If the internet sages are to be believed, and who are we to argue, then we are currently living in the ‘Age of Experience’.
An age that places value on the things we do, over and above, it would seem the things we possess. Where the way in which we keep up with Joneses is not the new 58” TV, or the 4×4 on the drive, but the off-piste skiing trip you made to Val D’Isere, or the shark cage you spent time in off the coast of Cape Town.
In a sense, it’s reflective of the way our culture has changed in line with the evolution of social media. Look at Facebook, the feeds that are populated daily by the achievements of our kids, the holiday adventures, or even the recipes that we can follow via a funky video with quirky tunes. Food made sexy, accessible, and aspirational.
Platforms such as Snapchat have taken the idea a step further. Placing the value in the immediate experience – the sharing of what you’re doing, as you’re doing it – before disappearing all together, lost to memory and instantly replaced by the next big thing.
Lives being defined by the way we live it, or the way we try to get others to perceive it. From the 360 degree photos on Facebook, that allows your followers greater insight into your location, greater perspective of that awesome beach, and breath-taking sunset to the Live Feeds of Facebook Live or Periscope.
The concept of living in the moment, made a digitally real way of life.
So, what does it mean, if it means anything at all?
New Markets, New Niches?
Insuring yourself against an unforeseen incident that makes you miss an event or similar is nothing new. Travel insurance will cover you against a disruption to your holiday, covering health costs or loss of luggage, for instance. While you’re able to take out insurance when you purchase a ticket to a concert, should an incidence occur that means you miss it.
But these are policies that, historically, place the value on the more practical, financial aspect. Miss a concert, get the cost of the ticket paid back.
These are not policies that take the fact that you missed the show you were looking forward to into account.
But that’s because they pre-date the ‘Age of Experience’ – where there has become a tangible value placed upon the experience itself. Where there’s an emotional cost attached to THE FEAR OF MISSING OUT.
Does this mean, therefore, that new niches are emerging where new forms of insurance can accommodate this emotional cost. Can we place an insurable value on the effects of a lost experience?
Insurance, perhaps, that offers experiential compensation, rather than money. What if you had to miss the Ed Sheeran concert for some unplanned reason? Yes, you can get the refund on the tickets. But what if there’s a means to get a second chance; a policy that has the facility to get you to a show at an alternate date?
Internet, social media, and mobile technology – they’re not innovations that are involved in our lives, they’re innovations that are indelibly shaping them; changing cultural norms, and altering our traditional value systems.
The value of the personal experience, both as a status symbol and as a genuine measure of our lifestyles, is exponentially high. And, as with all things we value, then we want them protected. Be it the expensive car, the family home, or the emotional response (and opportunity to Instagram) that hike through the Andes.