Taking Risks, Increasing Response
By Linda Formichelli
Assurity Direct gets creative with mail and models to energize its prospecting.
Assurity Life Insurance Co. is a study in innovation, change and risk-taking—from its history to its direct mail program.
Innovation: In 1890, Dr. E. O. Faulkner created Modern Woodmen Accident Association because he saw a need to make accident coverage available to working people—not just the wealthy. This Lincoln, Neb., company continued to expand and add products over the next century. Change: In 1954, three Woodmen companies were merged to create Woodmen Accident and Life Co., and in 1997, the Assurity Life Insurance Co. was formed as a subsidiary of Woodmen Accident and Life. Risk-taking: Assurity Direct, the direct marketing division of Assurity Life, scrapped its entire direct marketing program in 2004 to start fresh with new vendors, new lists, new creative, new offers, and a new print and mailing house. In addition, the company started using database marketing analytics to refine its customer acquisition activities.
The result? Assurity Direct has seen an incredible 60 percent lift in its response rate from the new creative and an 11 percent increase from the new lists.
The Way Things Were
Assurity has been using direct mail since 1997, and has been using it as a primary method of marketing for the past six years. "We have in the past tried TV advertising, free standing inserts and most recently affinity mailing, but our primary prospecting tool is direct mail," says Steve Hawkins, director of marketing services at Assurity Direct.
From 1997 to 2003, Assurity boasted high response rates to its direct mail program. But starting in 2004, response rates began to decline. That would have been a great time to try new lists, test new creative and otherwise mix things up—but this was impossible. "Our former consultant had a turnkey system and was not able to get it changed around," Hawkins says.