As seen on TV: Insurance purchase takes 15 minutes or less!

Lori Bahnmueller 04/22/14 - 3:45 pm

Property and casualty insurance is complicated, serious and pricey. It’s also intangible. Policies don’t instantly make life easier, prettier or more comfortable. But insurance is critical for anyone who owns a car, home, business or anything of significant market value. Without it, you risk losing everything to chance.

Then how did a gecko get the job of marketing one of the nation’s largest insurance companies? And a toothy, apron-clad, retro-perkster become the public face of another?

Because insurance is complicated, serious and pricey. And it’s highly competitive.

To create consumer preference, or at the very least, consideration, insurance carriers have adopted unique and unconventional brand personalities. Here a pig, there a duck everywhere a cave man.

And to make it easier for consumers to shop and compare—particularly with the increasing popularity of Internet commerce—insurance has become commoditized, stuffed in boxes and marked down 15 percent. I’ll take the one with a single-family dwelling, no pool, two sedans and a crossover, plus one recreational boat and a teenage driver, please.

Except it’s not that simple. Insurance policies are as unique as the families they cover. It’s a high-involvement purchase decision that takes more than a price gun and the time investment of a coffee break. It requires a conversation. And more often, several conversations.

This little lady went to market, armed with research

In a recent Brogan Talks to Women survey, 72 percent of respondents said they consulted with a family member or friend before making an insurance policy decision. Of the 127 people who responded to the informal survey, 34 percent had consulted with an insurance agent, 17 percent sought the recommendation of an association or club and 16 percent researched industry ratings.

Price was selected most among important factors influencing purchase (73 percent), with “trusted brand” ranked as second most important (55 percent), followed by “fast, fair claims service” (28 percent), “consistent, stable premium history,” (28 percent) and “my agent’s advice” (25 percent). In fact, 68 percent of those surveyed still work directly with an insurance agent.

The majority of those surveyed—72 percent—have remained loyal to their carrier for at least the last three years, and 47 percent have not switched carriers in more than six years. That jibes with a 2011 Deloitte Research survey of auto and homeowner insurance policyholders.

The online survey of 1,080 policyholders found nearly a quarter said they never shop for alternatives to auto insurance, and 27 percent said they never shop for a new homeowners policy at renewal. The Insurance Information Institute says only about one in 10 drivers actually switch policies annually, a level that’s been consistent for a decade—even with the big ad push over the last decade plus.

Such loyalty is notable considering more than $6 billion was spent on advertising for automotive insurance alone in 2012 (Wall Street Journal). Geico, Progressive, State Farm and Allstate now rank among the nation’s 20-most advertised brands, outspending popular consumer-product giants such as Budweiser, Coca-Cola and Home Depot, according to USA Today.

There’s nothing like a pig flying along a zipline to jazz up an insurance pitch, especially when sweetened with a honey-glazed discount. It’s funny. It’s share-worthy. But it doesn’t send me to the market to come all the way home with a new policy. What about you?

Blog Category: Marketing to Women

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