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Upgrading the Insurance User Experience | with David Andrew Frey


Consumers expect their online experience to be simple, beautiful, and intuitive. But few insurance companies actually provide this. Below are a few guidelines for how anyone in any industry can create a great user experience. 

Make something that feels like a friend

If people are using their health insurance, it’s likely they’re having a bad day. We want anyone coming to us to feel calm, comfortable, and confident we will get the job done.

Our blobs and ribbons are really fun to do this with. They can be used to say a lot of different things, but keep things cheerful.

We chose colors and styles to make users feel comfortable and confident

The language we use throughout our site is also very important. Healthcare can be scary, so we write in a voice that is casual and not intimidating. No jargon.

Focus on usability

There’s a term that chef’s use called “Mise En Place” - putting all the tools you might need right in arms reach. This inspired the dashboard of our user portal, my.flumehealth.com. 

We constantly ask ourselves “What does a user care about?” They need to login to check their claims- so the sign up flow must be direct. They need to access their ID card, so we put a link right on the front page.

my.flumehealth.com puts important tools right where members can find them

Another thing we did is make it possible for members to see their EOBs from before they become Flume members. It wasn’t necessary, but by putting in that extra work, we’re able to improve their experience even further.

Rely on data

Like many engineering teams we use AGILE methodology and sprint cycles to plan our work. Our team looks at data of how visitors move around on the site. Where is the user going? What actions are they trying but are getting hung up? This helps us prioritize our time to make the portal more user-friendly.

Don’t overload the user

Flume needs to gather a lot of information from new members. But that’s not always a fun experience for them. To make their journey more pleasant, we’ve created a scalable form system that’s based on only serving smaller components of a larger set of questions. Rather than sending every single member the same form when parts of it aren’t relevant for them, we only show them what they need to see.

Our forms are designed to be simple to follow and not overwhelm the user

Making this investment in development resources early on actually speeds up the process for us, so there are no delays when it comes to getting a member’s claims paid. And it makes them feel like we’re a friend.

Take inspiration wherever you find it

Follow what inspires you or what design has worked for you in the past. There’s no need to reinvent the wheel. 

My example I keep coming back to is my Dyson DC07 vacuum. Its only a vacuum- but boy what a vacuum! I love the product and the design surrounding it- it makes me happy every time I use it. I try to replicate that feeling for Flume’s members.

David Andrew Frey is the Principal Frontend Engineer for Flume Health. He lives with his wife and son in San Diego, California.