E-Commerce with an emphasis on Social Technologies
Looking back, 2005 seemed to be the year of affinity marketing Web sites. 2006 looks like it will be more about small group major medical sites.
In the last six months, I’ve had four meaningful conversations with carriers and brokers about multi-carrier small-group quoting and enrollment Web sites. A couple conversations have focused on serving agents, helping them to work “better, faster, cheaper” using online tools for quoting, proposals, and enrollments. A couple have been brokers and carriers wanting to market group health direct to consumers.
So as with all Web sites, the keys to success will be design and architecture, as well as branding and marketing — not to mention product design. But it really seems clear that the small group medical quoting and enrollment business model is maturing.
2006 also looks like the year of lead engines for insurance products of all shapes and sizes. Everyone wants leads for their agents, and they are willing to pay a nice price for high quality leads.
So 2005 was very productive. A few carriers did very well. A few others I know about stumbled. In 2006, the stakes are increasing as the insurance market seems to be moving more into technology-enabled marketing with e-signature. I’m looking forward to a very productive new year.
Hope you don’t mind if I take a minute to share a great story that has nothing to do with Web sites or insurance technology. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage, put on some reflective music, and read on…
As I wrapped presents early this morning for some kids in need living in downtown Cleveland, something that IdeaStar does every year for the Phyllis Wheatley Josephine Kohler Academy, I smiled at the thought of my friend Pat and his son, Patrick. Last summer, I invited a bunch of guys to a retreat at the Gund Arena. Pat, a fellow tenor from choir, opted-in and took his 12-year-old son.
Pat and Patrick lost their wife and Mom three years ago to cancer. Needless to say, it’s been really hard on both of them. When they sat down in their seats at The Gund, Patrick pointed up to the loge seating area and said to his Dad, “I wish I could sit up there in those seats.” Pat explained that those were special seats. Later on, young Patrick’s heart was pricked by something and said, “I’m mad at God for taking Mom away from me. Why did he do that? I don’t care what you say, I don’t think it was fair. I’m going for a walk.”
About 15 minutes later, Patrick returned to his seat with a ticket in hand for a loge seat!!! When asked how he happened to get the ticket, Patrick said he followed the signs for the Loge seating. As he entered the elevator, a man jumped in and asked Patrick where he was going. Before he knew it, Patrick had the ticket and came back to show Dad. “Do you think God heard me when I said I wanted to sit up there? Let’s see if it works?” Pat was a little nervous to go up to the loge — two of them, only one ticket, hmmmm.
At the entrance to the loge, Pat saw the company name, knocked on the door, introduced himself, and explained the situation. The company rep said, “What’d you say your last name was?” Pat responded. The guy said, “Do you know so-and-so?” Pat said, “Yeah, that’s my uncle!” “Well, that’s one of my favorite people in the whole world — come on in!!!”
On the drive home, young Patrick said, “Maybe God DID have some special purpose for Mom in heaven. I still miss her, but I don’t think I’m mad at God anymore.” Pat smiled through his tears…
I love this time of year because of stories like this. It reminds me that there is more to life than work. Hope you have a blessed time with family and friends these next few weeks… It’s snowing in Cleveland!