Of course, even the fastest, best designed website and a mobile presence doesn’t guarantee success.
“There are other variables,” Harrison says. “Members might just be window shopping and not quite ready to commit. Sometimes they’re not even aware that their credit union offers these products, which tells you that the credit union hasn’t been on the ball.
“Some credit unions don’t understand that they can bundle their offerings when a member is looking for insurance,” Harrison continues. “For example, auto insurance is the top-selling insurance in the country. Selling that policy should be an occasion for reminding members of the credit union’s other insurance offerings, such as home insurance and personal or business loans. We can set up marketing campaigns that do this.”
Credit unions can build insurance policy sales three ways:
When a credit union hands over its insurance sales program to a third party, “that’s not a truly independent model,” says Harrison, who instead recommends that credit unions “partner with a carrier like us. We can front for the credit union on a branded site and represent a large number of carriers.
“A credit union can go independent,” he adds, “but often it has to trim its offerings because of the complexities involved in running an inside agency.”
Joining forces with a single outside source also creates a situation where a vendor promotes its insurance brand—and no competitors— through a credit union site.
“That means the lack of a range of offerings for the member,” Harrison says. “Our approach is to offer a range of products on the credit union’s branded site and not push our own brand—we don’t have our own insurance product— or make any carrier the only source for the insurance policies a credit union offers.”
Credit unions that offer insurance products should offer more than one option in each category, Harrison says, because carriers are charging higher premiums in today’s market.
“For example, auto insurance premiums have increased by 20% over the past five years because cars are smarter and more expensive—and because claims are up,” he says. “If a credit union offers auto insurance, it has to offer a range of options.”
Credit unions also need to offer a variety of insurance products.
“The gamut of insurance products is wide,” Werger says. “Besides staples such as home, auto, life, and accidental death coverage, there are other kinds of insurance—payment, debt, GAP, warranty, and more.”
Werger offers a word of caution for credit unions once they’ve decided how to handle insurance products: Have a plan in place to market the product properly using a multichannel approach. Otherwise, he says, selling insurance products won’t be beneficial for the credit union or members.
“Our core product offerings give credit union members bargains they wouldn’t ordinarily get in the general market,” Werger says.