Katie Jameson is the Head of EMEA Marketing at Act-On Software
When it comes to handling and interpreting data, the insurance sector has often been at the forefront. It was one of the first to start hiring staff specifically to manage databases – something which is now a familiar practice – and has a model almost exclusively assembled around statistics and understanding its customers.
Despite this, insurers haven’t been as quick to adopt marketing automation. For many, the notion of adapting and personalising communications across an expansive target audience spanning across a varied number of different generations, niches and products is still an enormous test.
Because of the huge sum of variables, from renewal dates to individual customer knowledge, switching over from manual processes can sometimes seem like an almost futile job.
But the insurance sector is one that could profit considerably from marketing automation, which can help providers improve lead generation and adjust the journey to the respective needs of each customer.
To cut through the noise and successfully market to prospects, insurers and sales teams, communications need to be bespoke for each recipient. The term marketing automation can often make people think of mass emails, but it is much more than that. Marketing automation shines the brightest when it comes to personalisation, and both artificial and predictive intelligence will play a bigger and bigger part in this space over the coming years.
Marketing automation platforms can help process databases and produce significant insights for the many segments insurance companies target, like when customers are online and what their favourite channels are. A good platform must then be capable of turning this insight and segmentation into action, by using the customer data to accommodate communications in the best way.
Doing this converts into higher sales effectiveness, more inbound and outbound leads, and increased customer loyalty, all while reducing the work involved and the demand for expensive reporting.
It can be combined with many other aspects of marketing too. A properly adaptive journey not only incorporates email, but also involves the customer via SMS, banner and social media ads – wherever it will work best for them. A good multi-channel marketing strategy in itself can be a way for insurance companies to diversify themselves, making their messages seem more appropriate and timely than those of their competitors, and at the same time supporting the brand direction.
Real world results
Physicians Insurance, a provider of liability insurance for clinics, physicians and hospitals in the US, has been marketing to new buyers to counter the recent the decline of physicians leaving independent practices to work for large clients and hospitals with its own self-insurance programmes. It found its previous software couldn’t keep up with demand, and failed to deliver targeted content that addressed the specific needs of each buyer.
With a large chunk of its revenue coming from maintaining its core book of business, the company decided that retaining customers, and using a more relational approach, was a critical component of its strategy.
To do this, the insurer distributed three monthly newsletters. The first supplied resources to help companies curtail the risk of medical errors, the second delivered thought-leadership pieces, and the third was shared with brokers to educate them and aid in servicing clients. Through marketing automation, the company was able to segment the audience by job title, specialty, geographic region and even size of clinics, and the lists were synced automatically to ensure the company’s huge database was always up to date.
Physicians Insurance then tailored the content in the newsletters to each group, making it easier to alert administrators to potential cyber threats and even offer obstetricians online courses about new developments in managing post-partum hemorrhages. Overall, marketing automation cut down Physicians Insurance’s time consuming operations and tackled managing and segmenting their lists manually. It also had a major impact on the results, helping the company achieve a 95 percent customer retention rate – considerably higher than the industry median of 84 percent – and driving open as high as 31 percent for existing clients.
Furthermore, marketing automation gave insights to help build on their marketing strategy. Act-On tracked and assessed how and when buyers interacted with messages so Physicians Insurance was able to build and adapt strategies depending on their audience segments, providing more detailed insights.
And in the UK, RSA Insurance – one of the world’s longest standing insurers – used Act-On and marketing automation to break through the noise of their brokers and risk managers’ inboxes as it found its previous system sent emails straight into “junk mail” folders. Like Physicians Insurance, RSA Insurance’s former method of marketing was time consuming, difficult and lacked a strategic plan based on analytics.
RSA Insurance used marketing automation to create and deliver professional emails and landing pages simply and clearly. Its ability to A/B test and report on email performance enabled RSA Insurance to further refine their emails and messaging, which resulted in an increase in open and click-through rates across its various email campaigns.
The results show why automation is set to become an essential strategy for insurers to approach the right clients and nurture the right prospects, all while maneuvering through the highly competitive insurance market.
It may well be argued that the future across all sectors is adaptive and personalised, and the insurance industry won’t be an exception.
Katie Jameson is the Head of EMEA Marketing at Act-On Software, a leading provider of marketing automation and one of the fastest growing tech companies in North America. She has previously implemented, integrated and executed programmes on a variety of marketing automation platforms at industry leading companies such as Symantec, Paywizard, and ResponseTap.
THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS OF TRADERS TRADING FROM HOME
Steve Haworth, CEO of TeleWare Group
Banks had hoped to keep their London trading floors open amid the worsening coronavirus pandemic, insisting traders were “key workers”. But trading floors were quickly cleared and employees sent to work from home in isolation.
Firms needed to quickly adapt to remote working. This meant recreating the carefully monitored environment of the trading floor at thousands of sites.
With major disruption across the entire sector, it seems the Financial Conduct Authority felt no other choice but to relax regulations on recording calls. But does this measure introduce more problems than it solves?
Why call recordings are regulated
Whilst regulations differ globally, authorities in the UK, US and Hong Kong have long required trading floor phone calls to be recorded for certain activities.
In the UK, the FCA demands financial institutions keep records of all trades and transactions related to certain types of business for at least six months. Recording calls and reporting trades are essential to the regulators’ ability to monitor the markets for abuse, such as insider trading. Requirements to record calls apply to companies that receive and execute client orders to buy or sell in the financial markets.
Each trading floor in a financial firm also has its own set of policies which staff must abide by. For instance, the trading floor manager must ensure that all trade-based calls are recorded and monitored. An often-used policy that still exists is to ban all mobile phones on the trading floor. To enforce this, mobile phones are often stored in lockers and traders are required to use turrets to host calls.
Beyond call recording, most traders and salespeople need to sit together on a monitored trading floor in order to meet regulatory rules. A range of compliance complexities under GDPR, MiFID II and Dodd Frank have meant working from home has simply not been an option for many traders.
The rush to relax regulations
Traders are now required to work from home – if they can. The FCA has said it accepts that some scenarios may emerge where recording calls may not be possible. Adding that it expects companies to “consider what steps they could take to mitigate outstanding risks if they are unable to comply with their obligations to record voice recordings.” If financial services companies are unable to record calls they are then expected to “come up with a plan to fix the problem”.
Yet, trading firms have enough problems to solve without having to decipher call recording requirements. Why should traders spend extra time updating the FCA and coming up with an alternative solution when one already exists?
A smart alternative
Smart solutions – such as mobile call recording which meet global regulations – have perhaps been overlooked as a way to maintain business continuity.
Mobile voice recording technology (MVR) is not new. It has existed since 2011 and includes secure and reliable voice and SMS recording, easy to use conferencing and robust, accessible voicemail. It has matured over the years and proven itself to be flexible and highly reliable.
Technology can keep traders trading from wherever they are. Ensuring they can operate effectively at home while remaining compliant.
STOP THE CONFUSION: HOW TO KNOW IF YOUR BUSINESS MAY BE INSURED AGAINST COVID-19
By Alex Balcombe, Partner at Harris Balcombe
The last few weeks has seen businesses in hospitality, tourism, retail, leisure and more forced to close their doors following the Government’s orders that they should close to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
While this is expected to flatten the curve and reduce the number of coronavirus cases, it will of course have an impact on businesses and employees alike. For small businesses especially, there are many concerns about how they can claim on their insurance to weigh the fall of this impact.
In response to calls to help struggling businesses, the Government has informed the public that companies who are facing turmoil will be able to claim on their business interruption insurance during this difficult time. For most, this is wrong.
The insurance industry has also been extremely vocal that there is no cover for any coronavirus-hit businesses during this tough financial period. This isn’t strictly true either.
How can businesses see through the mixed messaging and best secure their future and their livelihoods and reduce money worries? It’s an extremely stressful time for many companies, and confusion over whether or not they can be covered can only cause more unnecessary stress.
Since it’s a new disease, most businesses will not be covered for business interruption due to COVID-19. In fact, the vast majority of policies do not cover anything related to COVID-19.
That said – don’t rule out the idea that you may be covered. There is a chance that you will be covered against COVID-19, but not know it. This is a very small chance, but your current cover may already protect your business against the consequences of coronavirus, and the nationwide response to it – though those with this cover are unlikely to realise it.
How Could I Be Covered?
Not everyone has business interruption insurance, as it’s not a legal requirement. It is entirely up to the policy holder to weigh up the benefits of having it, and their ability to trade should a disaster happen.
To be considered for cover for COVID-19, there are two types of policy extensions to your business interruption cover that can potentially cover you for this situation:
Infectious Disease Extension
Many policies expressly state which diseases fall within the realm of being an infectious or notifiable disease. If this is the case, your policy will not provide cover. As it is a new disease, these policies will not have included COVID-19.
Other infectious disease extension policies will define the disease with reference to the actions of the government. Since the UK Government has named COVID-19 as a notifiable disease throughout the UK, it is possible that your business may fall into this definition, thus meaning you may be able to make a claim.
However, again, it’s not always that simple. Many policies require the disease to have been on your premises, while others specify a radius from your premises in order to qualify.
Denial of Access Extension (non-damage)
Denial of Access Extension (non-damage) policies may cover you if you’re prevented from accessing your property. This could be due to an event, or by the actions of a competent authority, which could cause your business interruption cover to engage.
If covered by this clause, there are often very subtle differences in wording in your policy. This could depend on the insurer or policy. You may well be covered, but it will depend on your particular circumstances, and the specific policy wording.
It’s clear that the Government needs to do more in ensuring there is clear messaging for businesses, and to help the insurance market look after policy holders. This is an unprecedented situation, and with many people looking to claim on their insurance, we’re already seeing major delays which could have a domino impact.
People throughout the world are understandably facing all kinds of worries because of the current pandemic. Our ways of living have changed, and many business owners will not have experienced a situation like this in their life times. If you own a business and are unsure about whether you can claim for business interruption, or are confused about ambiguous wording, get in touch with a loss assessor.
These claims are not simple, but loss assessors will be experts in business interruption insurance, and will specialise in large and complex claims. They will be able to help and guide you along the way, check your wording and work on your behalf to make sure you get everything you are entitled to.
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