Technology has allowed single-state insurers to compete with national carriers, but when the national carriers can spend millions marketing their company to customers the smaller carriers need to find a niche that will retain their policyholders and possibly attract a few from the competition. For North Carolina Farm Bureau Mutual Insurance Company, the battleground was electronic billing.
“We were receiving feedback from our customers that they wanted electronic billing—the ability to go paperless,” says Linda Squires, senior executive of operations for NCFBMIC. “We had customers that wanted services that we were not offering online: accessing declarations, getting proof of insurance. The bigger picture for us was to stay competitive and meet customer expectations.”
Such variety is why insurance remains such an extremely competitive business, according to Squires.
“We want to grow our business, but we also need to retain that customer,” she says. “If you don’t deliver these types of services, customers are going to shop elsewhere. There are too many national companies that spend heavy dollars on advertising that we can’t afford. We monitored the feedback on our Website and we could see the increase in expectations to be online. We need to look at the next generation of customers and make sure we have what they expect.”