Today, data breaches and technological glitches have consumers asking “how safe is my personal information online?” In early July, The United States Office of Personnel Management revealed that a breach of sensitive personnel data, including fingerprints, affected over 21 million individuals. More recently, the FTC took action against ID theft-protection company LifeLock, for failure to institute security measures which would protect its customer’s sensitive information. Not only are cyber-attacks and vulnerabilities making consumers uneasy, complications resulting from technology, like those experienced by United Airlines and the NYSE, have implications on consumers perceptions of data safety.

Communicating Data Safety

Brands across sectors understand that addressing possible consequences of compromised data with consumers is paramount. This summer, many companies have offered consumers opportunities to educate themselves about data security. Wells Fargo customers were invited to a webinar which offered tips on protecting against identity theft, which garnered a 28% read rate. Furthermore, when companies asked a question in the subject line, such as Barclay’s email asking “Cyber security: are you protected?”, a higher read rate (44%) was generated*.

52% of US consumers identify personal data theft as a top financial concern

Data shows that subject lines that mentioned protection, but didn’t explicitly promote selling additional products performed better. However, brands still have an opportunity to promote products and services that protect personal information. Why? According to Mintel’s Role of Trust in Financial Services US 2015 report, over half of US consumers identified theft of personal data as a top concern. Plus, consumers often count on brands, including banks, credit bureaus, insurers, retailers, and credit card companies, to resolve any issues on their behalf rather than monitoring independently. Consumer’s desire for convenience and high expectations of customer service means brands must develop a solution that customers can “set and forget” to protect their personal data.

Value in Membership Rewards

By offering a free identity monitoring service to their customers, AAA Clubs have found another way to increase the value of the membership service. As more pay-as-you go roadside assistance programs emerge, benefits to club membership set the AAA service apart. Other member organizations could make the most of member loyalty by offering similar benefits, while all brands should consider ways to cross-sell product solutions. Promoting data protection as a way brands care about their customers, as well as a way to improve the customer journey, has the ability to improve customer trust and loyalty.

What’s Next?

Providing peace of mind is ingrained in the value proposition of many insurance and financial services products. Already, brands have launched comprehensive programs, such as MetLife’s Defender product launched in in 2014, which provides a range of digital protections, from proactive monitoring to fraud alerts to family protection from cyber predators.

Since identity protection fits naturally into insurance product suites, there is a huge opportunity for insurers to be early to market with an innovative solution to meet consumer demands. Those that are simple to understand will resonate best with consumers who have high expectations for customer experience in today’s hyper connected world. More importantly, brands that proactively communicate safeguards to protect against future data breaches will be able to maintain a sense of trust among consumers in the wake of increased cyber vulnerabilities.

*All email performance data tracked using Mintel ePerformance/eDataSource. Performance data as of 7/16/2015, 8 am CT.

Stephanie Roy is the Director of Insights, Insurance at Mintel, focusing on all insurance sectors for Mintel Comperemedia. She is responsible for providing internal and external stakeholders with insights and analysis on trends in the Life, Health and P&C insurance industries.

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