Effective Engagement: How Life Insurers Can Profitably Engage Consumers
Part 1: Health Challenges with Reward Incentives
What if life insurers could win customer loyalty, improve brand optics, and make their policyholders healthier all with one simple app feature? The health challenges feature in Sureify’s white-label consumer mobile app, part of the platform, Lifetime, achieves just that. The idea is simple: policyholders take on health challenges, configurable in our software by the business-end-user, in order to win points that they can then exchange for rewards like gift cards, etc. The outcome: remarkable. People take on the challenges with glee, induced so by meager, yet attainable rewards. The result is that policyholders are using the app more and feeling better about the carrier providing the app, all while improving their health. The implication of engaging customers in this way is profit. We call this ‘effective engagement,’ that is any consumer engagement that increases revenue. Effectively engaging consumers is obviously important to most companies, but Sureify’s Lifetime achieves this for life insurers in particular. Although Lifetime offers a panoply of features for effectively engaging consumers, this article solely focuses on the health challenges feature. There will be other foci in subsequent installments of this series.
Since launching Lifetime, the response from consumer-end-users has been overwhelmingly positive. Our carrier clients have received testimonial after testimonial gushing about the app. People tell our clients how they are exercising more because of the app, feel great as a result, and how amazing it is that the simple incentive of gift card rewards was all they needed to initiate a serious, lasting exercise regime. Some tell of how the challenges have spurred more family activities, strengthening familial bonds, and others of how they now spend more time outdoors and sleep better. What’s more is the data back up the bounty of glowing testimonials: 71% of end-users return to the app monthly, and 73% of all end-users participate in at least one health challenge.
All this is powerful evidence for the health challenges feature effectively engaging consumers. Testimonials and hard data clearly show that people are excited to use an insurance app, which one might have previously thought to be an infeasible achievement. This excitement translates into greater app usage, the benefits of which are not to be dismissed, for instance, greater upselling and cross-selling opportunities. Furthermore, the fact of getting customers enthusiastic about using your app is a goldmine in and of itself. Enthusiastic customers are customers well-pleased, and thus ones who will solicit others to buy insurance from your company and render your company their full loyalty, which means you are thereby simultaneously solidifying and growing your customer base. When one’s customers grow their business for them for free, marketers measure it by the ‘viral coefficient,’ i.e. [(the number of current customers multiplied by the number of people they invite multiplied by the percent of invitees who become customers) divided by the number of current customers]. The higher the value of the coefficient, the better. High customer enthusiasm and a robust viral coefficient improve brand optics tremendously. Your company is now the hip, innovative insurer with a huge ‘buzz’; insurance used to be boring, but now it’s stimulating, even, enticing. So, the health challenges feature offered in Lifetime multiply effectively engages consumers: it increases customer enthusiasm and thereby brand buzz, which precipitates a greater customer base and improved brand loyalty; the feature increases app usage, which makes for more soliciting opportunities and thereby more sales; it provides more opportunities to interact with customers, which increases their satisfaction; and it causes customers to exercise more, which, as we shall see, has enormous potential for effective engagement.
Not only does the health challenges feature increase an insurer’s customer base, it has the potential to improve customers’ health. For anyone selling life insurance, this is no small feat — that a life insurer could directly influence the health of its clientele is clearly a potentiality with serious implications for the bottom line. A healthier clientele is a longer-living one. And we know that, on average, people who exercise have a lower mortality rate than those who do not. Therefore, if an app increases the amount users exercise, it thereby decreases their mortality, which improves margins for the life insurer providing the app. From the end-user responses we’ve received, it’s not so far-fetched that a simple app feature could achieve decreased customer mortality. Many people have written to tell us how the health challenges caused them to exercise more. Assuming this increase in exercise holds steady, the impact on mortality could be significant, that is, significant enough to make a noticeable difference to the profit/policy ratio of the life insurer providing the app.
Even if the app’s impact on customer mortality ends up being negligible, the fact that people are feeling great as a direct consequence of using the health challenges feature is a beautiful example of effective engagement. People feeling great from using your product translates into greater profits for your company. The enthusiasm we have seen build up around Sureify’s health challenges feature is quite extraordinary and bodes very well for effectively engaging policyholders moving forward. What’s even more exciting is that this is only a small window into the creative ways Sureify is providing carriers with effective engagement capabilities.