The Benefits Of Adding Auto And Home

CUNA estimates as many as 950,000 consumers joined credit unions between September and November 2011. Consumers are turning to credit unions as a source they trust. With the increase in membership and many members looking for smart ways to save money, a growing number of credit unions are partnering with auto and home insurance providers.

Here are five compelling reasons credit unions are enhancing member benefit packages with an auto and home insurance program:

Credit union-sponsored auto and home insurance has broad appeal. Most members drive a car and own a home. Considering auto insurance is a legal necessity in most states and home insurance is required by mortgage lenders, it's easy to see why auto and home insurance is a benefit that's both appealing and relevant to the majority of members. And with the increasing amount of members applying for new car loans and refinancing, it's the right time to make available to your members an auto and home insurance program.

Cost-saving opportunity for members and their families. Auto and home insurance accessible through credit unions typically offer special program savings. With insurance shopping on the rise, credit unions can help members with the added advantage of economical program rates that are normally lower than what members can get on their own.

"We are focused as much as possible on offering more value for our members. Providing the distinct advantage of special program savings for auto and home insurance reinforces the value and services a credit union offers over other institutions," said Willis Reed, director of Insurance Services at CapCom FCU.

Online auto insurance capabilities. According to a recent online auto insurance report from comScore, U.S. consumers submitted 37.7 million online quote requests and purchased 2.9 million policies online in 2010. With the tremendous growth of online research to make financial decisions, more credit unions are expanding online auto quote capabilities. Many are partnering with insurance carriers offering real-time online quotes instead of subjecting members to submitting information that doesn't immediately return a premium quote. This appeals to credit unions because there's minimal effort to make online quoting facilities available to members, and the quoting portal is maintained by the auto and home insurance provider.

Free marketing and communications. Of course, it's essential to clearly communicate the availability of an auto and home insurance program and its advantages to members. Most often, auto and home insurance providers have proven marketing programs and educational materials that are readily available.

An integrated awareness campaign can consist of pre- and post-implementation articles, posters, e-mails, ads and tent cards to name a few. However, the most effective communication method is the enrollment kit that is mailed directly to members' homes. It's effective because deciding on something as important as auto and home insurance is often made jointly with spouses or significant others in the household. While it may seem costly and time-consuming, a good provider will administer and pay for all auto and home insurance program promotions. Considering that members who are aware of the benefit are twice as likely to participate, it's important to keep the program relevant with ongoing communications.

Increased satisfaction and loyalty. There is a clear correlation between member loyalty and satisfaction. Typically, pricing, products and convenience are key drivers of member loyalty. Adding an auto and home insurance program is a surprisingly easy way to help members save money and get the right coverage, which in turn increases the satisfaction and loyalty of your membership.

When you can strengthen member benefits without affecting your budget, adding an auto and home insurance program makes good business sense. After all, you really can't go wrong helping members save dollars on necessary household expenses, especially when there's a limited impact on your budget.

Jennifer Nutting is the business development director for the Travelers Affinity Auto & Home Insurance Program. Ms. Nutting can be contacted at 610-458-2286.