As the sharing economy rises, the need to get your home and stuff insured is becoming a must. GUARDHOG (underwritten by Hiscox, an award-winning insurance business), spotted the opportunity and created a flexible insurance that matches this new economic model — an insurance that would allow people to pay for cover only when they need it, and at a very small cost.
The insuretech innovators approached us to build a bespoke technology that would allow people to connect their listings on sharing platforms, like Airbnb, to their GUARDHOG account.
Encourage people to unlock their inner sharer. Sharing becomes easy and secure — saving people time, hassle and money.
Fantastic and highly efficient service. Signed up in record time!
The result of this project was the production of a mobile responsive web application that disrupted the insurance market. Talking about insurance is no longer dull.
GUARDHOG continues to thrive. With more and more users signing up and new products added, they’re helping members know the type of guests they are receiving in their home, thus preventing home-sharing mishaps in the first place.
Guardhog was a winner under the STARTUPS category in the Good web guide awards 2018– Good web guide
Buying insurance “only when you need it” is a phenomenal change to the category. It taps into the fast-growing user base taking part in the rising sharing economy model.
To match GUARDHOG’s innovative product, we thought to ourselves: who said insurance needs to look corporate and serious?
With our narrative and mascots, we made insurance friendly, cool and easily understood by all people. Depicting the characters in familiar situations made them more relatable and memorable, and adding some humour into the mix created a stronger emotional connection with customers.
Step 1: Business Strategy
Throughout the strategy workshops, we tried to give character to the brand to transform what is usually perceived as a dull subject, like insurance, into an interesting topic that people can understand. Instead of focusing on insurance itself, we shifted the brand story towards the concept of sharing. To make it more engaging, we created a whole family of hogs who help people understand what insurance they’re buying through the narrative around the hogs’ life experiences. We discovered that most people, for example, didn’t know that they would be liable if a guest has a mishap in their home.
The other main challenge to solve was on the customer experience side. We needed a neat tech solution that would integrate the pay-per-stay cover GUARDHOG provided with the host’s home sharing platform, thus providing a seamless experience.
Step 2: Experience Planning
The web app provides different types of cover, and is used by three user types that we need to cater for: the hosts, the insurance platforms/brokers, and the system admins. Each has their own requirements and complex tasks to achieve including: placing a cover, making claims, payment transactions and handling of refunds, commissions to brokers and a reporting engine.
Our main focus was to provide a swift solution whereby homeowners don’t have any other task to do, other than giving the set of keys to their guests. All our efforts were focused on making sure the host gets all the information they need quickly — the cost of cover was calculated on the spot based on a complex algorithm that would look at the dates, the length of stay, the post code, etc.
We used an API to get the calendars synced and provided the host with what we called an ‘Autohog’ agreement, whereby the cover is put in place automatically and paid via Direct Debit.
GUARDHOG are highly ambitious, and their drive for new products and features is unstoppable. However, we had to focus on filtering the features by labeling the “must-haves” versus the “nice-to-haves”, with the aim of getting the web app released in phases.
Step 3: Branding
The brand identity celebrates diversity and inclusion with a touch of humour.
We wanted it to be friendly, engaging and stand out from other insurance companies. We felt a mascot would be an ideal way to represent GUARDHOG, and match its brand message and tone of voice.
We started with Holly the Super Hog. Holly is the main brand mascot, arriving in time to help customers put their cover in place and avoid potential problems. We produced many iterations and versions to find the right one, portraying confidence without losing its friendly aesthetic.
We expanded the GUARDHOG world, designing a set of characters with distinct personalities and backgrounds, each reflecting a type of cover. We illustrated various scenarios, depicting the hogs in precarious yet humorous situations, which were then used across the website, online platform and print collateral.
Step 4: Art Direction
We extended the brand’s humorous and distinct look to even the smallest elements, such as icons, to illustrate various points of information that would have otherwise looked generic.
We also created a versatile pattern to represent the covers’ adaptability, and used it as a background in diverse situations. The pattern features objects related to the different types of covers drawn with one continuous line, and we could easily deconstruct it to create different compositions.
Step 5: Interface Design
We wanted the interface to look friendly and intuitive, without overwhelming the user. To do this, we broke up long forms into separate steps with clear call-to-actions and instructions, and used the mascots in specific points along the journey to help users with certain tasks.
We assigned a different colour to each type of cover, which was then used as the accent colour depending on what cover the user selected. To complement the friendly look and feel, we opted for a bold font for headings and large rounded buttons.
Step 6: Development
Due to the complexity and the different types of users on the platform (sharers, insurance platforms and admins), the development of this web application took a substantial amount of work. We conducted focus group sessions as part of the testing phase, and implemented changes where necessary.
We also created a mobile version of the platform as a progressive web app. This was an efficient way of adapting the desktop version by making it mobile responsive, saving us time in the process. For the mobile adaptation, we decided to strip out some of the content and features which weren’t essential for users on-the-go, making it less data-intensive and quicker to access on mobile devices.