||Travelers Plugs in New Sponsorships
Pay-As-You-Drive Products Drive New Deals in the Auto Insurance Category
Sponsorship activity in the white-hot insurance category is expected to heat up even more as companies use the marketing medium to promote a new but increasingly popular product: usage-based auto insurance.
Usage-based programs charge fees based on consumer driving habits including how often a vehicle is driven, where it was driven and how many miles it was driven, as well as rapid acceleration and hard breaking.
Insurers track the data using a telematics device installed in vehicles.
A number of insurers have rolled out UB products over the past few years. Those include Travelers (InitelliDrive); Progressive (Snapshot); Allstate (DriveWise); State Farm (Drive Safe & Smart) and The Hartford (TrueLane).
While the technology has raised concerns over privacy issues, the products are gaining traction. Roughly 20 percent of all vehicle insurance in the U.S. is expected to incorporate some form of UB technology within the next five years, according to the National Assn. of Insurance Commissioners.
The growing popularity of UB programs -- and the need to educate consumers about how they work -- is driving new sponsorship activity.
Travelers this year has partnered with the Indiana State Fair, minor league baseball's Birmingham Barons, the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series and other properties on behalf of its four-year-old IntelliDrive product.
IntelliDrive offers customers two discounts: a 5 percent to 10 percent discount for signing up for the program, and a 20 percent to 30 percent discount for driving below an annual mileage threshold (10,000 to 13,000 miles, depending on the state).
Travelers' activation program includes an arcade-style driving simulation game. Travelers is using the events to engage two audience segments: parents with teenage children and low-mileage drivers.
"Engagement is one of the key factors in what we're doing. Insurance is not a top-of-mind product, and we want consumers to experience Travelers and sample the brand," said Michael McCullough, Travelers' senior director of media and advertising.
In addition to on-site consumer engagement, Travelers is activating the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series with a tie to Competitor Wireless, a smart phone app consumers can use to track the progress of runners. The company is activating the tie with a promotion that offers the $1.99 service for free.
"It's a great alignment with what IntelliDrive does," said Sean Clottu, vice president of client activation and development with the Competitor Group, which owns and manages the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series.
Travelers also leverages each event with a cause overlay. The company will activate the July 21st Xsport Fitness Rock 'n' Roll Chicago ½ Marathon presented by Humana Vitality will a tie to the Distraction Advocate Network, a local nonprofit that raises awareness and recognition of distracted driving.
In addition to Chicago, Travelers is sponsoring Rock 'n' Roll Marathon Series events in Portland, Ore. (May 18); Virginia Beach, Va. (Sept. 1) and Cleveland (Oct. 6).
Travelers will activate the Indiana State Fair with the Chipping Challenge, a program the company uses to leverage its partnerships with the PGA Tour and the Travelers Championship in Cromwell, Conn. Travelers will make a donation to a yet-to-be-determined nonprofit for each successful putt, said Debbie Dreiband, senior director of sponsorship sales with Live Nation, which reps the fair.
Travelers will round out its sponsorship portfolio with ties to college football games (University of Southern California at the University of Notre Dame and Louisiana State University at the University of Alabama), said McCullough.
Travelers also markets IntelliDrive in Connecticut and Maine.
Chicago-based rEvolution helps plan and execute events on behalf of Travelers.
Other insurance companies are expected to follow Travelers' lead by signing new deals or using existing ties to promote usage-based products.
"We're excited about what we'll be sharing by the end of this year and into 2014," said Justin Herndon, an Allstate spokesperson.
(Source: IEG Sponsorship Report, 07/15/13)
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