Marketing innovations

Securian’s Digital Characters Explain Insurance

Ellie and Bert use humor and everyday language in off-beat, up-beat online experience

St. Paul, Minn. – Ellie is a chipper, helpful woman whose brother-in-law Bert left his “cushy” insurance job to follow his dream to become a singer. Ellie says Bert is going to help her explain group critical illness (CI) insurance. In song. This scenario greets employees who log into the digital description of group critical illness coverage, a voluntary benefit from Securian Financial Group.


When diagnosed with a condition covered in the policy, CI provides a lump-sum payment the insured can spend however he or she chooses. Ellie and Bert use consumer-friendly language and slightly goofy songs to explain this and other group insurance products the company offers.

Ellie asks a few questions that employees answer on-screen while Bert strums his guitar in the background.

Then he strikes a blues-y chord and sings:

Group critical illness insurance
Is totally boss
It can help you out
With some of your costs

“Critical illness is a serious topic but describing how it works doesn’t have to be,” said Adam Taylor, manager, Client and Operations Technology. “We think humor leads to higher engagement and possibly higher participation – a good thing for employees and employers.”

Critical illness is a serious topic but describing how it works doesn’t have to be

Securian anticipates people will respond well to Ellie and Bert. In a recent independent study, 80 percent of those surveyed said they would use the program if it was available. "We want to appeal to every age group and we’re using new media to reach all employees,” said Christian Betancourt, specialist, Digital Marketing. “If Ellie and Bert help people better understand the benefits of our products, they may be more likely to enroll.”

Following the conversation with Ellie, those who want more information go to an online calculator to get a personalized quote. (They also can get a personalized song from Bert delivered by email.) If they decide they want the coverage, they can go directly to the enrollment site.

Securian plans to ask Ellie and Bert to explain every new product it introduces. “Bert knows insurance,” said Taylor. “Plus he’s a good guy and he needs the work.”


Insurance products are issued by Minnesota Life Insurance Company or Securian Life Insurance Company, a New York authorized insurer. Both companies are headquartered in Saint Paul, MN. Product availability and features may vary by state. Each insurer is solely responsible for the financial obligations under the policies or contracts it issues. The Securian Financial Group, Inc. and its affiliates, Minnesota Life and Securian Life, provide a wide range of financial products and services that meet the needs of individuals, families, business owners, financial institutions and employers.