We keep hearing and seeing the yelps about how “incumbent” and “legacy” carriers and their systems just won’t budge and that they are reluctant to innovate (myself included in on the yelping). We are listening to frustrated insurtech startup companies complaining that these carriers don’t know what’s best for them and that they are not understanding the immense opportunities that they are passing up.

For those on the outside, we all seem to be a bit confused as to why adoption of insurtech builds are not more ubiquitous considering the very reasonable price points for the technologies being built, the heavy consumer pressure, and the pressure to keep up with the amazons, the ubers and the CVSs. And now even the… McDonald’s.

…but, perhaps behind this broad lack of faith in carriers that have been successfully running Fortune 500 businesses for over 200 years, there is a silent, slow and methodical process of innovation happening right under our very noses. Perhaps, they have been observing, listening and understanding this whole time. Perhaps the leg they have up on the rest of us is that they know their history, their deep processes and the AI-driven data systems that they have had in place for much longer than any of us are considering.

On March 21st, Travelers launched its very own personal insurance product that is a first-of-its-kind coming from a legacy carrier. Travelers is the 2nd largest writer of U.S. commercial P&C insurance and 3rd in personal insurance through an independent agent distribution channel. It was founded in 1853 in St. Paul, MN (Go Wild!) with a total revenue of $28.9 billion today and works with over 14,000 independent agents.

So, what is so different about this personal insurance product?

What’s different is that this massive carrier with over 34,500 employees observed what other corporations were doing to meet their customers’ personal needs and expectations, they listened to what insurance customers expect from carrier innovations in policyholder experiences and convenience, and they saw the opportunity to increase customer acquisition and engagement through a change of pace and technology.

The difference is that Travelers jumped through the right hoops and landed at a completely groundbreaking digital product that caters to a specific demographic in need of such a product. Travelers has mastered the art of customer centricity, my friends. And this product is called Traverse. Go to the website, and wow. They have done everything right.

Beth Maerz, VP of customer experience and innovation for Travelers personal insurance tells us that, “the policies are sold online, optimized so that the entire policy lifecycle can be handled via mobile.”

How did they do it?

“Travelers assembled a small, agile team with technologists and business-side members to bring the concept to market in eight months. The team was integrated and interactive, creating hypotheses around the product and testing as they went along,” Maerz says. “We wanted an experience that was transparent about what they’re buying, and could be serviced entirely on a mobile device.”

Sounds like a pretty familiar process…

How did they come up with the idea for Traverse?

“We looked at it and saw many [millennials] are upwardly mobile, they have financial assets, and they need to understand liability coverage,” Maerz notes. “Traverse’s goal is to target millennials who are deferring traditional asset ownership in favor of renting and investing in experiences, traditional rental insurance products didn’t meet these customers’ needs,” she explains.

Traverse is proof that the insurance industry really is changing and innovating.

“There’s the consumer-driven trends, there’s changes going on with the assets we insure, there’s changes in the home with the Internet of Things, and there’s new technologies that are available to change the experience for our customers and agents,” Maerz concludes. “What’s great is that there are many things to take advantage of.”

Disruption approved.

Traverse, its site, its branding, and its internal teams certainly make, at least me, question my frustrations with how long it is taking legacy carriers to turn their internal ships toward innovation and technology. Perhaps it just takes a bit longer to transform from the inside out. Either way, its here and its happening.


Beth Maerz quotes from the Digital Insurance article by Nathan Goila: