How Insurers Can Use Marketing Automation to Retain Existing Policyholders

Kyle McCarthy Kyle McCarthy
Customer Marketing

Marketing your insurance plans to existing policyholders is crucial to sustainable success over the long-term. These individuals and families are your primary revenue stream and also your best opportunity to grow and diversify your portfolio. Unfortunately, many insurance agents fail to build and strengthen these relationships, putting them at constant risk of losing their clients to their competition — even where their offerings aren’t as affordable or attractive.

Insurance Marketing to Existing Policyholders

So, in today’s blog, we’re going to examine a few best practices for improving insurance marketing to existing policyholders. But, before we do, let’s take a closer look at why existing policyholders are so important to your success. 

Why Are Existing Policyholders So Important?

Regardless of which policy lines you sell, retaining existing policyholders is critical to profitability and low marketing costs. This is due to two factors:

  1. New policyholders are extremely expensive to acquire. In fact, it costs between $500-800 for every new policyholder.
  2. Existing policyholders are familiar with the people behind your brand and services, making them prime targets for potential upsell and cross-sell opportunities.

What’s at risk if you fail to strengthen these relationships? Well, in the auto insurance industry alone, only 2-3% of new customers enter the market annually, while 22% of policyholders churn every year (1). Thankfully, by delivering personalized service and relevant policy options to your current customers, you can achieve your retention goals and drive additional revenue from your existing streams.

Proven Marketing Tactics for Insurance Policyholder Retention

To achieve and exceed your retention goals, you must do everything in your power to anticipate each policyholder’s unique needs and provide them with the knowledge they need to find the perfect fit for themselves and their families. Here are three proven marketing tactics for insurance policyholder retention.

Automate personalized renewals campaigns

There’s a general sense that the insurance industry is cold and numbers-oriented. Many policyholders often feel like they’re treated as though they have the exact same needs, the exact same budgets, and the exact same family makeup, hobbies, and preferences as everyone else. That is, they feel like they’re being treated as a means to a money-making end. 

Obviously, this perceived indifference and lack of personalization can be a major turnoff to consumers, as well as a significant deterrent to your ability to retain and upsell your existing customers. But with marketing automation, you can automate personalized renewal campaigns that speak to each policyholder on a 1:1 level.

The first step is to segment your customers into specific buckets that match their current policy types. You can likely transfer these contacts into your renewal campaigns from any welcome programs you’ve built. From there, you can further segment based on income, age, health status, and known life events. 

Once you’ve placed each contact into their respective segment(s), create a series of emails that will trigger within 90, 30, 15, and 3 days of their policy renewal date. Be sure to educate them about their current policy, the benefits of their plan, and any changes to the offering that might affect them in the coming year. Depending on their engagement level (or lack thereof) you can either cease the campaign or reach out directly to ensure the renewal. 

You can set these programs to repeat annually — saving time, money, and energy while improving renewal rates and maintaining revenue.

5 Marketing Challenges Facing Insurance Brokerages

Deliver a monthly educational newsletter segmented by policy type(s) 

Most of us purchase insurance and never give our plans much thought until it’s time to renew — as long as our rates don’t change, that is. That’s because most of us don’t realize how important our insurance plans really are and how we could be getting more out of our policies if we were just a little more informed. So, instead of only communicating with your policyholders when it’s time to renew, why not try engaging them throughout the year with relevant messaging and educational content in the form of a monthly newsletter?

Most insurers hear the word “newsletter” and automatically assume there’s a ton of work involved, but with marketing automation that’s just not the case. Using Act-On’s pre-built email templates, simply add relevant content (blogs, datasheets, case studies) that likely already exist on your website and create a simple cadence for a monthly send.

If you want to diversify the content within your newsletter based on your recipients’ policy types, simply segment your audiences based on policy type and demographics and then populate your email templates with the perfect content for each policyholder. Include content like instructions for policy payouts, policy-specific benefits, and promotions for discounted rates.

These communications strengthen existing relationships and keep you top of mind with your customers all year long!

Understand and support your policyholders’ evolving life events

For better or worse, things happen in life. You buy your daughter a car for her 16th birthday. You get laid off from work and lose your benefits. You buy a new home or lose your house in a fire.

Regardless of what life throws at us, though, the one thing we can count on is change. Sometimes this change is expected; other times it comes as a complete surprise. As an insurance agent, your job is to act as the steadying hand during both the best and worst moments in life. Therefore, understanding how your policyholders’ lives are changing empowers you to deliver personalized digital experiences that help them meet those challenges and secure their future.

The best glimpse into your existing customers’ lives is through the data. Combining your agency management system (AMS) with marketing automation helps you gather this data and then make it actionable. First and foremost, per the section above, knowing policy dates, family size, and income helps you know when to launch your renewal campaigns. Just as important, though, getting a clearer picture of your customers gives you the insights you need to sell additional policies or supplement existing ones.

  • A policyholder buys a new jet ski, so she might be looking to buy a bigger vehicle. Think she might need insurance for that?
  • A local businessman decides to expand his staff past the 50 FTE threshold. I wonder if he’ll need to apply for large group coverage?
  • A loyal customer recently lost her job and is worried about paying for her son’s medical treatments. Chances are she needs an affordable and effective private health insurance plan.

When you know what’s happening in your policyholders’ lives, you can use marketing automation to deliver multi-channel marketing communications that speak directly to their needs. Consider adding forms to your emails to gather the information you need to give them the care they deserve. Place a tracking beacon on your website to visualize which webpages your customers are visiting. Create pay-per-click landing pages that offer helpful content in exchange for additional information. 

Develop tactics to collect as much data as possible, and then launch campaigns to maximize your opportunities. 

Establish trust through localized community involvement

Insurance is all about establishing trust, and what better way to do that than by making a positive difference within your community! Sponsor a local blood drive. Establish health and wellness programs with local hospitals, assisted living facilities, and children’s organizations. Hold fundraising events for a good cause like children’s literacy, food and clothing for families living below the poverty line, and community initiatives such as a skate park or live music series.

More than just participating in these activities, though, promote your involvement across your digital channels using marketing automation. Leverage Act-On’s Advanced Social Media Module to share your organization’s community involvement. Dedicate a portion of your monthly newsletter to previous and upcoming community events or causes. Create a page on your website dedicated to community service and encourage visitors to pledge to a fundraiser or join you at an upcoming event. For this last one, you can place a tracking beacon on this page of your site to understand which policyholders are viewing your community involvement content and then send them personalized communications that highlight your activities and invite them to participate as well. 

Setting the example and sharing your experiences will humanize your organization and generate the kind of goodwill and trust most people are looking for in the companies they do business with. 

Act-On Is the Top-Performing Marketing Automation Platform for Insurers

Hundreds of insurers throughout North America and the United Kingdom trust Act-On’s best-in-class marketing automation platform to develop and deploy phenomenal customer experiences to new and existing policyholders. Our software is the perfect tool for you and your brokers to execute multi-channel insurance marketing tactics and orchestrate holistic automated journeys throughout the customer lifecycle.

To learn more about how your insurance brokerage can leverage Act-On to exceed your marketing and business goals, please contact one of our experienced marketing automation professionals to schedule a no-risk, 20-minute demo

Or, you can click here to take our interactive tour, where you can choose your own adventure while learning more about our new and improved platform.

Lastly… looking for a good read? Click the link below to learn how marketing automation can help you overcome your biggest insurance marketing obstacles!

5 Marketing Challenges Facing Insurance Brokerages