The insurance industry must transform its thinking to be more innovative.

Now, you may be thinking, what does a big company like MetLife do to make itself innovative? Isn’t innovation typically the domain of startups? And innovation and insurance - surely the only thing they have in common is their position in the dictionary?

If you’re a bit sceptical about how a big company can win, I understand completely. Even though large companies have these amazing five assets of capital, brand, channels and data – assets that small companies would salivate over – they tend, unfortunately, to screw it up.

Large companies typically stumble by violating these 7 Innovation Rules:

  • They don’t focus on disruptive innovation and instead do incremental innovation. 
  • They don’t change what they reward.
  • They ask people to come up with a breakthrough on borrowed time.
  • They don’t attract new thinking or embrace a change in culture.
  • They ceased empathizing with their customers in areas that go beyond their core.  
  • They don’t aim big enough or give innovation efforts enough time to succeed.
  • They don’t have unwavering support from the very top.

We, at MetLife’s LumenLab, think we will succeed by getting these 7 rules right. 

For us in the insurance industry, we realize that our current engagement model with customers needs fixing, and that Asiafication of Demand means that we need to rethink everything. We’re starting with Asia because Asian consumers are leading the way, spurring innovation that will go global. We are building new businesses, not just improving the existing core. LumenLab is here to future-proof the company, to differentiate MetLife, and to see blind spots. Disrupt or be disrupted, as Josh Linkner famously says.

Through LumenLab, we intend to pioneer new business models and approaches to rewrite the role of insurance in people’s lives and lifestyles. We’re looking at the areas of ageing and health and wellness; going where people’s insights take us, and finding other disruptors with whom we can partner.

By teaching experimentation, remaining risk tolerant and adaptive, being a magnet for diverse talent, and developing deep consumer empathy, we are agents for cultural change within MetLife.

We are now in a new era and think a moon-shot is courageous and valuable, but not quite audacious enough. This is our bold, long-term commitment. This is our Mars-shot.