2019 Insurance Marketing Trends: How’d We Do?

October 17th, 2019 | Tara Clemens

Each fall, we develop our annual industry trends based on brand observations, competitive marketing and consumer data. As we prepare for the launch of our 2020 Insurance Trends, let’s take a look at three of Comperemedia’s 2019 Insurance Marketing Trends, and see where we got it right—or not. 

  1. Partners in Prevention

Growth across the Internet of Things (IoT), wearables and connected devices will collectively open doors for insurance carriers as they look to become proactive, risk-mitigating participants in policyholders’ lives.

How’d we do? 2019 was the tip of the iceberg

2019 proved to be a pivotal year for the industry-wide shift toward protection over coverage. Technology partners and in-house incubators provided a wealth of opportunity for insurance providers, as they aimed to mitigate risk before it happens. The strategy is generally a win-win for both sides. Insurers acquire more data on customers and often pay out fewer claims, while customers lead healthier, safer lives and often receive premium discounts for doing so.

Leading examples in the home insurance industry included the Travelers/Amazon and Hippo/Comcast Xfinity partnerships. In both circumstances, insurance companies partnered with technology providers to put smart home protective technology at the forefront of homeowners’ policies. 

Health insurers strengthened wellness programs this year. Amid UnitedHealthcare’s departure from Silver Sneakers, Mutual of Omaha launched Mutually Well for Medicare Supplement members. The program utilizes a partnership with Tivity Health, the provider also behind Silver Sneakers. Tivity Health CEO Donato Tramuto had this to say about Mutually Well’s launch: 

“Physical activity, as well as the social connections that are made as part of a fitness program, are important components to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This program represents a tremendous opportunity to address many other social determinants of health that contribute to poor health and high healthcare costs.”  

Oscar Health teamed up with Cardiogram to give members access to heart detection technology. Oscar customers who take advantage of the free Cardiogram Care app will be monitored for signs of diabetes and atrial fibrillation, and if it turns out they are at a high risk for one of these conditions they will be offered a confirmatory test. If that confirms you have that condition, they will then be referred to an in-network physician under Oscar Health.

What’s next?

We expect the industry to shift away from insurance as a transactional commodity, especially for higher premium coverages. Instead, we will see carriers move toward a higher-touch relationship that provides value to customers’ daily lives, while they address common threats before they happen. Advances in protective technology will impact every line of insurance and change the name of the insurance game as we know it.

  1. Indemnity Where I Am

The API mindset and integrated omnichannel marketing strategies will drive better distribution as products become fast, seamless and embedded experiences.

How’d we do? CX, got it right; distribution, we were early

This trend explored themes in distribution and customer experience, and encompassed the strategies insurers used to meet prospective and current customers in engaging and relevant ways.

Through Mintel research we understand that agents remain vital to the insurance purchase experience. In 2019, carriers across all lines of insurance produced digital tools that allowed their agents to better serve customers. One of those companies was Vantis Life, which announced its enhanced digital broker platform Velocity at the beginning of 2019. According to Vantis Life Chairman and CEO Ray Caucci, the resulting product suite is powered by accelerated underwriting and enables distributors to offer high-quality products to more people in the mass market, more easily than ever.

Nationwide recently announced that it would be giving away one million free Amazon Echo Auto devices to qualifying new and existing auto insurance policyholders in select states. Within a week, TV advertisements were subsequently observed, with expectations for a broader omnichannel advertising investment for this initiative to follow. Miriam Daniel, Vice President of Alexa and Echo Devices at Amazon had this to say about the innovative partnership: 

“We believe that voice is the most natural way of interacting with technology—and there’s no place where voice can be more effective than the car…As we designed Echo Auto, we thought a lot about the unique on-the-go experiences that our customers would want and worked closely with Nationwide and others to create new skills purposely built for the vehicle.”

What’s next?

Carriers will arm agents with backend and frontend tools to reduce friction in the distribution process. The customer experience around onboarding, servicing and claims will be front and center in bringing the insurance experience to the customer in the most convenient way possible.

  1. Personalized Protection

Insurance carriers will leverage new technologies that enable them to personalize messages, pricing and the customer experience as a pivotal differentiator in the digital age.

How’d we do? Nailed it

Consumers today shop around for the best value, and most are willing to share personal data if it benefits them. Consequently, insurers are collectively meeting that sentiment with personalized policies. Telematics and UBI (usage-based insurance) policies were perhaps the most ubiquitous in meeting the trend this year. Advertising from major insurers like Allstate and State Farm noticeably prioritized telematics-based solutions. In June 2019, State Farm upgraded its telematics solution to provide driver reports in real time. After years of publicly jeering the idea of UBI and telematics policies, GEICO announced in August that it was testing a smartphone app called DriveEasy that gives drivers feedback on their driving and assigns them a score. All considered, the telematics-heavy headlines and product innovations signal an expected path for the future of mobility and auto coverage.

In February 2019, Liberty Mutual launched a new advertising campaign emphasizing customized coverage, featuring a duo “passionate about saving people from overpaying for one-size-fits-all insurance.” Over the course of the year, the carrier canvassed media channels from direct mail and email, to social and digital advertisements. The message was clear, Liberty Mutual customers only pay for what they need, and they could still save $509 per year (a fixed average number consistently present in the brand’s advertising pre-2019). Liberty Mutual is one example among many within the industry, which are driving customization as a core marketing message and value proposition. 

The CEO of Trov, a newcomer to the US market in 2018, described the company’s business model as the “atomic disassembly of the insurance value chain.” It is a line that’s resonated as a key characteristic of nearly all insurance startups and customer-centric innovations across the industry. This disassembly of the insurance value chain to ultimately drive better customer experiences falls squarely under the notion that personalized protection is the customer-centric insurance model of the future.

The shift towards customization was so apparent in 2019, that Comperemedia’s insurance team adopted a clever new saying that, “you can’t spell customer without custom,” and it seems as though, the insurance industry has done the same.

What’s next?

Customers will continue to shop on the core basis of value, prioritizing price and coverage first. Insurers will tout customization as a leading value proposition, gaining consumer trust that the policy is unique to that customer. In doing so, we anticipate variations of personalized and customized quotes and coverages to become mainstream across insurance acquisition marketing. Products themselves will be deconstructed and reconstructed in ways that give consumers more choice. Startups with product flexibility and transparency, like Trov, Hippo, Lemonade, and Life by Spot, will be joined by countless others as the industry puts more power and control in the customers’ hands. We predict that telematics-based auto policies will become the core auto insurance policy of the future. Maybe not in 2020; maybe not by 2025, but on the horizon it sits.

Keep an eye out for our 2020 Insurance Trends launching next month!

Tara Clemens

Tara Clemens

Tara Clemens is a Senior Research Analyst at Comperemedia. Tara specializes in insurance, publishing data-driven syndicated and custom reporting based in Comperemedia's consumer data, trends and competitive intelligence.