Metropolitan GetUp just launched their first fully digital insurance product, and it’s powered by Root! We are stoked about this achievement and excited about the partnership we’ve built with Metropolitan over the last few months.

We recently met with the GetUp team via Zoom to reflect on their mission and the journey of getting this product to market.

The time to market for this product is an amazing achievement for us. And it was our first rodeo!

Liezel Gordon, GetUp’s head of Client Engagement

The GetUp mission

GetUp is a division within Metropolitan that focuses on delivering a fully digital experience to digitally savvy young South Africans. Like Metropolitan, GetUp’s mission is to help people take control of their finances and achieve their financial goals. However, GetUp is specifically focused on serving young adults in South Africa, using a digital-first approach.

“We’re very passionate about enabling young South Africans to get into the driving seats of their finances and career by creating good financial habits early in life,” says Liezel Gordon, GetUp’s head of Client Engagement. “Financial literacy is a crucial part of financial wellbeing. That’s why financial coaching, demystifying jargon, and “Life Hacks” are baked into our offering. Providing guidance to young people definitely requires a digital-first approach. One tends to think that that leads to a cold or impersonal experience, but actually, the opposite is true. We’re able to provide bite-sized, relevant content to our customers when they need it.”

With this approach to financial literacy, GetUp is providing young South Africans with a financial coach in their pockets. They share actionable information that is easy to understand and quick to consume.

It is not a standard insurance product, and still, getting it done with Root was easy. There is so much insurance knowledge built into the platform that we didn’t have to worry about.

Desiree Eveleigh, GetUp Solutions Architect

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In addition to their focus on coaching, GetUp creates products that specifically speak to the needs of young people. Their offering is fully digital, enabling customers to self-service throughout the customer journey. Their latest product, an income protection plan, is a great example of that.

The GetUp Income Protection Plan

Unlike traditional income protection plans that cover income loss on a long term basis, GetUp’s product works more like a gap cover. It is aimed at young people who don’t necessarily have a savings buffer to help them through short periods of income loss.

In the case of income loss, it helps some to deal with the traumatic event by providing financial assistance from day one - enabling people to continue paying critical expenses like rent, bills, groceries, etc.

Upon taking out the policy, customers can choose the duration of the payout, ranging from 1 to 12 months. If a person loses their income due to unforeseen circumstances, the GetUp policy immediately starts paying out.

“We worked hard to drastically reduce the red tape that normally comes with an income protection plan,” says Fayyaadh Parker, CX specialist and product owner. “It’s easier to get cover and it’s easier to claim and receive your benefits. These are key elements to meet the needs of our customers and provide a good experience.”

The product is dynamically priced, and this provides customers with the flexibility to buy the cover that fits their needs at a price customised for them. They can choose the amount of cover they want (up to R25 000 per month), the type of benefit they want (death and/or incapacity), and the duration of the payout upon claiming (up to 12 months). They can also choose whether they want the premium and cover to adjust for inflation.

The product also includes “Life Hacks” - the financial coaching part of the product. Life Hacks offers clients content and prompts that help them take the next step towards achieving their financial goals. Customers can earn rebates of up to 30% of the premium paid per annum for taking actions that can improve their career and income prospects.

Launching new digital products during a national lockdown

Although GetUp is a fairly small cross-functional team, they launched their first fully digital insurance product in only three months - while dealing with the realities of COVID-19 and a national lockdown.

The time to market for this product is an amazing achievement for us. And it was our first rodeo! We had to familiarise ourselves with the Root platform, our relationship with the Root team was new, we had to figure out many nuances of the product on our side to ensure it matches client needs and provides value, and COVID-19 happened… We were dealing with all of that, and we still managed to pull it off,” says Liezel Gordon.

The Root platform has powerful functionality that enabled and simplified the building of GetUp’s product:

  • It is API-driven, which made for easy integration. The APIs are also well-documented and developer-friendly.
  • The platform has highly configurable product modules, which means flexible pricing could easily be built into the product.
  • Client communications are automated. That means high-touch, event-based communications could easily be created and personalised.
  • The platform has a fully-fledged, customisable policy administration system and dashboard. Agents can service policies from the get-go.
  • Premium collection is part of what the platform offers. This means billing strategies and integrations with third-party providers were all taken care of by Root.

Our product is not a standard product, and still, getting it done with Root was so easy. There is so much insurance knowledge built into the platform that we didn’t have to worry about,” says Desiree Eveleigh, GetUp Solutions Architect. “The support from Root was also superb. Their turnaround time is so quick. We collaborated via Slack, and whenever I posted a message someone would be on the other side helping me out within a minute. It’s been great, and I’m sure that next time we’ll move even faster.”

Because they’re a small team, saving time meant members of the GetUp team could focus on things that would otherwise not be possible at the early stages of product development.

“We didn’t need to build everything ourselves, and that bought us valuable time. It’s like we just came and plugged in - especially from a claims perspective,” says Fayyaadh Parker. “Personally, it gave me more time to focus on the customer experience - refining it, instead of building the entire system from scratch. We could leverage the knowledge and functionality of Root to enhance our expertise - all for the benefit of our customers.”

The first of many

With the successful launch of their first fully digital product behind them, the GetUp team is excited about growing their partnership with Root.

“Establishing a working relationship with a new partner is usually a bit difficult at the start. But with Root it was smooth sailing from day one,” says Mareke Krynauw, Head of GetUp Operations & Portfolio. “The ease of doing business with them is really refreshing. I’m already excited about the next project because it will be even quicker and easier than this one.”