December 11, 2015

Want to know what the other insurance marketers are doing?

By Paul Laughlin

Citypoint Google Image SearchInsurance Marketing & Distribution Summit Europe 2015” proved to be a great event.

There were interesting speakers, a range of topics & plenty of opportunity for interaction. Plus, it was a pleasure to share with this group myself, more on that later.

Following previous reviews, of events that were useful for getting close to leaders on whom insight leaders focus less (IT, Digital, CX), I was back with Marketing & Sales. Probably, the primary customer for most insurance insight teams is their marketing leader. So, I hope it’s helpful to hear the thoughts & plans of a number of leaders from Insurance marketing community.

Here are my memories of key messages from these insurance marketers:

  • Marco Brandt (Agila) shared on their journey from being a broker based Pet insurer to focussing on internet channel. They were clear on their USP, brand identity and consistency of messaging across channels. They also used digital capabilities for personalisation of comms & pricing. Perhaps the biggest opportunity for them though, was to use their digital communication & free content to dramatically increase the number of touch-points with their customers (a recurring theme). They have a strong sorry to tell in growth of customer satisfaction & premium income (doubling in 5 years). Their next, self identified, challenge is to embrace mobile.
  • Stephan Dequaire (Towergate) provided a review of the growth of price comparison sites in UK car insurance industry. I was surprised how much Compare the Market now dominates above even MSM & Go Compare. It was also interesting to see how much this model varies across the world. Even excluding the US, intermediaries (including tied agents) are more the norm across Europe, together with larger share for Bancassurers. Some research suggests the shine is coming off them though, with even consumer advice sites also pointing to direct insurers too. What was more shocking was to hear how a consumer advice site suggests consumers lie about data to get a better price (‘optimising your job title’ etc). It really brought home the erosion of consumer trust in UK market especially.
  • Phil Bayles (Aviva) then complimented this view by reminding us that across Aviva & insurance as a whole, the intermediary channel still provides largest profit & volume. There was also a nice segway into my later talk by stressing how over 25% of management time was now taken up by Conduct Risk agenda. The challenge with succeeding with your intermediary channel (inc. IFAs) is that they deal with you day in day out. You can’t persuade them with some catchy or emotive brand advertising, if the service experience doesn’t match. As well as showing us a trophy cabinet of which Aviva is rightly proud, Phil stressed the need for a focus on adviser satisfaction, ease & fixing problems identified quickly. With a declared strategy to be “No. 1 for Brokers”, there is no where to hide if tracking does not match up. TNPS scores suggest they are well on the way.
Do you neglect #IntermediaryChannel? Can #AdviserInsight improve their #experience? Click To Tweet
  • Simon Green (The FCA) opened a new theme, focussing on regulation. It was interesting to hear their director for all general insurance lines stress how much he welcomed meeting with the insurance marketing community. Familiar themes emerged through Simon’s presentation, including focus on embedding in culture, looking for systematic market-wide issues & the continual mantra of the of consistently delivering good outcomes for customers. He also referenced their behavioural economics expertise influencing policy & reviews, as well as the important role of technology innovation. On that topic it was good to hear the reference to “regulatory sandbox” and encouragement to participate in Project Innovate.
  • Pollyanna Deane (Simmons & Simmons) brought legal expertise to our proceedings and picked up on a number of pieces of pending regulation that Simon had mentioned. Increased regulatory scrutiny was once more a theme with an analysis of the likely impact of Insurance Distribution Directive. She also referenced the changes being made at each stage and the risk of European Insurance & Occupational Pensions Authority (EIOPA) becoming a third regulator for UK insurers!
  • I then presented on Customer Insight & Conduct Risk. Sharing a number of the lessons learnt from training insurance marketing teams on using customer insight to mitigate conduct risk. This including briefly covering Consumer Spotlight, Behavioural Economics & Vulnerable Customers. I’m pleased to say there was considerable interest afterwards as marketing leaders could see the benefits of more focus on conduct & embedding insight in their processes.
Do you embed #CustomerInsight into #marketing processes? How do you embed in your #culture? Click To Tweet
  • Louis de Broglie (InsPeer) focused on innovation. He explained the interesting concept on which his start-up, InsPeer is based. Returning to the insurance origins, of mutuality & governance in community, he provides consumers with a way to pool their excesses. Only available in France for now, this unregulated solution combines purchase of high-excess cover from an insurer with a community who contract to cover a proportion of others excess in the event of a claim. This results in lower premium & zero excess for each individual, as well as social pressure on claim veracity and lower claims frequency for the insurer. The next stage is intended to be peer-to-peer insurance, akin to the evolving models from Guevara in the UK and others worldwide. Given the explosive growth of Uber & AirBnb, it seems likely some model of peer-to-peer disruption will take off.
  • Monika Schulze (Zurich) returned us to the theme of greater engagement through marketing. Her recurrent theme was the importance of emotion. Using your brand & an emotionally engaging narrative, consistently across your channels to provoke positive responses & engagement from consumers. Inspired by “Transmedia Branding”, through a number of impactful videos and examples of clever use of social media, Monika really brought this to life. Perhaps the most surprising one of this event was about Lidl selling milk in Sweden. Through active monitoring of Facebook comments, Lidl spotted that a Swede called Bosse had commented that he didn’t want to buy German milk. They used this as a chance to humanise their brand and renamed their milk across Sweden as “Bosse’s Milk“, including a photo of him & explanation that it is Swedish milk. This action in response to an individual captured the public imagination & impacted sales. Some great examples of fleet of foot & creative marketers using emotional advertising (checkout Zurich’s #SaveThe Snowmen).
  • Gordon Rutherford (Axa) also stressed the importance of emotional communication in brand engagement. Together with a warning against being one of those needy brands who are basically using social media to say ‘please love me’. He highlighted the impact of finding a noble cause to really make a difference & impact brand sentiment. Domestic have done this well with their free provision to clean festival toilets & sanitation provision in the developing world. An Axa example is their “glass of consciousness” exhibitions in Mexico, to engage the public with the need to change attitudes to drink driving. Once again, a way to humanise a brand & engage your own employees with making a social difference.
How #emotional is your story? Have you discovered #TransmediaBranding? Click To Tweet
  • Edward Rice (AIG) shared their progress in digital transformation. Beyond just digital as a marketing channel, to reengineering your business & particularly customers’ experiences. As he rightly highlighted these are set not by the current low bar of insurance industry but by the personalised digital ease they experience from other retailers.  Ed shared the useful guide of HBR’s “7 steps to better Customer Experience”. Then he shared numerous examples of how, once you have the basics delivered consistently, you can surprise and delight your customers with personalisation & relevance. On interesting example was marketing by Boden & EasyJet which plays back to customers their journey with your brand, demonstrating remembering their past purchases and an apparent growing understanding. Ed also touched on the power of responding to one individual on social media as a way to humanise your brand & be playful. Plus the space for innovation in helping protect customers, beyond advice & timely warnings, to reducing the likelihood of an event.
  • Isabelle Conner (Generali) explained the huge cultural transformation that she is leading there. Transforming a 184 year old business from product-centric to customer-centric. Putting the customers & distribution at the heart of everything we do, as Generali put it. She again stressed the importance of emotional brand marketing & reminded us all that we are in an ideal position to do this, with insurance being about both protecting what people love & being there when the traumatic happens. But, as Isabelle rightly stressed, that is about changing the customer experience reality & internal brand reality, not just broadcasting a message. Perhaps the most impactful part of this was when she shared with us videos of Generali’s CEOs from Spain, Switzerland & France calling customers who left detractor NPS ratings. It is so important to include timely response & resolution in your NPS metric programmes, but even more impactful for your culture once you engage CEOs down in the experience.
  • Stephen Ingledew (Standard Life), although not an insurer, shares many of our challenges in the world of retirement savings,investment & income solutions. Building on the principles others had shared previously, Stephen added the importance of customer engagement in redesigning improved experiences. He shared some details of co-creation sessions and agile development. The latter being not just an approach to IT development but also a mindset of continual learning & iteration. Some of his example online tools also included elements of gamification, which is helpful for consumers in the baffling world of ‘pension reform’ choices. The brand approach of #ReadyWhenUAre nicely balances a range of enablers with avoiding being paternalistic. Another critical customer need in this area is education, but how to do it in a way that is neither boring nor patronising? The selection of Steph & Dom from Gogglebox to host a series of videos to chat in the pub about the issues was inspired & one can see what it has gone viral.
How much do you #listen to your #customers? Do you work with them to #cocreate? Click To Tweet
  • Zach Goren (Media Alpha) brought the world of west coast US innovation to our conference. His business is helping UA auto insurers, amongst others, to buy targeted ‘in market’ customer leads in real time rather than relying on mass market advertising through Google (where insurance keywords cost a fortune). It is basically an innovation on the traditional market of selling unconverted quotes, but doing this in real time and staying on the insurers site. So, the insurer becomes both a seller themselves & a seller of advertising space to competitors, especially where customer details show this person is unlikely to convert. Real opportunities for offering more choice to consumer & repositioning the proposition.
  • James Baker (Vitality) leads Insight there and helps their brand understand how to bring about behavioural change in their customers. They have an interesting proposition, which is health insurance plus helping motivate you to not need it, through rewards for a healthier lifestyle. This gives more opportunity for engagement with insurance customers & tangible value back on your policy (many insurers would love to achieve either). Their insight, built on a hybrid segmentation of FSS & behavioural analytics, has identified 2 barriers they need to help customers overcome w.r.t. ‘wellness’: (i) low interest category; (ii) low engagement with action. A number of actions & rewards, under the concepts of “we’ll be there for you” and “we’ll make it more rewarding to be well in the first place“, have driven significant engagement & behaviour change. Ideally placed to exploit wearables & other IoT innovation, given the importance of employers & employee benefit consultants to their business, they can also demonstrate benefits in reduced absenteeism.
Could #engagement with your #insurance customers help them make #BehaviouralChanges? Click To Tweet
  • David Stevens (LV=) brought to life the complex world of automated advice in the pensions/retirement income sector. They have innovated with so called ‘robo-advice’ (although their process also includes a human interaction before executing).Their innovation with Wealth Wizards (whom they acquired) and breaking down the steps into manageable chunks should really help more customers face doing this. With the high cost of advice, too many of the public are not engaging with such an intangible service. A fixed price of £199 to get personalised options after an automated fact find is much more accessible & communicated in an emotionally warm & less threatening way. Once again you can see the influences of both personalisation & gamification in their communication. The style of comms & ease of playing with the tools also contribute to humanising insurance (as does clear fixed pricing).
  • Adam Kornick (Aviva) heads up their global analytics capability & shared how they are using predictive analytics in pricing & risk modelling. An important reminder that price is the primary selection criteria consumers cite with insurance, so personalised pricing matters every bit as much, if not more than personalised comms. One of their key innovations has been to build on the individual price for quoting (based on captured & average data) that others have done for Home insurance and extend it across their range plus combine with Next Best action. This enables them to put in front of customers, the price for a product which they are most likely to buy next (when also considering price competitiveness). It was also interesting to hear of their progress in broker analytics, another reminder as to the importance of the intermediary channel & how predictive analytics can help their too.

Phew, well done for making it to the end of this post! As, I’ve highlighted in colour above, key themes I took away are: personalisation; emotions; humanising insurance; more frequent engagement through communication; innovations; the continued importance of intermediary channel.

Hope all those topics & ideas were useful. Feel free to share the insurance marketers’ innovations you are managing to inspire from customer insight. We’d love to hear them.

Meanwhile, as promised, you can download a free copy of my presentation here. If you’re very interested you can also listen to the audio here: