Insurance companies seem to have found a bright spot amid last year’s dismal housing market. While overall direct mail volume plummeted from most financial services companies during 2008, mail from homeowners insurance providers rose. Mintel Comperemedia, a service that provides direct marketing competitive intelligence, reports a 19% increase in homeowners insurance direct mail sent to acquire new customers.
Mintel Comperemedia tracked 82 million homeowners insurance offers during 2008, up from 69 million in 2007. Estimated mail volume for new customer acquisition rose steadily through the year to a peak in August when insurers sent over 10 million marketing direct mail offers promoting homeowners insurance to consumers.
“Homeowners insurers tapped an interesting direct marketing strategy for 2008,” comments Daniel Hayes, VP of Insurance Services for Mintel Comperemedia. “With the housing market struggling and fewer people moving to new homes, insurance companies realized they couldn’t count solely on new homeowners for profit. Rather, they had to either convince current clients to increase their coverage or steal customers from the competition by advertising lower premiums.”
Daniel Hayes points to 2008 direct mailings tracked by Mintel Comperemedia that show insurers trying to increase business via the current homeowner market. For example, The Hartford sent a campaign asking recipients whether their current policies provide “full replacement value at today’s prices.” People’s Trust Homeowners Insurance likewise targeted other insurers’ clients, promising lower premiums and savings of up to 70% on homeowners insurance.
While some insurance companies tried to steal business from the competition, others used direct marketing to achieve greater profits from current clients. In a letter to homeowners insurance policyholders, State Farm encouraged customers to “make sure your coverage accounts for your upgrades,” such as new electronics, jewelry or furniture.
“Over the past two years, the homeowners insurance market has grown increasingly competitive, leading to volatility in marketing direct mail volume. Increasingly, insurers feel pressured to simultaneously increase new business applications while controlling their direct marketing expenses. I expect we’ll see similar insurance mail volume volatility in 2009 as homeowners insurance providers increase their competitiveness and further fine tune direct marketing offers,” states Daniel Hayes.

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