Pier in 2019: it is worth being honest

“Love can be defined in two words: honesty and respect.” Oswaldo Grimaldi

Pier Digital´s good year has proven that creating insurance that trusts people is both worth while it works. More than 70,000 requests, 12,632 members and NPS 92% at the time of reimbursement are there to prove this.

These results strengthen our will to create an uncomplicated product, with a welcoming experience and honest relationships. An insurance product that does what’s best for people.

This report is an exercise in respect and transparency for everyone who has helped to build Pier so far. It is divided into three parts:

  1. Results;
  2. Learning;
  3. Challenges; 

i.  Results:

Pier is responsible for controlling the entry of new members, the collection of monthly fees and evaluating risk of the community. And we seek to do this in the most transparent way. We are very proud to have managed to maintain strong transparency even with the base of members 10 times higher than last year. We are also very happy to see that the community continues to evolve and we grew our revenue in 2019 almost 12 X compared to 2018.

In 2019 we went beyond geographical barriers and managed to take more fairness to all the states of Brazil. We are already in almost 800 cities across the country.

Another information that we consider very important to share in this picture of transparency is the performance of our loss index:

The loss rate measures the amount of robberies or thefts suffered by our members. It tells us how much losses can compromise our refund reservation. For everything to go as expected, the index should be between 40% and 60%. During the year 2019 we had peaks and also a lot of work to deal with fraud. In December we sped things up, asked the community for help with invitations and we were able to finish the year with the total index of 60.4%!

Thanks, community!

By 2020 Pier new products will be with individualized monthly fees, calculated according to each member’s risk profile and we will continue working to keep the community safe! This means that even on the mobile product, the loss rate will no longer have a direct influence on the price.


ii.  Learning


We would like to share some of these learnings that we find most relevant.

1. obsession with the front line.

We believe that the insurance industry revolution will come from an obsession with understanding the customer and delivering what he or she needs. While some traditional industries (such as retail, for example) already understood this, others are still learning. At Pier this is our daily concern and we take different actions to connect with our community.

It starts with our Customer Day, where all Pier employees spend a day attending the chat to have more contact with our members.

In addition, when we launched our insurance product for Android, we were pleased to receive some members in the office and Nello brought up a handwritten card after he received a refund to thank us personally.

Team Pier,
I would like to thank you for all your attention since the start of the refund process. I was robbed on Sunday and on Friday they were already paying the ticket for a new device. After so much love and care, I only have to recommend to people close to me the great experience of being part of this beautiful project! You are a successful project. Despite all the hassle of being out of touch, I’ve learned that it’s possible to live disconnected and it can be very nice to have “back” other perceptions.
A big hug! Nello Boratto

At the beginning of the year we organized an informal coffee with members and, as Leony told us on one of these occasions, nothing replaces “eye to the eye “contact!

We structured this process and implemented our Meetings with Members. We met Elder and Lavinia in our office and exchanged an idea about the feeling of being protected by Pier and even updated the goals of the company in front of them, live.

We loved your visit, Elder and Lavínia.

In “Beagá”, as we informally refer to the city of Belo Horizonte in the State of Minas Gerais in Brazil, we were really well received by Caio and Valesca who took the opportunity to give us incredible tips on how to enjoy their city. In these episodes with you, we feel even more energized in our dreams to make a people-centered company.

Moreover, from the meeting we had in Beagá, our first offline campaign came out. Guess who starred it? They did, you did.

*Campaign starred by our members.

It is in these meetings that we learn valuable information from how our members interact with our insurance and at that point in their lives we get closer: the arrival of a new mobile phone, a vacation trip to Rio de Janeiro, the relief felt after having a phone stolen in a party.

2. Empathy and resoluteness generates satisfaction.

Empathy is the key feature of our “Lovers” team (the name we give to Piers customer service team) to try and understand the person behind each message. Treating people as individuals is not only a way to provide a pleasant service but also helps to respect the members of our community.

Empathy is critical to understanding the situation of our members and trying to help them even when the problem seems outside our ability to solve. This was Jakeline´s case, who just wanted to find damage protection and we indicated another company:

Beauty is when empathy meets resoluteness! The rule is to extrapolate which activity should be performed and to think about how to actually revolve the member’s problem. This was the case of Alex who couldn´t activate his protection and we asked him for an Uber to get home safely!

Alex´s assistance provided by Lucas Nunes, our dear Lover.

We take very seriously the satisfaction of our members at Pier and we use NPS to measure it at different points to ensure quality in any experience.

We understand that the most sensitive point is the refund request, so we are super happy to close 2019 with an NPS of 92% at that critical time.  Helping our members efficiently and empathically when they need it most is something that inspires us daily:

Bringing enchantment to this level throughout the journey is a daily challenge, but an effort that translates into competitive advantage in the long run. We believe that every disruption comes from customer desire and satisfaction. At that point, good is not enough and just the price is not enough. Nothing other than satisfaction generates voluntary and long-term retention.   

3. Technology as a core

Investing in the product and implementing a series of improvements is the best way to deliver a standalone that allows you to solve problems quickly.

In case members need to be assisted, our technology allows our lovers to be more efficient and, therefore they can invest their time to serve them with quality.

Currently, we have an entire team of technology dedicated to understanding “Lovers´” work and increase their efficiency with the evolution of internal systems. Do you know when you curse that system that´s not intuitive to use? Pier´s “Lovers” have the power to change the system they use. 

It is also the technology that evaluates data in real time and helps Pier make decisions. In 2019, we reached the mark of evaluating 100% of invitations automatically, in addition we created a series of automated scores that help at the time of reimbursement.

With an absolute focus on technology, we have created a company in which only 5 people can solve all the demands of our members and we can pay refunds in minutes!

4. Culture

Culture is the set of all actions that emerge from the company. It is essential that it is clear to align our team around a giant challenge. Strengthening and materializing our culture in 2019 was fundamental to spread our message through the 66 people who make up Pier today.

Hiring and the power of example

We finished 2018 with 10 people in the team and we finished 2019 with 61 people. By the way, there are already 66 of us! The spark of culture can only remain bright when we bring people to the company that has our culture but does not yet work at Pier. More than just adapting, you need to match, you know?

To achieve this, hiring correctly is essential and very laborious. I can say that Piers are fundamentally responsible for us reaching the end of this second year with so much good news and learning.

Culture must be intentionally strengthened through rituals that make our values tangible. Good people are the engine and our culture is the track of the entrepreneurial journey.

Good people arrive with the urge to get their hands dirty and deliver results. But before that we need to make sure they understand where they are and the size of our dreams. We restructured our onboarding, we started a more relaxed coffee routine between us, we made offsites. Even so, of all the solutions we searched for, I think we can say that one, very simple, is by far the most efficient: the example.

As a co-founder, I can say that this logic has increased the demand on me, and it has taken willingness and attention with my full-time example. We have built a place where everyone can and should have a voice; and at Pier no title/position is sovereign over the quality of actions and hierarchy of ideas.

Distributed working model

I am happy to say that this has been an intense year also in this sense and that we are indeed learning how to deal with our distributed working model. Living this working model allowed us to create the dream team and also that the people who work with us don’t have to give up living life the way they love the most. Moreover, the commitment of a happy person is incomparably greater than that of an unhappy person. Today we have 20 people at Pier who do not stay in the office or even in the city of São Paulo. Among them, all kinds of people, including some of our leaders.

The bold choice we made for our work model has helped us to build a sensational team and the geographic distance becomes more and more a detail of our coexistence. There are still many challenges, but there is nothing behind this construction. We even had a team that made Secret Santa distributed at the end of last year. We liked it so much that we are already wanting to do it with the whole company this year!

iii. Challenges


1. From a product to a company

In 2018 we were a team 100% focused on delivering a product with a sensational experience. Everyone answered the chat, criticized the product screens, discussed about the brand and even bought coffee. This approach was very important to bring the team together, increase understanding of the product and generate a strong connection with our community.

With the increase in the volume of access and activities, the will was no longer enough to enchant, it was necessary to define internal teams with clear indicators and targets.

We have implemented a management model (OKRs) and aligned all teams around the quarterly focus that we define as a company. We learned that more important than defining is to repeatedly communicate our goals: Everybody receives an email at 7am (Daily) with the previous day’s performance and religiously every Monday at 2pm, we have a 30 minute meeting to present our results from the last week and discuss action plans for goals that were not beaten.

With over 60 people, we need to think more about each other’s careers. We structure feedbacks, development plans and performance evaluation. We define leaders with responsibility to care for and develop people, we structured a legal and financial area.

We are constantly concerned not to lose the spirit of delivering the best possible experience to our members and creating this whole structure in parallel with the evolution of the product was a great challenge!

2. Maintaining quality with scale

When we compared Pier’s visitation data, on the day of greatest access in 2019 we had almost the same number of visits as in the entire year 2018. The volume of surveys, questions and feedback increased exponentially.

That little mistake that went unnoticed started to generate turbulence in the company! Controlling the experience of each service, individualizing each reimbursement case became a big challenge.

I personally paid the first 100 Pier refunds in the initial 14 months of the company. Currently in two weeks we’ve reached this volume and we need a team that analyzes and pays the refunds. We believe that the full experience is a set of products, brand, culture, understanding of the journey, tone of voice and processes. It is a great challenge to deliver this level of context and, with the increase in volume, it is natural to appear errors in some of these points that can undermine the member experience.

Improving the process is the way to reduce the percentage of failures and maintain a manageable absolute volume. However, we do not want to compromise the individualization of cases and generate standardized experiences. This balancing point between individualization and standardization is a constant challenge!

3. Transparency overload

” Radically adopting truth and transparency brings more meaning to both work and relationships” – Ray Dalio, in Principles

In all Pier actions we think about the information available and try to explain it as clearly as possible. This transparency is only bearable when you have a strong core: doing the right thing.

For example, while insurance companies use asterisks to say what they don’t cover, here at Pier we use the prime area of our website to make it explicit that we do not cover physical damage, losses or occurrences outside Brazil:

This transparency often leads to distorted comparisons between our protection (no deductible, with clear coverage and exclusions) and other insurers who do not clearly explain the terms. We make a great effort to help our members make the best decision – which sometimes is not to hire Pier at all.

Another important point is about the depreciation of the values of the devices: We created the PIPE Table, we made clear the value of the device on the app and the process of updating the values is VERY transparent to our members.

While all insurers reduce the amount of reimbursement, they continue charging the same price to customers and only inform in small print about this depreciation, here at Pier we consider it fair to reduce the monthly fees proportionally at the time of depreciation and inform one month in advance for all members.

And as incredible as it may seem, this is one of the worst moments for our operation that is bombarded with doubts and criticism.

4. 2020: Shifting the largest insurance market

Throughout this year, we want to carry with us the dream of providing an amazing insurance for people, even if our community grows on a gigantic scale. So, continuing to surprise is essential to us and we are preparing to put automated refunds into practice. With the help of the data, we will be able to identify cases where everything is as expected, and those people will be able to receive even faster refunds. In the short term, we want to beat our own record of 5 minutes.

Another important highlight for 2020 is that we will finally launch our long-awaited car insurance. We consider that we are ready to enter the largest insurance market in Brazil and take lightness and softness to the lives of even more people. Protecting assets of greater value was our dream and we are very happy to fulfill this desire this year.

As this is a very complex product, especially from an operational point of view, we want to start small and learn. We´ve chosen Belo Horizonte to introduce our car insurance in the first months of the year. 

The expectation for the year is very good. We want to continue counting on you, our community, we want to keep surprising and launch another incredible product.

See you next time!

Finally, we are happy to share our results seeking maximum transparency and clarity of information. We would like to thank the members who have cleared up questions, been involved in contributing feedback and have helped us in the difficult mission of building something completely new.

Haven’t we been clear enough? Just ask in the chat, we answer 100% of the questions 

*Article written by Igor Mascarenhas, CEO of Pier.
*Thanks to Erica Mansberger.

** Para ler esse artigo em português clique aqui

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