Brand InAs­sur­ance

Opin­ion:

Insurance - - BRANDING - by Samir Dixit

Are in­surance com­pa­nies for­get­ting about their core busi­ness model? Are they for­get­ting about emo­tional en­gage­ment with the brand? Are they for­get­ting about cus­tomer loy­alty and re­wards? Are the in­surance brands pro­vid­ing mere as­sur­ance to their cus­tomers over some­thing more mean­ing­ful and more en­gag­ing?

Brand build­ing and brand man­age­ment in the In­surance sec­tor has ex­treme chal­lenges. Cus­tomers are only look­ing for as­sur­ance to­wards when the day comes and when they will have to use their pol­icy, they can get the in­surance claim with­out many prob­lems. And yes, sadly enough, they are men­tally pre­pared for some de­lay and road­blocks to their claims.

Most com­pa­nies in their urge to dif­fer­en­ti­ate them­selves have fur­ther com­pounded the brand is­sues by cat­e­goris­ing them­selves as “Fi­nan­cial Ser­vices” and that has left them nei­ther here, not there.

Clearly there is very lit­tle cus­tomer affin­ity for In­surance brands. In­surance brands have a very con­trac­tual, func­tional and fi­nan­cial brand as­so­ci­a­tion vs. an emo­tional one. The role of in­ter­me­di­aries and agents has fur­ther di­luted the cus­tomer re­la­tion­ship with the in­surance brands.

The role of in­ter­me­di­aries is en­vi­able due to the de­gree of con­trol they have on the end cus­tomer. Yet, noth­ing can be done about it as hav­ing sales forces that large would put the sur­vival of the In­surance com­pa­nies at risk.

All th­ese trans­late into growth strug­gle, mar­ket share de­clines, re­duced loy­alty, lack of emo­tional en­gage­ment and trust with the brand, no re­peat pur­chases.

How can all this be changed, or can it be changed? The an­swer is most def­i­nitely yes. Hav­ing a good sense of KPI and ROI for the agent fra­ter­nity and a ro­bust cost ben­e­fit anal­y­sis for agents will pro­vide the in­dus­try with star­tling re­sults.

If the agents are not help­ing in build­ing the brand, are prov­ing to be a bar­rier to growth and take away a large part of rev­enue as com­mis­sions, then they need to be ring-fenced in some way to help drive a brand agenda as well.

As much as the agents are a bar­rier, they can be con­verted to an or­gan­i­sa­tional as­set where they are not just help­ing drive as­sur­ance but brand in­surance. The ques­tion re­mains, how? Well, their KPI and ROI mea­sures need to in­cor­po­rate the $ value they have man­aged to con­trib­ute to the brand and not just the sales num­bers and sales value. With a proper strate­gic brand val­u­a­tion ex­er­cise and un­der­stand­ing the value that the agents drive, one can eas­ily shape things for the brand ad­van­tage. i

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