How mutuality sells insurance

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More than a billion people worldwide are now customer members of mutuals and cooperatives. It’s therefore unsurprising that our members continue to develop innovative ways to leverage customer benefits that are unique to the cooperative and mutual sector.

Take Australia, for example. Never has ICMIF’s mantra ‘Its Our Time’ been more relevant.

MDA Nationala medical indemnity insurer for doctors, is now implementing the insights and ideas captured by their Head of Marketing, Michelle Finnigan, after she attended the ICMIF Marketing and Communications Network last December. MDA were already doing great work on their member engagement; which is a key strategy for them. The results from their ‘Listening to Members’ strategy speak for themselves – membership increased by 16% in 2011 with member retention increasing to 98%. Michael Halliday (COO) told me they were delighted that they now represent 30,000 members; double the number of members in 2006.

ABACUS, the association that represents building societies, credit unions and friendly societies is also reporting very positive trends. During my recent visit, Louise Petschler (CEO) and Mark Degotardi (Head of Public Affairs) told me that the mutual banking sector grew by 11% in total assets (industry growth rate was 4%) as customers are actively switching from stock companies to mutuals. This was reinforced by the deputy Prime Minister condemning banks’ behaviours and stating that customers should move their money elsewhere. This statement naturally created great media coverage which was further enhanced as Australian mutuals excelled in the annual Mozo People’s Choice Awards in 2011 in the key measures of service, trust, price and features. Nine of the top 10 organisations recognised for outstanding customer service were mutuals as were seven of the top 10 when it came to customer satisfaction.

One of our members from Greece sent me this next marketing story in response to a previous blog. Nektaria Mpessa from Syneteristiki shared their new TV marketing campaign focusing on the values and protection that they offer their customers throughout their lives. The TV campaign is based on the theme “Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow” and links their cooperative roots with the future; finally concluding that ‘Syneteristiki is the answer…’

Similarly PPS from South Africa, our next ICMIF Conference host, last week launched an innovative mutual marketing campaign. They are linking mutual values with other strong brands such as The Beatles and Harley Davidson, explaining that the ‘Key to success lies in sharing it’. This message is being rolled out across TV, radio and print channels during March and April as PPS look to distinguish themselves from the rest of the market in South Africa.

So mutuality clearly sells insurance and is fulfilling a genuine social need.

In today’s post I’ve featured ICMIF members from three continents all of whom are utilising their mutuality as a key strength but in different ways. But there’s more to hear from our members across the rest of the world.

After reading ICMIF’s journal, Voice, Joe Annotti, from The American Fraternal Alliance blogged recently about how impressed he was by the revolutionary messages from Tan Suee Chieh, CEO of NTUC Income in Singapore and Board member of ICMIF. He suggests that there is so much to be learnt from Suee Chieh and I strongly agree and would add to that by saying there is much to learn from all our members. The innovation and quality coming from our members is astonishing.

To quote PPS ‘the key to success lies in sharing it’. Thanks to you all for continuing to share.

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