As we near the 500-day mark for Cookhouse Lab, we thought it would be fitting to take a trip down memory lane. Join us as we explore highlights from our first 500 days in a new blog series titled: 500 Days of Innovation. Each installment will explore a different aspect of Cookhouse Lab that has played a key role in our journey so far. First up is ‘Minimum Viable Product; also known as ‘MVP'.

The Cookhouse Lab experience is centered around an accelerated Minimum Viable Product (MVP) creation journey.  On average, project MVPs have been completed between a two to four week period, which is a combined effort of project teams and Cookhouse Lab design and technical teams. So what exactly is an MVP?

An MVP is the most pared down version of a product. It has three primary purposes:

  • Provides enough value to illustrate the buyer/end-user potential
  • Offers a practical (and not abstract) demonstration of the benefits and features of the product/service
  • Creates a feedback loop to guide future development or investment 

To give you a better idea, we are sharing five real and noteworthy MVPs that were generated in 2017 in Cookhouse Lab. 

1. Insurance Loyalty & Rewards

The Problem: Two fold. Insurance companies have difficultly retaining customers.  Meanwhile, consumers have a hard time keeping track (and understanding) policy information, creating a negative customer experience.

The MVP: An insurance focused customer caring mobile application which was named ‘BACON'. 

What makes this MVP stellar?

This app was the output from a 12 week sprint, designed with the end goal of benefiting both the customer and the insurance companies with the following set of features:

  • Centralized platform: This creates a single place to easily manage all of the customer's insurance. New communication channels and data sources (from IoT) enables a better understanding of customers.
  • Digital experience: This engages users through gamification and would incentivize risk mitigating behaviour and reward those who do well.
  • Positive association: This platform focuses on caring and elevating the level of customer experience, which creates a more positive association between the customer and the company, and ultimately supports the goal of a deeper relationship between both parties.
  • Opportunity: creating a better relationship between customers and insurers through open lines of communication that will drive improved customer engagement and loyalty.

The Bonus: The usage of IoT increases data collection which allows for better risk assessment and more tailored product offerings.


Sample screenshots of ‘BACON'

>> Read the full management report: Insurance Loyalty & Rewards

2. Delays in APS

The Problem: Due to the lack of motivation, poor quality data, and a strenuous paper process, it can take up to 60 days to receive an Attending Physician Statement (APS) from doctors on life insurance applicants. This is a frustrating experience for the consumer and causes major delays and subsequent impact in issuing life insurance policies. 

The MVP: A high-fidelity mock-up of a centralized platform for all parties involved with the APS process (applicant, broker, insurer, and the physician) to access, upload and review information, which was nicknamed ‘Road Runner'. 

What makes this MVP stellar?

This platform was created with real input from those involved with the process today, including physicians, insurers, and brokers. Focusing on the two main and current pain points of cost and time, this MVP provides opportunity for all stakeholders to benefit in both categories:

  • APS Cost: Through this digital process, data quality can be improved, which could trigger a 70% reduction in costs to request and process APS documentation.
  • Cycle Time: Understanding the time constraints that physicians face, this new digital process along with a physician bonus incentive program could create a 50-95% reduction in completion time for a full APS request. Underwriters would also benefit with easy access to information, and it's estimated that there could be a 100-400% increase in the number of cases underwritten per day which require an APS. 

Road Runner 1

Sample UW Dashboard screenshot of ‘Road Runner'

>> Read the full management report here: Delays in APS 

3. Drone Insurance – no history, no data, no coverage?

The Problem: The lack of historical data has made it difficult for insurance companies to create new policies, therefore making it impossible for customers to protect themselves when they fly drones. 

The MVP: A two-pronged approach. The first being a community app that focuses on data gathering and social sharing in an effort to create a credible risk model and rating matrix. The second being a standalone one-size-fits-all insurance product that targets the more professional drone pilot audience. 

What makes this MVP stellar?

These MVPs create three main opportunities for the insurance company, while filling a gap that consumers need:

  • New Data Acquisition: The community app creates the opportunity to harness data from drone pilots through gamification. Underwriters will then have more access to policyholder flight data and behavior.
  • Proper Margins: This new data will also help increase accuracy, which allows for charging proper premiums while allowing for usage based discount pricing.
  • Reduced Fraud: With the combination of user data and publicly accessible social media data, fraud can be more easily detected.

The Bonus: Drones are just the latest example of a ‘new risk' that insurance companies can insure. As more new risks pop up, the same principles can be applied as a foundation for a new solution. 

Drone 1

Sample wireframe of community app

>> Read the full management report here: Drone Insurance – no history, no data, no coverage? 

4. The Future of Transportation – Autonomous Vehicles

The Problem: The introduction of AI in vehicles, otherwise known as semi-autonomous cars, is a new product and has a lack of historical data to base new policies off of. This makes it difficult for insurers to determine how they are going to tackle the transition period between human and autonomous driving. 

The MVP: Three different products that will tackle three main issues: lack of data, shifting risk, and the shifting usage of cars. 

What makes this MVP stellar?

This MVP was created during our 12-week sprint with information gathered from over 200 respondents as well as a test-drive in one of the newest semi-autonomous cars at General Motors. The following products were developed as part of a portfolio solution:

  • Discovery and Awareness Portal: Understanding that autonomous vehicles are a newer product that do not necessarily have the best public perception, this portal was created to address the safety concerns of customers by providing a manufacturer agnostic resource where customers are able to learn and experience what it's like to be in an autonomous vehicle.
  • Adaptive Risk Model: As cars gain more and more autonomous features, this adaptive risk model takes into account the transition period where risk is constantly shifting. 
  • Transportation Short Leasing/UBI Application: Uber is not a fad. Short-lease trips will still be popular as cars become more autonomous. This feature is for customers who don't yet own a vehicle but require transportation. It allows the customer to short-lease trips in an autonomous vehicle. 

The Bonus: Upon outlining a sustainable business model with these MVPs,  the final valuation of all of these products was found as a whopping $150MM. 

AV 1

Sample risk model for ‘transition period'

>> Read the full management report here: The Future of Transportation – Autonomous Vehicles

5. Blockchain & Group Benefit Coordination

The Problem: The lack of communication between insurance companies in the group benefit coordination process has created an environment for frequent touch points, manual intervention, and the exchange of duplicate information, which has proven to be inefficient and costly. 

The MVP: A blockchain prototype with both customer and company portals that was built with Hyperledger Fabric on Amazon Web Services (AWS). 

What makes this MVP stellar? 

Hyperledger Fabric is a known blockchain framework that was contributed to by Digital Asset and IBM, and allows for various components to be plug-and-play. AWS provides a secure cloud computing service which provides the necessary database storage. The combination of both of these tools will benefit the group benefit process in two major ways:

  • Time efficiency: This new blockchain prototype eliminates the need to submit the same claim multiple times when covered by multiple providers, which will heavily reduce the amount of time and effort required for customers to get their compensation. 
  • Cost efficiency: This prototype will also benefit secondary insurers. With direct information from the primary insurer, claim information can be trusted, which will eliminate the need for back and forth between both parties. 

Benefit 1

Sample customer portal, claims history view

>> Read the full management report here: Blockchain & Group Benefit Coordination

These are just some of the MVP highlights from last year, and we're ready to create more! Our menu has filled up with amazing projects in both the life and P&C space for the first half of 2018. Check them out and join our innovation journey! Sign up for an upcoming project here: