Credit unions across the country continue to view insurance and investments as products that can aid in diversifying revenue sources in order to increase non-interest income in the wake of regulations and continued pressure on interchange fees. CUNA Mutual Group has shared that non-interest income as a percentage of total income has climbed from nearly 20% in 2005 to more than 27% through 3Q 2012. A recent gathering of economists who spoke with Credit Union Journal recommended a variety of tactics to hedge non-interest income growth against a challenging 2013 — including introducing new business lines such as insurance.
Insurance products will likely become more popular as well with the introduction of health insurance exchanges as part of the Affordable Care Act. Many exchanges and privately-held firms receiving federal dollars cite patterning their programs around the credit union model, including East Lansing-based Consumers Mutual Insurance of Michigan. Health insurance has become an area of interest for financial institutions as healthcare reform continues to shake up a wide swath of industries. Since the introduction of HSA accounts in 2003, healthcare and financial services have become more and more intrinsically tied.
Insurance and investment services are often considered “friendly services” because members feel that the credit union is providing value to them at rates lower than they would pay otherwise. Yet, as a recent creditunions.com article aptly states, “Adding insurance services requires a significant amount of forethought and planning.”
While credit union senior leaders may opt to provide services of their own, often through a CUSO or an outsourced partnership, many are hoping that these services will become profitable, allowing the credit union to be more competitive all around. Planning often focuses on the operations of the new business unit — how many consultants should be in place, in-house broker vs. partnership, the revenue generation anticipated, etc. Often (and unfortunately), very little time is spent training front-line staff across the credit union on how to refer members to the insurance and investment offerings or how to build credibility for the credit union and its consultants in this space.
Insurance and investments often take a backseat to the more commonly sought credit union products such as checking, debit, auto loans, home mortgages, and home equity lines of credit. However, implementing an engaging content strategy as a marketing tool for your more complex services can help them become more top-of-mind for the front-line staff making referrals and the consultants closing business.
Three Ways Content Can Improve Insurance And Investment Cross-Selling
It Creates Credibility
If you’re looking for a way to improve your credit union’s credibility in insurance and investment offerings, content can be incredibly powerful. Members want to feel confident that they are making the right choices when it comes to investing in their future and ensuring they don’t become a burden to their families in their later years. In order to feel confident, they need to be educated. Your credit union can play a pivotal role in providing the tools and information members need to feel confident about making decisions and purchasing tools from the cooperative.
It Streamlines And Simplifies
Content can aid in illustrating a complex offering by incorporating visual elements, from basic graphs and charts to trendy infographics or comprehensive videos. When it comes to something as complex as long-term care insurance, just imagine the benefit for both staff and members of having information available in a more readily accessible, understandable format. A great example of utilizing video to explain a complex offering is this video from the California Teachers Association, “A Look at Fixed Annuities.”
It Drives Traffic
Content can mean the difference between an engaging website that generates member interest and one that doesn’t. Because search engines love fresh content, having a defined plan for generating new material and information about your insurance and investment offerings will drive additional site traffic toward these products.
Even if you’re a SEG-based credit union with a small target audience, you’ll still benefit by creating a reason for members to further engage with your site. Whether they are watching videos or even using a calculator to understand earnings or tax-deferred savings, new content and interactivity gives members a real, beneficial incentive to pay attention to your message.
Interested In Moving The Needle?
BlueSpire Strategic Marketing is offering two free articles for readers of creditunions.com to help them engage members with insurance and investment services through valuable content.
Register today to receive:
“5 Things to Look for in a Long-Term Care Policy”
“A Closer Look at Market Capitalization”
Jen Joly is the Marketing and Communications Director for BlueSpire Strategic Marketing, leading marketing strategy for the organization as well as its financial services clients. Joly has 12 years of experience developing successful marketing strategies for sales-driven organizations in financial services, B2B, gaming and professional services. She is currently the president of IABC Minnesota and has spoken at the CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council’s Conference.
BlueSpire provides strategic marketing solutions for clients in healthcare and financial industries, focusing on content marketing that elevates audience engagement and inspires action. BlueSpire creates fully integrated marketing for credit unions through Web, email, search, social and print. Visit the BlueSpire Strategic Marketing Blog.