Start-up Homelyfe poses a thought-provoking opening question to the consumer – and a combative one to the insurance industry.

It’s one which the company hopes will chime with time-poor (and concentration-stretched) buyers. Part of the promise is also not subjecting you to unnecessary questions or ‘bad telephone hold’ songs.

And it makes sense. After all, logic – and user feedback – shows that the shorter you can keep your quote journey, the more likely someone is to make it all the way through. The trick is getting the information you need for more accurate pricing, while keeping a brisk question set which limits the risk of ‘drop-outs’.

Homelyfe think they’ve found the balance.

What’s special about their solution? Clue: it all focuses on personalisation.

An archaic industry…?

Sure, you can get through a journey in as little as a couple of minutes answering just the essential questions – without necessarily getting into cover for valuables out of the home, for example.

You need to answer a handful of basic biographical and contact questions about who you are and where you live – but not tricky questions about which British Standard your door locks conform to. They don’t need your hat size, either.

“The insurance industry is notoriously complex and archaic in its approach,” says Peter Goodman, founder and CEO of Homelyfe, which started off in October with home buyer (‘gazumping’) insurance, before swiftly moving into contents and buildings.

“The unfortunate result is that a lot of British consumers spend a long time answering outdated questions and are not getting the adequate protection or cover they need and want.”

Homelyfe solves this by only showing questions which are relevant based on the answers you’ve already given – meaning you can leap past entire sections if they aren’t important to your cover.

Writing on the Homelyfe blog, front end developer Conor McGrath says: “In the digital world we aren’t bound by stacks of paper, and forms can be highly interactive and dynamic.

“We tailor the experience by ordering certain questions early on, building a profile of who you are.

“This way we don’t clutter your experience with questions or offerings not relevant to you.”

Breaking free from the form

Taken together, the approach incorporates a simpler flavour to questions, avoiding insurance jargon – something we understand here at RSA, and are bringing to the core of customer journeys.

The tailoring means that the business also promises to ‘build a policy around your needs, and then get insurers to bid for your business.’

This means you get the right level of cover, and at the right price, and avoids the need consumers see in going through an aggregator to find the cheapest at all costs – something which only prolongs the experience.

This is why you can do it all from the Homelyfe app. From the quote onwards, you can buy, see your policy documents, make amendments and claim (though for now you appear to complete this with a call).

Another promise is that you’ll never need to repeat yourself, when time comes for renewing, for example – because Homelyfe constructs a profile, rather than keeping information locked in individual forms. They also save details as you input them – meaning you can automatically pick up where you finished if your internet cuts out (or you have a really short attention span).

It all comes back to the mobile-first approach. Without the baggage of legacy systems and risk-identifying questions, it meant the company could start from scratch.

This meant the company could start from the ground up – building up the framework which sits behind the app, and using data rather than asking questions.

What does it mean for the industry?

It’s early days for the start-up, but Homelyfe seems to bring together a strong blend of consumer-focused features.

And while the journey is already clear, it’s still fairly conventional feel in terms of tone and feel. Homelyfe seems to know this, and feels it could go further – when we’re ready to catch up. The start-up says it is exploring something which sounds a lot like a conversational chatbot ‘text messaging’ approach, but knows not everyone is ready for this yet.

For now – from the personalisation and the dynamic questions, to the promise to find the right level of cover at the right price – there’s plenty to love if they can get it right.