Tagged 'insurance'

Insurance startup in South Africa promises premiums that keep reducing

King Price Insurance

Owning a car is practically a necessity in South Africa, although the government is trying in many ways to build a more accessible and reliable public transport system. Now with fuel prices at a record high and the introduction of electronic tolling of the highways around Johannesburg, owning a car is becoming more and more expensive. One of the first things people tend to sacrifice, and at great risk, is their vehicle insurance, whether by shopping around for cheaper insurance, jumping around from one insurer to the other or simply defaulting on their payments completely.

A new startup short-term insurer, King Price insurance, has found a way of differentiating itself: insurance premiums that are not only competitive but also decrease every month. They argue, “Why should your insurance premium stay the same when the value of your car is continuously decreasing?” Their latest campaign centers around the question “How do they do it?” and features a company “employee” who comes up with various absurd explanations as he tries to figure out how this insurer is able to offer low premiums that also get cheaper over time.

Photo Credit: King Price Insurance

With Fuelcaster, Esurance gives drivers tool to predict gas prices

The recession may be long over, but consumers remain anxious about their expenses and savvy about finding the lowest prices. Catering to this mindset, the insurance provider Esurance is now offering an online tool, Fuelcaster, that predicts whether local gas prices will go up or down in the next 24 hours—users input a ZIP code and see a “buy” or “wait” recommendation (much as Kayak does with plane fares), along with the current prices at nearby gas stations. The company says Fuelcaster relies on “a proprietary algorithm that incorporates pricing signals from industry sources” and claims it’s the first such tool in the U.S. to predict gas prices.

In providing drivers with a free service that’s unrelated to the company’s core business of insurance but fits with its positioning as a value choice for digitally savvy consumers, Esurance illustrates how to put the consumer at the core of marketing initiatives. More brands are starting to focus on winning loyalty and engagement by using technology to address real consumer needs rather than taking a just-because-we-can approach to tech, which may briefly intrigue consumers but rarely creates real affinity.

High-tech tools come to the rescue when keys go astray

As we have noted, with the move of 3D printing into the mainstream, companies have been thinking about ways to leverage the new technology to redefine consumer experiences. Belgian insurance company DVV has reimagined the problem of losing one’s keys with Keysave. The upcoming service lets customers make a 3D scan of their keys, which is virtually stored in a secure database. Then, if they find themselves digging through purses or kicking through sand with their keys nowhere in sight, they can download the 3D file and bring it to a 3D print shop (or anyone with a 3D printer) to get new copies.

Assuming that 3D printing becomes a widely available service, the program is an intuitive adaptation of the technology that eases an everyday anxiety—as long as customers can be assured their key scans are ultra-secure. Meanwhile, a somewhat simpler solution is now available via a free app from the startup KeyMe that enables people to scan keys using a smartphone. Once they’re locked out, users pay for access to the scan, and the company says any locksmith can re-create the key using instructions displayed on the phone. A handy benefit is that users can also digitally share keys with friends or family.

Perhaps most useful, Nokia will soon start selling proximity sensors that use Bluetooth and NFC to communicate with the company’s Lumia phones. Dubbed Treasure Tags, they can be attached to keys or anything else that people routinely lose track of, even cars.

keysave.be / Your keys are always here. from stuffcore on Vimeo.

Singapore’s NTUC Income simplifies contracts, parodies the industry’s legalese

For insurance purchasers who aren’t moonlighting as lawyers, the legal jargon used to describe the terms of these products can be complicated and confusing. According to the 2012 Global Consumer Insurance Survey, most customers in Asia Pacific don’t fully understand the terms of the product at the point of purchase. Last year, leading Singaporean insurance company NTUC Income set out to address this issue, tackling consumer stress and confusion by overhauling its contracts into plain English.

A TV campaign comically outlined the shift, showcasing oddball scenarios in which everyday people attempt to hide behind jargon. In one spot, a groom’s vows are abruptly interrupted as he veers off and speed-talks his way through a legal-sounding outline of the terms and conditions of their lifelong arrangement. In another spot, a fishmonger responds to a question about whether his fish are fresh by cheekily explaining that he reserves the right to define “fresh” as caught within the past 20 days. In both spots, onscreen text asks, “What if everyone hides behind legal jargon?” before a voiceover explains that NTUC believes insurance should be made simple, honest and different.

This initiative stemmed from the insurer’s “Honest insurance” philosophy and a stated mission to identify and solve customer pains. By making it easier to understand the company’s policies, NTUC is helping customers make better informed decisions.

Liberty Mutual shows its empathetic side with ‘Humans’ campaign

Insurance companies are at the center of anxiety-producing incidents in consumers’ lives, and many people feel that dealing with these companies only compounds their stress. With its newest campaign, “Humans,” Liberty Mutual is trying to distinguish itself in the category by making the company seem more, well, human, with a commercial touting its “empathy towards policyholders in times when they need us,” in the words of a press release.

“At Liberty Mutual Insurance, we get that it’s tough out there, and our job is to make it less tough,” says the voiceover (actor Paul Giamatti) as we see golfers unwittingly hitting balls into a car window and a husband accidentally putting his foot through drywall. Other mishaps range from the serious (a car rolls downhill without its owner) to the silly (a woman’s blouse gets doused with ketchup). Liberty Mutual shows that it forgives consumers for their human flaws in a lighthearted and relatable way, an engaging contrast to typical insurance ads. The humor is also more earnest than that usually seen in the category, and likely an approach that consumers who hate dealing with insurance companies will respond to more positively. The simple, understanding message really does a nice job of portraying Liberty Mutual as a supportive partner, breathing humanity into an industry often chastised for its lack thereof.

Mexican insurer GNP backs controversial viral video urging politicians to stop crime, corruption

Mexicans are pessimistic about their future. Crime, violence and corruption have become pervasive, and the upcoming presidential elections have only deepened anxiety (the Los Angeles Times reports, “Many Mexicans are utterly disillusioned with the candidates and dismayed at the choices before them”). Last month, a compelling video that quickly went viral asked the candidates, “Are you striving only for the [presidential] chair, or will you change the future of our country?” Interestingly, while the four-minute film features no branding, the insurance company GNP is spearheading the group behind it, Nuestro México del Futuro (Our Future Mexico).

Acclaimed director Mario Muñoz made the dystopian film, which takes viewers through a day in urban Mexico as child actors dressed like adults commit armed robbery and kidnappings, protest and riot, attempt to flee to the U.S., and even take cover from a drive-by shooting. Finally, a girl speaks directly into the camera, saying “If this is the future I can look forward to, I don’t want anything to do with it” and calls on the presidential contenders to stop making empty promises. The video concludes with the text, “We’re millions of Mexicans who want a better future” and directs viewers to the group’s site.

The video struck a chord, racking up millions of views in a few days, and became a hot topic on media outlets and among political leaders; it was banned from television and pulled from YouTube. GNP, one of the country’s biggest insurers, has been subtle about its connection to the initiative, with no overt mention of it on the company’s website, but some of the Nuestro México del Futuro videos (this, for example) are branded.

While the video could be said to foster anxiety, the website is more positive, telling visitors, “You can change the future of Mexico.” People can submit their visions for the future using various digital tools and could also weigh in via a truck that traveled the country. The initiative is an innovative way to help Mexicans feel less helpless and more assured that at least one of the country’s institutions is seeking solutions.

Finnish insurer If puts potential customers in direct contact with existing policyholders

These days, consumers look at financial services and insurance companies with anxiety and hesitation. There’s a lingering mistrust, and the standard endorsement seen in financial advertising is no longer enough to win over the hearts and investments of consumers. What could resonate more?

We recently posted about Esurance’s socially driven approach, which encourages potential customers to check out feedback from the insurance provider’s policyholders on Facebook. Finnish insurance company If is taking this idea a step further, with a microsite, Kysy Vaikka! (Just Ask!) that makes available around 800 existing policyholders during business hours to talk with potential customers. As described by Springwise, the site also features video messages from 10 customers, recorded on home webcams, who describe the benefits of being an If policyholder.

Other types of marketers are also experimenting with “fan-sourcing,” and there’s a company, Needle, that specializes in setting up sales platforms that tap into a fan base. For example, one Needle client is headphone and apparel brand Skullcandy, which hires existing customers to answer shoppers’ questions online. Making customer opinions more direct, with the brand providing little more than a platform, lends much of the power of word-of-mouth to the recommendation. And if the feedback isn’t uniformly enthusiastic, it only reinforces how transparent the brand is being, which in turn can forge greater trust.

Photo Credit: http://www.kysyvaikka.fi/

Australian insurer tells consumers to ‘Unworry’

To differentiate itself in the commoditized insurance market, NRMA Insurance has launched a major brand repositioning based on the theme “Unworry.” Communications center on the power of “un”—e.g., “Who couldn’t do with more ‘un’ in their lives? Unstress, uncomplicate, unhassle ….”

The strategy promotes the value of the positive feeling consumers can get from being insured rather than focusing on the rational differentiator of price versus inclusions, waiting periods, etc. This strategy followed NRMA category research that revealed “after two years, if people had not made a claim on their insurance they developed a level of resentment in paying premiums, feeling that they had not got their money’s worth,” according to an article in The Australian.

Driving the value equation (value over price) is a commonly discussed recession strategy, and given how much anxiety and worry the downturn is stirring among consumers, NRMA’s campaign is particularly relevant. However, the sustainability and effectiveness of this repositioning surely relies on whether the business and its product/service offering have truly adopted it—or whether it’s simply a front-ended campaign that risks becoming generic wallpaper.