Creativity is missing in the Financial Service market today, most especially in the world of Insurance, with the knock on effect that ‘the majority are unprepared for the unexpected’. Research from Bright Grey, recently published in their annual Financial Safety Net report, found that 60% of the adult population say they do not have any financial protection in place should the worst happen. This is backed up by L&G data that shows the average UK household has just 19 days worth of savings and financial provisions should an individual be unable to work.

So why are so many huge Companies with thousands of clever staff failing to motivate potential customers to save and insure? I think one of the reasons is a lack of innovation as the company focus turns towards the processes and management levels that evolve to accommodate greater size.

Bryan Pearce, who directs Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year competition, hits the nail on the head:

The challenge is to balance the spirit that got them started with the corporate culture they’ve had to evolve as they’ve grown

He continues,

They need to find a balance where you don’t become too corporate and still have people who think entrepreneurially

Unfortunately as companies grow and enjoy success they institutionalise various functions and settle down into comfortable routines. Whereas they should be working out how to retain that flow of new ideas at the same time as managing business as usual. They need to do much more than just ‘re-innovate their existing products’; they need to branch out into new services, discover new business models, adopt business process modernisation and, in general, keep up the pace of creativity on all fronts. Forward-thinking CEOs understand that innovation should be part of the DNA of their business, just like listening and being close to customers.

Take an example of the Bright Grey research – 43% of those without insurance said cover is too expensive. In most instances I would disagree as life and critical illness insurance can easily be tailored to meet most restricted budgets by reducing cover or term. Multi-benefit products have been designed for just that purpose so why are these not being presented on-line, where customers do their research, in ways that help them understand?

Granted, it takes a lot of leadership and courage to invest when there is no guaranteed pay off – but investing in the right technology will certainly help. Introducing a new idea does not have to put business as usual at risk. Agile software is designed to allow a test, learn and adapt approach. If we are ever to do anything about the ‘protection gap’ and re-engage people with the need to save, new ideas are desperately needed. History has proved that you can’t stay a successful brand without re-inventing yourself.