One of the things that people like about the insurance industry is that the business of insurance doesn't change much. Insurance carriers have pretty much done the same thing: rate risk, issue policies, settle claims, sell through agents, and invest our premiums, all the stuff that makes them insurance companies. We’ve talked a lot about this idea of “business capabilities” here are Forrester, essentially the notion of what an industry does. These capabilities change very slowly, if at all. Capability changes are usually the result of some big structural economic change--think of the now-modern and booming Russian insurance industry growing after the collapse of the former Communist state. Of course, the way in which those capabilities get executed in a mature insurance market is influenced by what’s going on outside the four walls of carrier and can change very quickly.
When it comes to the top business strategies for North American insurance carriers (and agents), selling more to the same customer is a top initiative. Because, what's a better way to grow revenue and profit in a tough market than to sell more insurance to your proven customers? And thanks to big media budgets, it’s easy to see lots of these cross-selling campaigns in action, from the practical take of Allstate’s Shop Less, Get More campaign to more humorous approaches with Progressive’s Flo and Nationwide’s World’s Greatest Spokesman (among others), duking it out over insurance bundles and multi-product discounts.
With all this enthusiasm, just how successful are insurance ebusiness at cross-selling? In our report, “Making Online Insurance Cross-Sell Initiatives Work”, that went live on the Forrester website today, it turn out that sales performance varies wildly between the ten US insurance companies evaluated, with the best cross-sellers sharing four key characteristics. And it’s not just the best performing carriers that share traits—consumers likely to purchase multiple insurance coverages from a single carrier have their own set of common characteristics around income, age, and even where they live in the US.
So, what can insurance ebusiness teams do to improve their cross-selling performance? We outline nine tactics such as including leveraging opportunities to promote insurance when using interactive tools to when and how the cross-sale offer is made during the online experience. Along with auditing internal practices against our checklist, a roadmap for the remainder of 2011 is offered that, if followed, will let insurance providers start 2012 with an effective cross selling strategy.