Could rewards programs ignite wholesale marketing?

by Jill Gregorie30 Oct 2015
Remember green stamps? The small gummed paper rectangles that, when licked and stuck in a book, would get you a set of glasses, a hairdryer or maybe even a plush toilet seat cover? That may seem like a long time ago, and of course there are more modern equivalents nowadays offered by most credit card companies. But it looks like as an industry, we’ve forgotten them, and their mysterious power over collectors.


A new poll has found that three out of four consumers would change insurance companies to participate in a loyalty rewards program, and brokers have their fingers crossed that carriers and wholesalers will get the message.
“I would agree,” said Keith Izsak, manager, Affinity Insurance. “As we get into a more competitive market with other brokers and direct writers, we need to concentrate on what we do offer over and above what we would consider to be great service, which nowadays only gets you so far.”
Izsak says that one of his markets used to offer an air miles reward program, but unexpectedly put an end to it for unknown reasons. Still, he feels that carriers could put more effort into helping advisors retain their “stickiness” with clients, particularly as they are constantly bombarded with opportunities to purchase coverage elsewhere.
“They pay premiums and are always looking to get something out of those premiums, especially if the policy has never been used,” Izsak said. “The peace-of-mind part of it is starting to wear a little thin.”
While Izsak does acknowledge that policyholders can receive rebates for maintaining a good driving record, he feels that this doesn’t provide the same psychological pull that a reward does.
“Getting a discount or change in policy terms just isn’t the same as something tangible that tells the consumer, ‘Listen. You’re not just buying a policy, but entering an air miles program or other client reward program,’” he said.
The CMO (Chief Marketing Officer) Council recently found that 21% of consumers who learn that their insurance company has initiated additional products or services reach out to their carriers to enroll or learn more about the offering. As a result, Entertainment Corporate Marketing Solutions suggests that carriers employ a “tiered system” where the rewards are continually made more valuable as customers purchase more policies or upgrade their existing coverage.
“With the help of a customized loyalty rewards program that focuses on building awareness while adding unmatched value through targeted benefits, insurance companies can keep their customers from switching policies,” it advises.
So far, though, insurance companies and brokerages don't appear to be acting on what could be a powerful marketing incentive. Linda Collins, vice president of corporate communications for Arthur J Gallagher, which has operations in 140 countries, said she does not believe any of the Gallagher companies offer a rewards program. She said she has been involved in the global Insurance Marketing Communications Association (IMCA) for more than a decade and had never heard the subject come up. A spokesperson for IMCA also said she is unaware of any insurance company or brokerage offering a rewards program.

Could this be a new opportunity for your business? And do you know of anyone offering this kind of loyalty program? Let us know in the comments or on the forum.