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Keep Them Coming Back for More

Now more than ever, carriers need to focus on keeping today's skeptical customer satisfied.

Customer Segmentation

One example is Travelers Property Casualty (Hartford). "Our customer retention strategy starts with our ability to know who our customers are, segment them into groups and then create [marketing] strategies for the groups," says Sharon Steers, national director of marketing, personal lines, Travelers. The insurer's most valuable policyholders, when it comes to this strategy, are its newest customers, she says. This may be because the carrier already has invested in acquiring the customer, but will not reap a profit until the policyholder relationship is a few years old.

Other factors, including the number of years a policyholder has been with the carrier, the amount of premium spent and payment behaviors, are factored into the insurer's proprietary algorithm during its monthly segmentation process. Travelers uses this segmented data as part of a customer loyalty-building strategy it markets to its independent agent force, according to Steers.

Travelers' One-to-One Program uses an automated system that facilitates snail mailings from agents to their policyholders. The system is made possible by a partnership the carrier has forged with Moore Wallace Response Marketing Services (Bannockburn, Ill.). Independent agents who opt-in to the program must pay for membership that provides them access to a system made accessible via a link from Travelers' agent Web site. Once participating agents gain access to the site, they are met with their particular customers' data, which has been segmented. This data had previously been encrypted and populated in the system by Travelers. Because policyholders have been broken into marketing segments, agents can choose which correspondences they would like to have sent to which groups or individuals.

"There are mailings for new customers and mailings that are timed to a policyholder's lifecycle for when they may be shopping for insurance," according to Steers. "We have this process in place to help agents increase customer retention. It allows them to add optional mailings for account-rounding opportunities."

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