It’s hard for any business to manage a fluctuating list of members, whether they’re magazine subscribers or insurance policy holders. That’s why companies look to an administrator like Selman & Company to handle the minutiae of emails, lists, links, PDFs, and opt-ins. We recently took control of a Client’s subscription program by bringing the expertise needed to get the job done efficiently. Take a tour with us behind the scenes into this outsourcing case study to learn why you want your insurance administrator to be equipped with the right tool set to fix your unique challenges.
Challenge: Improve Monitoring and Servicing
Our Client, a large broker of insurance products, partnered with SelmanCo in 2009, and already had a long-standing relationship with us when they approached us with a new problem.
This Client’s focus was on something other than traditional insurance products. Their portfolio includes the sale of identity theft monitoring to employer groups. The employer groups, in turn, offer identity theft monitoring as part of their voluntary benefits package available to their employees. If an employee chooses the ID theft coverage, he or she becomes a “subscriber.” The Client worked with Selman & Company to process new enrollments and provide a welcome kit to the new subscribers. Our Client came to Selman & Company for help because they wanted to change to a new monitoring service.
The Client asked us to do several things. First, they asked us to continue processing new enrollments and directing subscribers to activate identity theft monitoring. Selman & Company was also asked to continue to perform the billing and collection of monitoring fees from the employers. However, the change to the new monitoring service required us to:
- Notify all current subscribers of the change and what actions they should take
- Improve the operations and processes that support enrollment subscriptions
- Continue to outsource billing and collection without interruption
- Demonstrate that end consumers were being properly serviced through accurate reporting and follow-through
To resolve our Client’s problem, we looked at tactics which had worked in the past for other clients, such as direct mail and email notifications. Based on analysis of previous marketing campaigns we determined email would be a better channel to connect with customers in this case. Email was also more economical than a paper direct mail campaign. Email costs approximately $.03/person, whereas a letter can cost as much as $.40/person. However, mass emails can be tricky due to a couple of reasons, specifically, adhering to PIMA compliance standards and ensuring email deliverability. Strict regulations govern how the Client and Selman & Company must handle personal subscriber information. When looking for a mass email system, we had to make sure the system had the proper security requirements. Along with security, we had to make sure the system could successfully deliver and track a large amount of messages to the mailing list. We chose a trusted email platform service to deliver more than 31,000 emails to our Client’s customers.
By using an email-based solution, we lowered the costs of notifying subscribers. Mass email delivered a couple added bonuses, too. First, we are now able to provide better reporting than we could have with a paper letter campaign, including click-throughs, opens, and bounce data to help the Client groom their subscriber list. Second, the Client is now able to use the email channel we created and adapt it for other communications if needed.
Operations and Process
With the notification situation handled, we turned next to the problem of improving the operations and processes used to manage subscriptions. With the old process, subscriber coverage changes were reported by the employer to SelmanCo as they occurred. However, the previous monitoring service could only accept an eligibility file once per month. This created a percieved gap in coverage that would occur if an employee activated coverage in the time between Selman received a change and when the eligibility file was transmitted to the monitoring service. In the past, it was possible for an employee to be caught in an interim period and be told they weren't eligible, even though they had purchased the benefit! While this didn't occur frequently, it was technically possible.
The new process continues to batch the work, but with process improvements, we've aligned the distribution of the subscription kits with to coincide with the delivery of the eligibility file to the monitoring service. This has eliminated the "percieved gap" of coverage. Due to the sensitive nature of the subscriber information in the eligibility file, we continue to send it to the monitoring company via secure FTP.
Outsourcing and Reporting
Selman & Company had already been providing billing and collection for this block of business. That service continues successfully without change. However, as part of the new scope of work, we also customized the format of the eligibility file that includes the disposition of each subscription. This matches the new monitoring service's own systems and allows them to process the data more quickly.
With the improved reporting, the Client now has access to additional data, in the form of email send data to correlate with revenue generation. Which messages create the most engagement? What is the average duration of days between an email notification and enrollment? The Client now has the data they need to enhance their own business intelligence.
The first notification blast had an average open rate of 92%, and that number has trended up as new subscribers (with current email addresses) are added. Not only did the initial email have a high open rate, but it also saved nearly $11,000 as compared to a direct mail letter campaign. Less-quantifiable improvements in process and operations include a more convenient employee experience, a streamlined batch process, and enhanced security and deliverability.
A great third party administrator should help its clients by bringing a sophisticated strategy and a high-level understanding of end consumers. But, sometimes, diving down into the weeds to examine a problem up close yields insightful, pragmatic solutions. This is why a great insurance administrator can produce results both ways.
Let's talk about your outsourcing needs today.
Ed. Note: Thanks to Emily Olesinski for contributing content.