In April, controls dominated the insurance sector, a fact that’s not all that surprising considering these repeat mailings accounted for 64 percent of the insurance mail the Who’s Mailing What! Archive received in the first quarter of 2006.
GEICO, for one, mailed control efforts in two separate categories—one for the company’s ubiquitous auto insurance and one for its property insurance arm. The auto insurance effort stands out for its simplicity. The #7-3/4, plain white envelope includes only a single-page, double-sided letter that pushes GEICO’s free quote service and its ability to save customers up to $600 per year. Typically one to use a myriad of mail tactics, such as plastic cards, eye-catching graphics, and snappy taglines, GEICO seems to have found success with this plain-jane effort, which has appeared in the Archive steadily since May 2005 (Archive code #420-171960-0604A).
Seen a little less frequently—since November 2005—is GEICO’s mailing to auto policy holders promoting property insurance programs. A glossy, full-color photo of a mom and two kids covers the front of the #10 envelope, which holds a one-page letter and a brochure outlining the programs available, such as homeowner’s, renter’s, mobile home and condo insurance (Archive code #445-171960-0604B). Neither effort includes a reply device; instead respondents are pushed to Web sites and toll-free phone lines.
Peoples Benefit Life Insurance Company also was in the mail with two controls in April; both of these long-term mailings qualify as Axel Andersson Grand Controls for appearing in the Archive for more than three years. One, an in-line produced, 9-1/2” x 9-1/2” snap-pack mailing for its Accidental Death & Dismemberment program, first showed up in the Archive in March 2002. The outer is an official-looking, brown envelope featuring a faux bar code. The one sheet inside is a short letter, designed to look as if it came from a dot matrix printer, perfed to a larger “Enrollment Form.” While the letter focuses on the monthly cost and potential payout of the program, the back of the sheet outlines coverage available and includes all of the necessary disclaimers (Archive code #410-637548-0604).
The other, a 4-1/4” x 9-1/4” life insurance effort that the Archive has been receiving since February 2002, also has a very official look, with a faux “Priority Delivery” sticker complete with authorization signature. Inside are a one-page letter, a one-page enrollment form, and a double-sided benefit summary outlining the program and its premiums. The offer includes a promise of guaranteed acceptance if you are between the ages of 45 and 75 and a 30-day refund guarantee; not only are both of these benefits highlighted in the three main components of the mailing, but they also are reiterated on the front of the BRE (Archive code #450-637548-0604).
While it may not technically be a Grand Control, a snap-pack mailing from The Hartford certainly qualifies as a long-term winner since the Archive has been receiving variations of its offer of a free auto insurance quote for AARP members nearly every month since January 2000. Over the years, the only aspects of this mailing, which also picks up on that dot matrix printer look for its outer envelope, that have changed are its dimensions and premium. The April effort, which has been in the mail since July 2005, is 6” x 11-1/2” and includes a clock/calculator premium.
Finally, mailing the insurance version of a publishing voucher since December 2005, American International Group’s control is as simple as simple can be. A white #11 envelope touts itself as a “Rate Reduction Verification.” Through an extra-long address window, the recipient can see his name, a response deadline, and a toll-free number to call. This information all appears on the lone package component, a pink slip that is just slightly smaller than the #11 outer. In addition to the viewable data, the page also contains a brief message that the recipient “may be eligible for a substantial reduction” in his auto insurance (Archive code #420-179427-0604B).
One to Watch: An April mailing from Chase Insurance Direct proves that even when a company changes hands, a good control is a good control. This effort, a #10 package for term life insurance featuring an offer for a free quote, was first mailed by Zurich Direct in 2003. Zurich was later absorbed by One Life Direct, a Bank One company, which mailed the effort throughout 2004, unchanged save for the return address and company mentions in the letter and disclosures. Chase then acquired Bank One, and the Archive first received the Chase-branded version of this effort in May 2005 (Archive code #450-699655-0604).
The white outer features the teaser, “Revealed Inside: Three facts your current life insurance company does not want you to know. If you do not currently have life insurance, these three facts may be even more important.”
The legal-sized letter inside delivers on that promise, listing three “facts”—you may be paying too much for insurance, you can call Chase for a free quote, and buying a Chase policy is easy. Perfed to the top of the letter is a “Free Quote Request Form” that asks for some basic demographic information and then eight health and lifestyle questions about the respondent and his or her spouse. The back of the reply form highlights the four points of Chase’s guarantee—rates will not increase during the initial term, the policy is renewable, it can be converted into different policy, and holders can receive part of their payout if they become terminally ill. This guarantee is then reiterated at the bottom of the letter in a fact format.