What You Need to Know
- Many consumers prefer to get insurance statements through the post.
- Anyone who sends much mail needs to know about the Intelligent Mail Indicia.
- When something goes wrong, an auditable chain of custody for financial documents may help.
COVID-19 has inspired dramatic changes in the ways financial services and insurance professionals interact with clients. Financial services and insurance professionals have long relied on face-to-face interactions to cement relationships with clients.
However, social distancing requirements have compelled many to shift to virtual meetings using video chat and phone calls. If recent research is any indication, leveraging printed communications can be an effective way to supplement digital interactions, particularly when it comes to transactional financial documents. In a survey conducted by Consumer Action, the majority of respondents preferred receiving insurance and financial statements by mail compared to digital communications.
With more insurance agents, brokers and financial consultants working from home, many are relying on printed communications to reinforce client relationships, while outsourcing administrative functions, including mail-related services. Outsourcing mail services and adopting hybrid mail management solutions can bring increased efficiency and cost savings. Additionally, tracking mail with an auditable chain of custody and complying with new federal Intelligent Mail Indicia (IMI) standards will also save money and help avoid mail being returned, which improves cash flow and customer satisfaction.
Communicating Effectively at a Distance
The preference for print reinforces client relationships throughout the customer journey. Physical newsletters are a persuasive medium for communicating COVID-19 recommendations and keeping clients informed about new products and services, not least because clients spend more time reviewing printed communications than digital. In the Consumer Action survey, 78% of respondents reviewed printed bills compared to 43% for electronic statements. In addition, many transactional documents still require physical signatures.
While physical communications have benefits, particularly when leveraged in conjunction with digital channels, failing to secure sensitive data comes with a hefty price tag. Government agencies at the international, federal and state levels have been proactive in fining businesses for data breaches involving financial information\.
For insurance and financial professionals, ensuring that sensitive information ends up in the right hands is critical to avoiding costly fines and the loss of consumer trust that comes with a high-profile data breach. With more advisors working from home, having an auditable chain of custody when mailing financial documents has become even more important. At the same time, many workers still rely on manual processes to send mail. As a result, they don’t always take advantage of the robust mail piece integrity and tracking information offered by the USPS.
Evaluating Mailing Options
Shipping companies have long enjoyed a reputation for providing superior tracking information, but the USPS offers equivalent service at less cost. For example, the flat-rate, hard-sided envelope that many advisors use to send financial documents currently costs approximately 18% less when shipped through USPS. The secret to the detailed tracking information provided by the USPS lies in the Intelligent Mail package barcodes (IMpb) that USPS uses on its scannable labels. New smart mailing solutions will ensure USPS tracking data is made available to the sender.