Insurers Maintain Year-Over-Year Trends
Insurance mail has shown a flat 10th of a percent increase and currently takes up 5.1 percent of total mail in the Who's Mailing What! Archive, compared tto last year's 5 percent. Within the sector, increases in personalization and premium use, coupled with decreases in self-mailer and control formats, suggest that this year, insurers are spending and testing more in direct mail.
Looking back to January of 2008, the last time this sector was studied, insurance mail is following the same growth, spending and testing patterns as the rest of 2008. Going back four years, certain trends have been entrenched in this sector, including a correlation between spending on personalization and premiums and alternately less use of self-mailer formats. It looks like insurance companies have been spending one year, only to fall back on controls and simple mailings the next.
Repeat mailings have been consistently decreasing over the past four years from 70 percent in 2004-05 to the current rate of 53.2 percent of all insurance efforts. In terms of envelope size, there has been no change in the preference for #10 formats, which continue to dominate the insurance sector.
Looking in depth at insurance mail, personalization is used in more than 50 percent of efforts, while premiums are less common and have been hovering around the 10 percent mark for the past few years. Since premiums are less common in the insurance sector, one notable premium test stood out recently in the automotive category. The Hartford's AARP Automotive Insurance control (Archive code #420-178519-0806) has mailed with a calculator premium since August of 2005, and in July of 2008, the company tested a car visor note holder gift instead (Archive code #420-178519-0807). Other recurring insurance premiums tend to be "flat" items, such as gas cards, calendars, gift certificates and Gerber's popular baby "Welcome Certificates."
Auto insurance offers showed a spike in 2005 and now comprise 55 percent of the Who's Mailing What! Archive's insurance mailstream. The same patterns of personalization and premium usage alternating against self-mailer formats appear within the automotive category, with spending surges occurring every other year.
Most likely, the patterns established over the past four years throughout the insurance sector will show changes moving into Q2 of 2009, as the automobile and credit industries experience turmoil.