Paint drying. The intricacies of the American tax code. Insurance.
At first glance, you might assume that’s a short list of “the most soul-crushingly boring things imaginable.” But you’d be wrong in at least one case…and we’re not talking about paint and taxes.
I know you’re reading this on a blog run by Lemonade, which is an insurance company. So you’re right to be skeptical if we were to try and convince you that insurance is actually fun, intriguing, and stimulating. Or that it’s even—dare we say it—fucking awesome.
That’s a bold statement… and one that’s emblazoned, in glittery pink, across t-shirts that are sent to every new hire.
The weird and wonderful thing about Lemonade is that we’re a different sort of insurance company. As one of my colleagues always says—if she’s at a party and wants people to leave her alone, she tells them she works in “insurance.” (Cue the yawns.) But if she wants to engage and chat, she tells them she works for Lemonade… and suddenly strangers are nerding out about how much they love their renters policies.
Back in early 2020, just before the pandemic hit, I remember interviewing for my position as managing editor here. No one tried to convince me of how inherently fascinating the ins-and-outs of insurance were; instead, the focus was on collaboration, ideas, and creativity. Most of the team members I interviewed with didn’t come from an insurance background, and seemed frankly surprised, and pleasantly amused, that they’d landed in the industry.
That fact—along with a slew of glowing Glassdoor praise—was one of the main reasons I felt comfortable joining the Lemonade family.
“If you told me I’d end up working in insurance…I’d have laughed in your face”
Prior to arriving at Lemonade, I was coming off a 10-year run in the art world, working as a writer and editor… so insurance was a bit of a whiplash-inducing career change.
What would my peers think? Would I be bored to tears? Would an insurance convention ever match the buzz of Art Basel Miami Beach?
Nine months in, and I have zero regrets.
Like the art world, insurance has its own insider lingo, history, and arcana. It’s been fascinating to start fresh, to figure out what’s fascinating and awesome about a topic that, on the surface, might seem dry or snoozy.
There’s also a kind of poetic full-circle quality to my current job.
My late father was an amateur painter who worked in the conservative, suit-and-tie insurance world—all the time wishing that he had followed a more bohemian path instead.
After he passed away, I spent a decade climbing the ladder of the art world, immersed in a scene that my dad had once considered impenetrable and elusive. And then I said goodbye to all that… and took a creative role at an insurance company.
Life is strange, and you shouldn’t judge an industry by its stereotypes.
Indeed, what makes insurance at Lemonade so special is that so many members of our team never expected to be where they are now. Even when the brand was hiring underwriting and claims pros in its earliest days, we were looking for experts who were sick of the status quo—putting out a cheeky call for insurance vets who were in the midst of a “mid-life crisis.”
Then there are the people who arrived here from totally unexpected places…Stand-up comedy. Advertising firms. Veterinary clinics. Investment banking.
The reaction from Annabel Ross-Edwards, a producer working on special projects like our #ConnectedByLemonade Instagram, isn’t uncommon: “If you told me on January 1 of 2020 that I’d end up working in insurance by the end of the year,” she says, “I probably would’ve laughed in your face.”
Several months in, and Ross-Edwards is a happy convert. “The creative work is innovative and exciting, and the company itself is changing and challenging an otherwise dull industry,” she says. (Sorry, insurance dinosaurs…) “I never thought insurance could be fun, creative, sexy, or funny—and I have very much been proven wrong.”
Alright, alright, you get it—Lemonade is an awesome place and our team is shockingly happy and you probably want to work here yourself (which you totally can, since our hiring process is full-speed ahead).
But what actually makes insurance itself so fucking awesome?
Insurance is about… actual people!
When thinking about insurance, it’s easy to picture abstracts: long lists of data, calculating risk and projecting profit. And there’s a lot of that, behind-the-scenes, completed by people who didn’t get a D- in high school calculus.
At its heart, insurance is about real people who are being confronted by real challenges. That could be a wildfire that destroys your home, a burglar who snatches your iPad, and everything in between.
While a great deal of Lemonade’s claims are handled instantly, thanks to artificial intelligence and chatbots, that doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of humans who are there to step in when things get more complicated.
At the risk of sounding cheesy, our Customer Experience (CX) and Claims Experience (CLX) teams genuinely care about policyholders, and develop relationships that go beyond the strictly professional. “It’s nice when I can celebrate the wins with our insureds,” says CLX Advocate Lauren Williams, “and I’m glad I’m also there to mourn when they have a loss.”
But aren’t insurance companies kind of…evil?
Many people don’t exactly have warm-and-fuzzy feelings when it comes to insurance providers.
And all types of insurance—from homeowners to renters to life—suffers from a bit of an image problem.
Lemonade was founded from a desire to make insurance lovable, not just a necessary evil. And while that’s a snappy slogan, we actually mean it—and practice what we preach.
“Hands-down, the best part is when you can surprise someone by showing them that insurance doesn’t have to be awful.”Kevin Froleiks, Customer Experience Squad Lead
“A regular person thinks about insurance as a grey, boring thing,” says Gil Sadis, VP of Product, who first came up with our ‘Insurance is Fucking Awesome’ slogan. “You think about a bad experience, organizations that will do everything so they won’t need to pay you. But this industry can be the complete opposite. It can do good.”
What’s more, our innovative Giveback program donates unused premiums to charities that our policyholders choose themselves, from the ACLU to UNICEF and Black Lives Matter.
“We’re building products that help people stay afloat when shit happens. If they didn’t have us, they might be bankrupt, or kicked out on the street. For a few dollars a month, we’re creating this shield for them.”Gil Sadis, VP Product
That creates a scenario in which we don’t have a conflict of interest and an incentive to deny claims. We take a flat fee up front, and use the rest to pay claims. What’s left is not our money. Did we also mention that we’re a public benefit corporation and a Certified B Corp? Just sayin’.
Insurance is a brain-bending challenge (for us, not you)
For Lemonaders, the insurance experience is as quick, painless, and easy as possible. But a whole lot of work goes on behind-the-scenes to make sure that’s the case.
“Lemonade’s approach turns insurance from something intimidating into a product that’s designed for people—focusing on their end-to-end experience, providing transparency, and building trust.”Omer Zicher, Pet Squad Lead
Our content team is tasked with translating complex topics into easy-to-undersized, bite-sized explainers. And Lemonade’s Insuropedia boils down technical terms simply, with verve and a sense of humor.
“My articles about co-insurance and annual limits help Lemonaders buy policies that ultimately support some of my favorite organizations through our Giveback program,” says Pet Content Lead Audrey Zada. “I’m really passionate about that. And to be honest, talking about our loss ratio gets my heart pumping now, too.”
Meanwhile, the CX and CLX teams are the superheroes who unpack our policies, untangling any confusion or fine print.
“I’ve definitely had some long, philosophical conversations with underwriters as we dissected the nitty-gritty of the policy to find out why a mobile home isn’t covered,” CX Squad Lead Kevin Froleiks says. “That’s why I’m still here, and never bored, because every day has a new challenge to figure out.”
Froleiks—who came to Lemonade with a background in sketch comedy—also can’t help but appreciate the unexpected humor that can arise in the claims world.
“Insurance fraud—and especially dumb insurance fraud—is absolutely fascinating and often hilarious to me,” he admits. “I’ve had some crazy calls from people…like one who called me from jail after being arrested…for the arson of the building she was claiming.”
“I like working with numbers, and insurance is filled with unique and interesting questions and problems. How best to price risk? What’s the right reinsurance structure? How do expected future claims impact customer payback periods? It gives math lovers a lot of great material to tackle.”Nick Stead, Director FP&A and Investor Relations
Head of Creative Nuno Ferreira is part of a team tasked with getting Lemonade’s lovable brand identity out in the world—and convincing consumers that insurance isn’t lame and fusty.
“Insurance is literally the place where human behavior meets data,” he surmises. “By definition, the role of creative advertising is to re-frame how people feel about a thing…or, when it it really works, actually change how people behave. That sounds a lot like insurance to me.”
Insurance is about… taking risks?
It seems counterintuitive to say this, since insurance is technically about mitigating risks—covering your ass against future perils.
But Lemonade’s company culture also rewards creative risk-taking. We push the envelope with our ads… and sometimes go too far.
Imagine being able to bring delightful experiences to where users least expect it: insurance! We do it with attention to the small details, gamified elements, and fun, warm illustrations.Omer Assa, Staff Designer
That “Insurance Is Fucking Awesome” employee shirt? It’s not the kind of thing that would be welcome in many old-fashioned boardrooms. Fun fact: The slogan itself came from Gil Sadis, but the design was a “happy accident” that Lemonade COO and cofounder Shai Wininger created during a silkscreening workshop.
But Lemonade is always pushing the envelope. We got Insta-famous by dipping a whole lot of random stuff in paint, just because it was #OddlySatisfying. We squared off against T-Mobile, who actually wanted to bogart the color pink (true story). We launched an art blog, took a stand on guns, and sent traffic to State Farm’s ad mocking bots like ours.
Most recently, we came out in favor of getting 100% of our team vaccinated against Covid-19 as soon as possible—and suggested others follow suit to #MoveTheNeedle.
We pride ourselves on oversharing when it comes to our business. It’s an open-source attitude that invites everyone to see how we tick.
And talk about risk… we launched our IPO in the middle of the pandemic, which was both incredible and slightly surreal!
Lemonade hasn’t always gotten everything right, but we’re constantly learning, growing, and evolving.
By welcoming risk—and proudly proclaiming our love for insurance, however unfashionable that might be—we’re slowly changing a conservative industry. And that’s fucking awesome.