How Genworth is using its website to deliberately disrupt the insurance space… and better engage and educate clients in the process
by Janice LuveraMs. Luvera is , Vice President of Marketing, Genworth Financial. Visit genworth.com
As a long term care insurance carrier for the past 40 years, we know from our daily interactions with policyholders and their families just how daunting it can be when a spouse or adult child is suddenly thrust into the role of caregiver. With each of these interactions, it becomes increasingly apparent just how important it is for families to plan ahead for how they will take care of family members when they can no longer care for themselves, either because of illness or accidents, and how they will pay for it.
The problem is, many consumers don’t even know where to begin. So we set out to show them the path forward with a completely redesigned, experiential and educational website, genworth.com, that provides insights, resources and tools to help them navigate the financial challenges of aging.
Not your typical website
Not content with just being an insurance carrier, we wanted the website to reflect our desire to be a trusted ally for everyone who needs care as they age and everyone who loves them. We also wanted the site to reflect our belief that aging isn’t something to be endured, but rather something to be embraced.
What we knew we didn’t want was a typical transactional insurance company website. Instead, we wanted a dynamic, unconventional site that invited exploration and provided empathy as well as insights.
Caregivers and Care Receivers
Case in point: In approaching this new site, we realized that while many Americans appreciate the struggles of being a caregiver, they cannot truly relate to the experience of being the care recipient. We wanted to redesign our website to better help people plan for the future, and for us this meant a site that allows them to experience some of the effects of aging.
Our minds kept racing back to early 2016, when Genworth unveiled the R70i Aging Experience suit, inspired by Genworth employees and brought to life by the tech firm, Applied Minds. The suit simulates what it’s like to live with vision and hearing loss, as well as reduced mobility as a result of muscle deterioration and arthritis. As more and more people tried the aging suit at events around the country, my colleagues and I thought – how could we give others this personal experience without needing this robotic suit?
Applied Minds was up for the challenge and our new website was born, complete with impairment simulations that allowed visitors to the site to experience and better appreciate many of the visual, auditory and mobility impairments that can jeopardize as well as create challenges for a person’s ability to care for themselves as they age.
The website is built on a platform that can provide a meaningful experience for the user, regardless of device type. Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends Report found that while the daily time spent on desktops and laptops decreased in 2018, daily time spent on the web increased for users of mobile and other connected devices. Naturally, we wanted to bring the website to where people are – their phones.
When approaching the creation of the website, we wanted to ensure that we created something that was user-friendly and meaningful, as well as designed for the future, modern and scalable. To do this, we performed numerous rounds of user testing – a total of 1,500 minutes, in fact. This included tests on multiple versions of the website with user feedback integrated after each round, as well as one-on-one sessions in which users performed a series of tasks on the website and provided reactions. The result was a visually appealing, interactive, high-tech website to be used as a resource for the aging community and their families.
Aging & You
The heart of the new website, the “Aging & You” section, is divided into three parts to allow the visitor to access all the resources they need in one place. These include “Aging & Your Health,” “Aging & Your Family,” and “Aging & Your Finances,” three important aspects of growing older.
“Aging & Your Health”
When you’re younger, it’s hard to appreciate the physical effects of growing older. Now, using state-of-the-art technology and simulations, website users can experience how aging affects the body through online experiences that simulate hearing impairments such as presbycusis and tinnitus, vision disorders such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and floaters, and mobility challenges such as arthritis, hand tremors and sarcopenia. One goal of this site was to help those who aren’t familiar with these issues develop empathy – what is it like to experience these conditions without the assistance of a high-tech suit, or attending a major conference or event? The “gamification” aspect of this website was key.
These simulations don’t just help younger generations understand the challenges of their elders. They allow them to experience those challenges for themselves. Now, younger individuals can feel what it is really like to try to complete basic tasks, such as putting away groceries, with the conditions many of their older relatives live with every day. This helps create empathy and starts important conversations about the very practical challenges of aging and how best to address them. Understanding how physical challenges impact everyday life helps reinforce the importance of thinking about future long term care needs and talking to loved ones about how they would like to age.
Aging & Your Family
The aging story often forgets the family members who sacrifice – physically, financially, emotionally and psychologically – to care for their families. Because of this, we created a portion of the website completely devoted to resources for family caregivers, including information about the effects of caregiving, conversation starters for families and real-life family stories. This section was created to tell a story, which includes video footage and animation to keep users engaged.
In many families, it’s assumed that caregiving for an older adult will be provided by a younger family member. While the experience of caregiving can be rewarding for some, the strain of caregiving can have a far-reaching impact on the family and friends of caregivers. Our Genworth Beyond Dollars 2015 research findings illustrate how pervasive the impact can be and are front and center on the site – 77% of caregivers missed time from work, 52% of caregivers had to work fewer hours and 11% of caregivers lost their jobs due to providing care. Similar visuals show the specific impact on caregivers’ health, finances and livelihood.
Within the “Family Stories” section of the website, visitors are given the opportunity to view short, 3-5 minute videos of Genworth customers’ talking about their own personal experiences with aging and long term care insurance. This page also includes useful information for visitors about long term care insurance, helpful resources and links to Genworth’s 2017 Cost of Care Survey which shows the cost of care across America and underscores the need for a solution for our country’s long term care financing challenges.
Aging & Your Finances
Considering the billions of dollars in claims that the long term care insurance industry pays each year to policyholders, we strongly believe that private long term care insurance can be an important option when it comes to financing long term care needs. The “Aging & Your Finances” section of the website aims to educate visitors about their options to pay for care when a long term care event occurs, including long term care insurance, Medicare and Medicaid and choices in care settings. The goal of this portion of the site is to educate visitors on the variety of options available when it comes to planning for or dealing with a long term care event, not just provide one solution.
To make the information on these topics obvious and visually appealing to website visitors, the page includes images and high-level copy on each topic, with links to additional details on care funding options.
In addition, a map of the United States on the page links to Genworth’s annual Cost of Care survey, which allows users to see what the true cost of aging is in their specific region. This survey is an important part of Genworth’s work in the aging space – many are not aware of the increasing cost of care or just how costly their local options may be.
One of our goals is to help those who need care age on their own terms and access all the resources they need to achieve this goal. By presenting important information in a high-tech, engaging way, we hope that this new website serves as a helpful and informative resource for those experiencing a long term care event, planning for one, or for the family caregivers who sacrifice so much to care for their loved ones. ◊