February 28, 2022

Destigmatizing Life Insurance: Overcoming the Industry’s 200-year-old Bad Rap, with Insider Tidbits from our Product Designer

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We picked Jeffrey’s brain on everything from his entrance into tech and what energizes him about his work at Walnut.

Most people my age don’t think about life insurance. And if they do, they’re thinking about how boring and morbid it is.

When policies are complex, coverage is spotty, and wait times are brutal, you can’t help but think of life insurance as a dirty word — especially when it’s money that you’ll probably never see again during your lifetime.

But there’s no better time than now to rewrite that story, according to Jeffrey, who reveals the massive opportunities associated with innovating embedded insurance and a career in product design in Canadian technology.

So we picked Jeffrey’s brain on everything from his entrance into tech and what energizes him about his work at Walnut to the market and career opportunities that lie ahead for anyone thinking about taking the tech plunge.

"Product design is the perfect marriage of creative outlets and cross-functional collaboration."

Few people get their careers off the ground with a singular experience. But Jeffrey was quickly made aware of the exciting possibilities in tech in his early days as a co-op student by working for none other than the big league Toronto fintech, Wealthsimple, and globally loved food delivery app, Ritual

Funny enough, his previous roles at these startups had little to do with product design. Instead, they were focused on operations, marketing, and customer success, which gave him his holistic outlook today.

Through relentless mentorship from his older brother whose passion for product design inspired him, Jeffrey got in touch with product managers, engineers, and designers—from some of the fastest-growing tech companies—that eventually springboarded him into the world of product design at Walnut.

“Originally, I thought I only wanted to specialize in product management, but then discovered that product design is the perfect marriage of creative outlets and cross-functional collaboration to deliver the best experience to our members,” he says. 

What’s unique about Jeffrey’s design experience is that he’s almost exclusively self-taught. He built a portfolio from the ground up and mastered Webflow on his own. As he put his newfound skills to the test, Walnut immediately recognized his talent and a one-off landing page soon turned into a full-time employment contract.

Recasting insurance from a necessary evil to the everyday hero

For as long as it’s been around, insurance still isn’t perfect. According to Jeffrey, changing the way insurance is built and distributed can drastically help people get properly insured earlier.

“Full transparency, I wasn’t explicitly looking for a job in insurance,” admits Jeffrey. “But when I did come across the opportunity, I knew I had to strongly consider it because I want to make a real difference. Most people my age don’t think about life insurance, and if they do they’re thinking about how boring and morbid it is.”

But with Walnut, Jeffrey could see a clear path of changing the world’s perspective through embedded insurance, the kind that doesn’t just sit on the shelf. Jeffrey describes embedded insurance as the act of buying insurance at the same point of sale as another product. Like when buying a car and tacking on auto insurance.

“When you buy regular insurance though, it just sits on the shelf and doesn’t really help you unless you die, but by then, you’ve already gotten the short end of the stick,” he says.

Young people are hesitant about getting life insurance in the first place, but that’s why Walnut’s term life insurance product is so cool. We have several benefits that support your everyday life, whether that’s to help you stay active, support your mental health, or protect your cybersecurity.

Not only does Walnut give consumers bang for their buck and everyday use out of their insurance, but it also speeds things up by skipping the step of traditionally selling and buying products through a broker.

Transparency lies at the heart of Walnut’s culture

From flexible life insurance plans to day-to-day problem-solving, there’s nothing more that Jeffrey appreciates about Walnut than its pledge to transparency from the inside out.

“I’ve never been a part of a more transparent team,” says Jeffrey. “And sure, while it directly translates to the kind of products we offer, it also impacts how we collaborate. I used to think that culture was defined by tangible things alone, like getting together in a room to celebrate birthdays or social events.”

At Walnut, I’m not afraid to be totally honest about what I know and don’t know. I’ll openly ask the “dumb” questions and no one judges me for it.

Come for the groundbreaking innovation, stay for the career growth

As easygoing as Jeffrey describes the day-to-day culture, he places extra emphasis on how Walnut is willing to bet on you if you’re interested in making a greater impact in technology, despite gaps that one might have in their experience. 

“We really value potential here,” he says, recognizing that the investment in career growth and professional development on the team is the most invaluable benefit of joining Walnut.

On paper, Jeffrey may be a product designer. But between the lines, he’s so much more, from leading weekly planning and managing a team to delegating tasks and keeping a strong pulse on projects that need to ship.

“I get excited about work because no two days are the same,” he says. “Back when I was doing operations, every day was pretty much the same tasks day in and out. I had a board of tickets to clear by the end of every day and it was monotonous work.”

But here at Walnut, we constantly have new stuff on the go, which gives me the autonomy, creative exploration, and leadership I want in my career.

If you’re looking to take your career to the next level, there’s a huge market for insurtechs to catalyze groundbreaking solutions.

Kickstart your next chapter.

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