If you looked to the big players in the industry for a model, you might think marketing insurance hinges on finding the most memorable spokespeople—be they reassuringly deep-voiced, bouffant-coiffed, Neanderthal, or tiny, green and reptilian.
But credit union executives and their business partners say success in marketing insurance is less about clever campaigns and much more about delivering a fundamental message—that adequate insurance coverage is an essential part of protecting one’s financial future, which is why credit unions offer insurance as part of a complete menu of financial services. At the same time, they recognize that positioning insurance as a core service can help CUs achieve their financial goals by offsetting revenue lost as a result of new regulatory restrictions and tight interest margins.
Building on Trust
Redwood Credit Union, Santa Rosa, Calif., primarily markets the wide range of insurance products it offers in concert with other services: Get your auto loan and insurance here. Take advantage of low rates on a home equity loan and property insurance. Find deposit, loan and insurance services for your business. That approach is predicated on two strategic themes, says Robin McKenzie, SVP/marketing and communications for the $2 billion, 215,000-member credit union: Members are looking more holistically at managing their personal finances, and they value more than ever dealing with providers they trust.
“Trust has become that much more important over the last four years,” McKenzie says. “Our aim is to let members know we can help them achieve financial wellness, and the more business they bring us, the more we can help them.”
Redwood CU’s insurance division and auto buying center are administered through its wholly owned subsidiary, RCU Services Group, which partners with CUES Supplier member SWBC, San Antonio, for insurance products. Offerings range from staples like life, home, auto and business insurance to coverage for veterinary bills and financial losses, should plans for wedding festivities go awry.
Staff training has been critical in ensuring branch and call center staff are familiar with the insurance products so they recognize possible referral cues. And Redwood CU’s website is currently under construction to improve its insurance showcase and quick access to quotes to make cost comparisons easy.
To help get the conversation started, the CU has positioned eye-catching mats at teller stations with simple messages about its insurance products. On one, a fetching canine gazes up under the plea to “Protect Your Friend,” with an invitation for a free pet insurance quote. The goal is to start a conversation with members remarking, “Oh, I didn’t realize you offer insurance.”