years ago when one of his friends died suddenly. Before then, by chance they had the insurance conversation – his friend told him they had life insurance and that “people are crazy for not having it”. He believes it’s a selfless type of insurance, which is why he’s insured too, to make sure his partner is taken care of if anything were to happen.

Wicket thinks people are nervous about claims not getting paid out, but Johnathon’s experience has shown often companies will be very lenient. He says there’s been a lot of media attention in Australia about huge decline rates. The Australian insurance providers over there are required to publish these figures, but he thinks this is a bad idea in that it leads to the problem of people being underinsured or simply uninsured.

So they want to create an endearing relationship with customers. Without trust, the value of their insurance product is worthless. They need their customers to trust them. And they’ll get that trust through education, transparency and honesty.

To find out more about Wicket, get in touch.

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