The insurance industry continues to evolve as consumer trends, technology and compliance all impact the way that insurance is bought, sold and serviced. To help offer some clarity as to the trends and challenges marketers face in the insurance industry, I asked CMOs of a few leading insurance companies to share their views and intelligence with us.
In this, the third and final blog in the series, I will share my conversation with Jay Gauthier, Chief Marketing Office at Travelers.
Could you please tell us a bit about yourself and how you ended up in the insurance world?
“I’m a dyed-in-the-wool, direct marketing guy, who has been focused on direct-to-consumer and direct-to-business environments since college. I have been fortunate in that I have had the opportunity to work for some of the best technology brands out there, which gave me a head start in digital marketing and digital consumer experiences. This is my first foray in insurance and it represents yet again another opportunity to help a great insurance brand build out its direct-to-consumer, digital capability.
That said, nobody warned me on the way into this industry about underwriting eligibility or that predicted lost cost would need to be part of my acquisition math to make it all work. It’s a whole new ball game, but the data is there for those who are willing to work hard enough to find and exploit it.
The insurance industry is currently in the midst of a transformation. How is that impacting insurance marketers?
“The transformation is the real deal, no question. As market share continues to shift away from the traditional carriers towards the direct writers, experienced lower-funnel insurance marketers have commanded a significant premium for their skills and expertise. The direct writers are now being challenged by the next category of insurance disruptors, breaking the mold on customer experience with exceptionally simple quote and issue journeys, 3rd-party data integration, innovative applications of AI, and access to capital.
Successful insurance marketers in this paradigm continue to be those that are effective at generating efficient demand. But to do that, they need to deliver exceptional digital consumer experiences, leverage advanced analytics and have targeted content development that’s genuinely engaging. The smart money in this transformation will go to the marketing leaders who can source and bring together this set of disciplined skills and make the lifetime economics work.”
Given the current availability of consumer data, do you think insurance marketers are taking full advantage of all the data that is currently accessible?
“Definitely no. In my experience, insurance marketers are moving with caution towards the use of consumer data to inform what they do – due to privacy concerns, operationalizing the data, and the high cost of in-market learning.
FCRA driven, pre-screened consumer selection for addressable insurance offers is probably ubiquitous at this point, but precision targeting in the largely anonymous digital universe is still allusive to many insurance marketers.
To supplement the insurance marketer, a smart investment should be building out an in-house, advanced analytics team that can definitively identify the data that matters and protect it as intellectual property. The discipline is there on the actuarial side, but the actuaries don’t aspire to see their careers move to a marketing role (not the good ones anyways). So, the insurance marketer needs to dig deep to source the right talent and mimic the coveted trade secrets of the actuary.”
If there was one piece of consumer data that you wouldlike to access to help influence your marketing programs, what would it be?
"Super simple: anything that provides an indication of loss cost."