Posts Tagged ‘Business Overhead Expense’ recently published excerpts from a recent LIMRA report  which surveyed executives at leading insurance companies, which at first glance does not look very promising.

But as marketers of life insurance products through the association / affinity channel, the news may not be as dire.  The middle market and bank market has continued to grow and the majority of those surveyed felt this trend will continue.  The challenge for marketers is how to reach that middle market, particularly in a direct response model.  Organizations that cater to this market are prime candidates for business relationships.

We would like to hear from you: what market segments are you finding success with life insurance sales and what products are most successful?

A business like an automobile, has to be driven, in order to get results-B.C. Forbes

George Bode

In Part One of “Cross Selling: Are You Maximizing Your Potential”, we focused on the value of the “welcome call” when trying to cross sell or upsell/upgrade a new insured.  In this post we will discuss the value of statement stuffers and “on bill”  offers for cross selling.  We are working off the premise that every billing statement presents a very cost effective opportunity to market additional products; therefore,  a billing stuffer in every premium notice. We are all very aware that retention levels increase when insureds have multiple lines of coverage.

Statement stuffers for purposes of this discussion will be defined as pieces included in the billing statement that has a description of  the product being offered with a specific marketing message, an offer, a call to action and a  form or application that needs to be filled out and returned  for underwriting or activation of coverage.  Statement stuffers can be used with both guarantee issue and underwritten products. 

“On bill” offers take advantage of technology and includes the product being cross sold on the bill with the new benefit and additional premium illustrated-the call to action is for the insured to check a box to opt for the coverage and  sign the bill,  and pay the additional premium.  Coverage is  automatically then  issued.  A letter describing the product should be used, and this type of offer will only work with guarantee issue products since the insured is activating coverage directly on the bill by checking the box and paying the additional premium.  On bill offers have greater success due to the ease and customization of the offer; however, when cross selling it does limit the products that can be sold do to the fact that the product must be guarantee issue.

What we like to refer to as the “marketing triumvirate”, that is: the ”list” is the most import indicator of a successful campaign, followed by “the offer” , and finally “creative”, applies to cross selling as well.  The good news is, when cross selling to existing insureds, you have the perfect list–they are already a customer, you know what coverages they have already, and you have all the pertinent information to make a meaningful offer.

Therefore, cross sell offers should really compliment the product that is being billed.  For instance, Business Overhead Expense, is a product that naturally cross sells well to a disability insured.  The copy should clearly explain the difference between business expenses and personal expenses, and how both policies can cover both exposures.  As with any direct marketing piece, the greater the customization to the recipient, e.g., premium illustrated based on insureds age, the greater the response.   In the previous post we provide other examples of logical cross sell products.

Finally, if your budget permits-consider testing your creative-color pieces vs. black and white, or pieces with and without pictures, etc., you may find it has little or no impact on response, or your groups may respond better to different creative.  Bottom line is the offer is the most important element you can control.  Therefore, be sure to make a meaningful offer with a clear call to action.

While we advocate cross selling with every billing statement, you will obviously need to change offers and products offered to ensure freshness in your approach.  You are also in a great position since  you are in control of the  “list” to ensure meaningful benefits are presented, thus greater increasing your chances for success.

We would be happy to speak to you further about cross selling or other marketing ideas.  Please feel free to comment on this post with any information that may be helpful to the other readers.

Please be sure to check back for Part 3 which will focus on “upselling / upgrading”.

George Bode

Plan the sale when you plan the ad – Leo Burnett

It is often said, “your greatest prospects are your current clients”, and in today’s economy and increased competition from a multitude of distribution sources (Internet, direct response marketers, traditional agents, etc.) one could argue this comment was never more accurate. Acquisition marketing / sales, especially for those agencies or third party administrators engaged in direct response marketing is becoming more challenging and certainly more expensive.  Marketing pieces are competing for the recipients attention with stacks of other pieces arriving daily in the mailbox.  Response rates in many segments have been on the decline while postal expenses and printing and letter-shop services have increased in price.  Does this mean we should be abandoning the direct response model?  Certainly not, it just means we need to be smarter in our efforts and look for ways to increase the “wallet share” of individual insureds.

This post will be focusing on “welcome calls”, and is part 1 of a series of strategies and tactics that can help an agency or third party administrator maximize their revenue potential with each individual they insure. 

Welcome calls can be very effective way to cross sell additional products or services in a very non threatening way.  For those agencies and third party administrators that do not use a traditional sales force, this would be done telephonically.  Traditional agencies have used the delivery of the policy as a time and place to cross sell other products, therefore, this is similar is nature, but since it is being done telephonically, it is tactically different.

After the agency or third party administrator learns that an applicant has been approved for coverage, and they are ready to mail the fulfillment materials (policy/certificate and premium notice), a call should be made to the new insured notifying them that they have been approved and your call is to welcome them into the the plan and let the new insured know that the fulfillment materials are going to be sent and that a review of all the particulars are in order, i.e., coverage amounts, beneficiary information, mailing address, etc.  This should be done in a very non threatening way really focusing on the “welcome” portion of the call. 

Once all the information has been verified, the agent should then bring up a special offer for additional coverage or another product or service that is complimentary to the one that was just applied for and approved.  Guarantee issue products work best, since the transaction can take place over the phone supplemented by a fax/email for signature (if necessary).  The idea is to then notify the new insured, that you will be sending them the policy/certificate along with the original policy/certificate for which they were approved.  Keeping it as seamless as possible is key.

The following is a short list of potential cross sells that can work very well with welcome calls:

  1. AD&D to a New Life Insured: if policy limits allow-suggest Double Indemnity coverage;
  2. Accident Disability to a New Disability Insured: additional coverage to help close the gap in the issue and participation limits;
  3. Guarantee Issue Life to a New Disability Insured: work with your life carrier to allow you to offer a set amount e.g., $100,000 for a new Disability Insured with a simple attestation statement that the insureds health hasn’t changed since time of completing the Disability application;
  4. Hospital Income Protection (HIP) to New Disability Insured: position it as extra coverage during elimination period if insured is in the hospital;
  5. Additional Life Insurance to a New Life Insured: for example- if the new insured applied for and was approved for $300,000, but actually there was enough underwriting done to issue up to $500,000, a counter offer could be made on the spot offering the additional coverage.  This takes coordination with the underwriting company, but if it is positioned as: “based on your health background, you can qualify for up to $200,000 of additional insurance”, this can be highly successful as most people like to hear they are healthy and it can spark the impulse to buy additional coverage. 

Like any sales strategy, welcome calls will take time to hone, however, it is well worth the effort to begin implementing this process into your work flow.  If you are interested in learning more about this topic, please do not hesitate to contact us and would be happy to talk to you about this further.

Also, if you have any comments, suggestions, or success stories, please feel free to share.

George Bode

And while the law of competition may be sometimes hard for the individual, it is best for the race, because it ensures the survival of the fittest in every department.—-Andrew Carnegie

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