One of the greatest threats to any brand or category is the loss of relevance. Any number of forces can impede future growth, but it’s possible to clear these hurdles. The one strategy guaranteed to fail? A silent retreat into irrelevance. That is the driving force behind PIMA’s latest research, “Affinity 2030: Exploring Our Blind Spots for a Brighter Future.”
Companies have long used the affinity insurance model to drive steady growth. For the model to evolve, however, we must be vigilant in looking at our own relevance. To provide more insight into the affinity insurance market, we reached out to one of the “Affinity 2030” contributors: Scott Strickland, president of CommunityAmerica Insurance Agency.
About Scott Strickland
Scott Strickland is the president of CommunityAmerica Insurance Agency, an agency that is part of the largest credit union in the Kansas City market. The agency offers life, auto, home, and other insurance products that fit the needs of its members while providing financial peace of mind to them and their families.
An Assessment of Today’s Affinity Insurance Market
In the modern affinity market, it’s paramount to consider potential partners carefully. When vetting sponsored benefits partners, for instance, Strickland said his agency looks first at its members’ needs.
Because of the close ties Strickland’s agency has with a credit union, the culture of the credit union permeates every facet of the operation. This culture focuses on serving members and their needs, Strickland said, and CommunityAmerica Insurance Agency works to continue that tradition of service.
As a result, CommunityAmerica Insurance Agency prioritizes products and services that its members seek. The agency then looks for the best partner — or partners — that can meet those needs.
When vetting potential partners, Strickland said CommunityAmerica Insurance Agency looks for financial strength, a history of stability, name recognition in the marketplace, and a culture that meshes with the agency’s commitment to member service.
A Commitment to Serving Member Needs
CommunityAmerica Insurance Agency prioritizes its members, matching the high level of trust common in the affinity marketplace.
Its members are on a financial journey from birth to retirement and beyond, Strickland said. The agency wants to be there for them during every stage of that journey by providing the products and services that enable them to have financial peace of mind. Insurance and sponsored benefit plans are just pieces of that puzzle.
Above all else, Strickland said trust is vital to the agency’s relationships. Members put an incredible amount of faith in the products and services CommunityAmerica Insurance Agency offers, and the agency takes that trust very seriously.
As for anyone working to compete in the affinity or sponsored benefits markets, Strickland offered one nugget of advice: Don’t start with a product. Instead, he said, pay attention to customer pain points, needs, and ongoing struggles.
From there, try to find a solution that remedies one — or several — of the most pressing issues. If you can manage to do that and offer a product or service at a reasonable price, then you have an opportunity to capture people’s interest and help them and their families manage risks in their lives.
Published on April 27, 2020.
PIMA® (Professional Insurance Marketing Association®) is a member-driven trade association focused exclusively on the group-sponsored benefits market.
The research from “Affinity 2030: Exploring Our Blind Spots for a Brighter Future” is available for no cost to PIMA members. For more information on becoming a member, click here.