The Top 3 Reasons Insurtech Startups Fail at Video

Some time ago, I was hired to create a set of client testimonial videos for a newer insurtech startup with an incredible risk-tracking tool that had made a profound difference in its clients’ business processes. 

Since their product was so useful, the company had a good cache of willing testimonial participants, and in fact, had already published several.

Unfortunately, the existing testimonials had failed to inspire anyone, either prospects or their own team. The CEO, to his credit, was not dissuaded by the poor performance of those unfortunate videos, and took another chance on video by hiring my company to go about things differently.

The testimonials we created were an immediate hit. Prospects connected with them, and the participants liked the way they were depicted. And as an unexpected bonus, we were told that members of the development team loved seeing how their work had made a direct and positive difference in their users’ lives. 

It wasn’t because we were better videographers, better interviewers, or even better storytellers. The simple fact was that our mindset was aligned with our client’s business needs, rather than with our own creative priorities. 

The 3 pitfalls described below are a distillation of my experience watching, evaluating, and creating many hundreds of marketing videos.

They apply as much to brand videos, executive talk videos, informational videos, explainer videos, and trade show booth videos as they do to testimonial videos.


1. They focus on the technology instead of the buyer's business problems.

I’ve cringed through many an insurtech marketing video that earnestly describes – through voiceover narration, animated flowcharts, or a stiff script read – what the product does or how it integrates with this-or-that core platform.

A sad reality for super-intelligent innovators in an age of constant disruption is that nobody’s that impressed by breakthroughs anymore. 

In fact, we expect breakthroughs. Consistently. 

This can be a tough pill to swallow since, as social beings, we want to be appreciated and validated for the impressive work we’ve done. 

Unfortunately, most of your insurance decision makers aren’t particularly concerned with the specifics of your technology – how it works, how you developed it, or even how it complements their own systems on a technical level. 

What they are concerned with is how your product will improve their processes or their finances. If you want your videos to connect with buyers, this concept must be central to your marketing strategy.

Strategy advisor Stephen Goldstein has observed an increase in the number of founders who understand this:

"The most common disconnect is the founder focusing on the tech moreso than linking it to the actual business metric/process that the buyer is looking for. Founders have gotten much better in this respect over the years, with many bringing insurance experts on their team to be able to translate the marketing of tech solutions to insurance-specific solutions."
stephen goldstein insurtech marketing
Stephen Goldstein
Founder and Managing Principal | TETRA G

An excellent insurtech marketing video places the prospect and their troubles, as they see them, at the center of the story. The way you see your prospect’s troubles may be (probably is) different from the way they see them.

Speaking of which, not every decision maker or influencer at your target account actually has the same troubles, which leads us to our next point:

2. Their videos are too general and don't speak directly to specific stakeholders.

I’m sometimes asked for an “appeals to everybody” video intended to live on a website. This is generally motivated by the desire to lower costs or to simplify the production process.

The trouble with this approach is that such videos, in trying to impress everyone, don’t strongly impress anyone. The result is either having an ineffective video strategy without knowing why, or having to start over, which ironically leads to higher costs and a more complicated production process. 

Generally speaking, you’re not selling insurtech to a single person. You’re selling to a group of decision makers and influencers, each with their own problems and priorities. 

A video about the number of unique data points in a risk model and a 52% faster API response may be fascinating to a chief underwriter, who lives and breathes those metrics; but an insurance CEO is more concerned with the company’s overall bottom line, so they need to be approached from a different angle.

Less effective videos often try to address this issue by including sales pitches for two or more stakeholders. But why would the stakeholder whose pain points are addressed later in the video stick around through the beginning on the off chance that they’ll see something relevant later?

An effective insurtech video strategy considers all the stakeholder personas at the target account and builds highly specific content for each of them.  

Imagine an insurtech’s goal is to sell claims fraud detection AI to carriers, and their product personally benefits these job titles:

Improves bottom line

  • CEO
  • CFO
  • Actuary

Improves workflow

  • Chief Claims Officer
  • Claims Manager

Easy to implement

  • CTO
  • Head of IT

A one-size-fits-all video may make the website homepage look “complete”, but it won’t excite any of these stakeholders much, if they watch it at all.

A better strategy would be to create seven videos – one for each stakeholder – for the sales team to deploy directly before the initial meeting, or to embed on stakeholder-specific web pages. If the videos happen to be testimonials, the insurtech could seek out matching job titles at their existing accounts. 

In fact, for many insurtechs who sell to larger enterprises, five testimonials featuring distinct stakeholders from the same client could very well be more valuable than five testimonials featuring the same job title from five different clients.

With video, as with all marketing, the more specific the audience, the better the result.

3. They tell an impersonal story without a Why.

I saved this point for last because, in many ways, it underpins the others. It is certainly the most endemic weakness in insurtech marketing videos. 

Video is by far the most powerful way to create personal connections between insurtechs and their prospects asynchronously and at scale. However, when videos lack personality, they become overpriced PDFs.

People connect with other people more readily than they connect with ideas, solutions, or products. While some ideas are so groundbreaking; so revolutionary; so powerful that they garner an audience on their own merit, most ideas, even great ones, need a champion.

For the insurtech startup, the champion must be the founder. At least until it has a robust roster of delighted customers to take over. Even then, a passionate founder willing to be a prominent character in the brand’s story is an invaluable asset. 

This doesn’t mean that prospects need to hear the founder’s personal background story. Indeed, the details of the founder’s life are probably irrelevant (though this is not always the case). 

What prospects do need to see, however, is a clear and logical path from incentive to action. In other words, the prospect wants to know that someone – a real human being – had a reason to solve the problem they’re currently facing. They want to know the Why

Bob Frady, CEO at HazardHub (now part of Guidewire), took this approach with the video strategy he credits with HazardHub’s success:

"The most impactful part of our videos was the fact that people could understand what we were all about - and what we stood for in the marketplace - without even meeting us. That way, when we finally did meet, we didn't have to cover the "backstory" of who we are. It was an awesome use of video and a key to our success."
insuretech CEO video customer bob frady
Bob Frady
CEO | HazardHub

Unscripted interview videos that feature the founder or CEO are more impactful as icebreaking tools than, say, animated explainer videos narrated by actors and other impersonal video types. When the founder can relate an experience that mirrors the prospect’s, the prospect perceives them as capable of understanding their pain and fixing it.


Insurtech startups who take a strategic approach to video, leaving behind the costly and counterproductive habits above, find that video quickly becomes a powerful and reliable business development tool.