Try Using E-mail Marketing In Salary Allotment Enrollments

We have often lamented in these pages that the average American is either uninsured or underinsured.

For instance, for the majority of workers, the primary (and in many cases, the only) life insurance coverage that protects the family from the financial problems of premature death is group life coverage provided by the employer.

This group coverage is, sad to say, often provided only as an afterthought to the primary concern, health insurance. Another sad note: In these days of reduced purchasing power for the dollar, group life coverage often is barely enough to cover funeral costs.

Unfortunately, life insurance is too intangible for most younger people to take seriously during the time they are likely to have the most need for it. They are busy raising their own children, paying mortgages and trying to take advantage of modern Americas “good life.” They know they need more insurance protection, but always seem to defer the decision for a more “convenient” time.

Meanwhile, there is concern at the highest leadership levels of our nation about another disturbing trend: the abysmal savings rate of our citizens. Many are only one paycheck away from homelessness because nothing has been set aside for the proverbial “rainy day.”

Of course, for many years, a handful of insurers have addressed both concerns–the life insurance need and the savings need–through workplace programs. Specifically, they have provided a variety of salary allotment or salary savings programs that enable employees to have a relatively small portion of their salary allotted to purchase life insurance or put into some form of savings instrument or mutual funds. But, despite their obvious value, such programs are still are not widespread.

Why? For one thing, some employers have resisted making these programs available to their employees. Also, supervisors have been reluctant to permit enrollment solicitations during the workday. Payroll staffs have vetoed any additional administrative duties that such programs might involve. And, finally, the enrollment and administrative costs for such programs have made the products themselves too expensive to be viable in the marketplace.

It doesnt have to be that way. Based on our experience in working with salary allotment programs using life insurance, annuities and mutual funds, good sales programs can generally overcome the objections of employers, supervisors and payroll staffs to permit the product to be offered in the workplace.

After all, most employers and other decision-makers in American business sincerely want their employees to have economic security. A properly designed program can overcome the major objections of workplace decision-makers–if the enrollment process can be made less obtrusive and time consuming.

Therefore, we ask: Why not use technology to make the salary allotment enrollment process faster and less expensive?

More and more worksite marketers are using laptop enrollment, of course. But we are not talking about that type of technology here. Rather, we are talking about e-mail.

The vast majority of white-collar employees (and many blue-collar employees as well) have access to employer-sponsored e-mail. Many firms already use e-mail facilities to communicate information and personnel data to employees.

Therefore, we believe it would be minimally intrusive to permit the use of company e-mail to communicate basic salary allotment plan information, to describe the benefits of the program, and to complete enrollments.

Every day, we receive junk e-mail or “spam” trying to sell us anything you can imagine. Many of these sales pitches are incredible pieces of sales technology, with video clips, voice-over descriptions, and demonstrations of often highly technical products.

It would seem that applying the same sophisticated technology to the important task of providing for employee financial security should not be overly difficult. It would certainly be less expensive than requiring the physical presence of an enroller, or it might cut down the need for multiple visits. This could reduce the cost of the products to the employee and make the programs more appealing.

We would be interested in hearing from readers about any salary allotment or similar programs that currently use this type of technology, either in lieu of face-to-face enrollments, or as a supplement to the traditional methods of enrollment.

A final thought: Marketers that move in this direction should give attention to assessing which products to use in such programs. Often, salary allotment programs use term insurance as the insurance portion of the program because it affords greater amounts of protection at lower cost. This is probably an intelligent choice, even though we would like to see more Americans become familiar with the long-term benefits of cash value life insurance.

Perhaps an aggressive conversion program packaged with the product could accomplish the twin goals of affording inexpensive insurance protection while affording the opportunity to convert to permanent coverage.

Use of modern technology, coupled with intelligent program and product design could go a long way toward making salary allotment insurance/savings sales the financial protection program it has the potential to become.

Norse N. Blazzard, JD, CLU, and Judith A. Hasenauer, JD, CLU, are principals in the Westport, Conn. and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. law firm of Blazzard, Grodd & Hasenauer, P.C. E-mail them at Norse.Blazzard@BGHPC.com.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Life & Health/Financial Services Edition, June 17, 2002. Copyright 2002 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.