Getting the product right builds trust between you and the consumer. But what exactly does it mean to get the product right? With varied industries throughout the United States, is the “right” product available in a one-size-fits-all solution? Perhaps not in the way you think.

Think about the boom of Silicon Valley back in the 1980s. Though popular companies like Apple and Atari moved into the San Francisco Bay area a decade prior, it wasn’t until the 80s that the area became widely known as the technological hub it’s still recognized as today. But have you ever wondered exactly why that is? What did these companies do that differentiated them from other industries at the time? And what are they still doing that sets them apart from the competition? The answer lies within their business model.

Because life is always changing, innovation has to constantly move forward. Let’s circle back to Silicon Valley for just a moment. Apple didn’t invent the computer. The first computer was technically invented back in 1822 by Charles Babbage, who originated the idea of a general-purpose machine that could calculate mathematical tables. Babbage thought there was a better, easier way of calculating several sets of numbers than existed at the time. Though Babbage lacked the funding to see his vision come to life, he left a blueprint for future innovators to follow. And they did.

In 1890, Herman Hollerith developed the internal recording system we know now as IBM. In 1936, Konrad Zuse created the first functional modern, programmable computer. The first computer to be able to successfully store and execute a functional program was developed in 1948, and then in 1949, Electronic Controls Company – the first computer company – was founded.

So, Steve Jobs, despite being an influential person in the computing industry, was one of many who took the blueprint first introduced by Charles Babbage and in turn, found a way to simplify these existing products to meet the company’s customers’ current needs that fit into their lifestyle. This concept is still at play today. The iPhone 13 Pro Max, for example, has received superior ratings due to its camera and video recording capabilities. With TikTok and Instagram Reels becoming the new wave of social media marketing, is this design just a coincidence? No, it’s meeting the customer where they are.

Meeting The Customer Where They Are

Getting the product right doesn’t solely mean improving upon certain widgets and technologies. Rather, it’s about meeting the consumer where they are in a way that understands their needs. After all, if you design a product that no one uses or can understand, how much growth can your company expect to see? The return on investment will be nominal at best and at worst, it could ruin your company’s reputation within the industry. Going back to Silicon Valley for a moment, there’s a reason why E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial video game produced by Atari in 1982 has been voted one of the worst video games of all times: it wasn’t easy to play, it wasn’t easy to understand, and it didn’t give consumers the kind of experience they were looking for.

When developing a product, it’s useful to reflect on what companies have done and succeeded in doing in the past, but you can’t simply rely on that. You have to take the blueprint and adapt it to your own model. And that’s what we’ve done. At Everlong, we reimagined and redesigned the current captive model used in the business liability world, modified its structure and improved its performance, enabling us to turn back the tide of ever-increasing medical insurance costs caused by lack of control and transparency.

Insurance Trends and Captive Stability

Recent trends have shown a major shift in regard to self-funding insurance plans – where the employer assumes the financial risk for providing health care benefits to its employees.

According to the Employee Benefit Research Institute, “between 2013 and 2017, the self-insurance trend for large companies declined. A rebound started in 2018 but did not hold in 2020.” The COVID-19 pandemic was the primary cause of the derailment. Conversely, smaller companies began to see increasing value in alternative group health insurance options.

During the pandemic, many employers were forced to shut their doors or furlough their employees. Even when operations resumed, the hit many companies took was so severe that it took time to adapt. While many furloughed employees were able to keep their health benefits, the rising costs of health insurance premiums during a time of upheaval left much to be desired. In 2021, the annual cost of employer-sponsored health insurance for family premiums increased by 4% and according to SHRM, employers can expect an increase of up to 5.2% in 2022.

This increase, coupled with employers’ limited resources and decreased demand for products and services due to mandatory lockdowns and other pandemic-related issues, caused a wave of concern (and volatility) for companies, both large and small. As a result, and with smaller companies in particular, they needed a better way to purchase group health insurance, with an increasing number seeking the stability of captive health insurance programs.

With a health insurance captive, businesses can reduce their taxes, select vendors that offer affordable drug costs to their employees, lower premiums, and provide employees better access to wellness programs – such as mental health or telehealth services, both of which saw a dramatic uptick since 2020. Further, this ability to obtain the right services at the right cost fosters employee loyalty, lowering the attrition rate and in turn, reducing the need for continuous talent acquisition, costly new hire training, and resource-intensive onboarding.

These real-world examples of evolving needs coupled with innovation adoption demonstrate what happens when you get the product “right”. Just like the acceleration of the modern computer, innovation occurs when new problems, needs, and ways of thinking emerge.

For example, since the rise of telehealth services, there’s an emergence of new educational training and resources being taught to medical students and healthcare professionals all across the country to identify how to engage with patients and implement care in new ways.

And it all starts with identifying your customers’ needs and creating the right product or service to meet them where they are.

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