Unless playing the board game Life, most millennials probably haven’t given life insurance much thought.
But for the past few months, a group of student interns at Creighton University’s RaD Lab have been working steadily on a task from a life insurance company on how best to interest young people in what is otherwise one of those staid harbingers of adulthood.
Last fall, a life insurance company asked 145 groups, almost all tech companies, to come up with their best ideas for pitching life insurance to millennials. The company also asked one group in higher education: Creighton, and its RaD Lab.
Of the 145 ideas submitted, Creighton’s was one of 27 selected to have representatives come to the company's New York headquarters on Feb. 21 and pitch before the company’s leadership.
With partner Canon Solutions America, RaD Lab intern and Creighton senior Nye Fong and Rad Lab innovation analyst Jordan Boetcher will have 10 minutes and a five-minute question-and- answer period to sell their idea to executives and the company’s board.
Fong, Boetcher, Creighton senior Josh Nichols and Mark Panning, a RaD Lab information technology manager, along with other RaD Lab student interns operating in a think tank, collaborated on the creation of the Envisage Estimator, an interactive application that allows users to estimate the occurrence of major life events and think about budgeting for them, with an idea of how life insurance could play in the mix.
“We joke about it, but looking back, we did design it sort of like the game of Life,” Fong said. “It’s not just a simple calculator, but it allows you to push and pull a little bit and think about how and when events are going to unfold. You can think about what happens if you get married at this point or go back to school at another point and what the costs are and what different levels of services are there.”
Indeed, the application is built around what Nichols styled “an interactive life feature” — a timeline onto which you can pull different icons at different periods and determine a budget, with what level of life insurance could be needed. The life events mirror those found on the Life board game.
“Dependents, education, marriage, housing, income, changing jobs,” Nichols said. “It’s all there. We think it’s pretty simple and quick to use, which was a main draw.
“We found that people don’t want to be tied down to entering their email or a phone number,” he said. “They want to play with it and get information that’s useful, that they can think about. It’s a general budget tool that also provides you with an idea of what life insurance would cost you, given the other factors.”
Fong and Nichols hope the interactive nature of the app and its echo of the board game will provide the company with the main inroads the company is trying to make: showing the millennial generation that life insurance is something to think about, even now.
Of the 27 different teams who will present to the company leadership, eight will be selected to return to New York in May and make a final demonstration in a competition like that found on the television show “Shark Tank.”
The leadership will then use a rubric to judge each presentation and levy its decision on the final eight by the close of the day.
Creighton’s offering is mostly a web-based program, but they are building it so that it could be accessed from mobile devices, too. The multiple platform availability, along with the savvy interactivity and slick presentation have Nichols and Fong hopeful to take that next step.
“I think they’ll find we’ve given them something that’s interesting, Fong said.” We were pretty confident in being asked as the only university getting a shot at this.”