On a phone call with an insurance marketing industry veteran this morning, he said this:

“The Market is demanding more access and transparency. Regulators are demanding more information security and compliance. Insurance companies are struggling with adapting product and process to generational preferences and digital requirements. People will tolerate some level of off-line completion in the process, via email or phone, as long as it’s efficient and streamlined and non-repetitive providing a good user experience. The ones that solved it are winning. Some have spent millions on processes that didn’t have buy-in from internal teams and therefore didn’t yield the necessary ROI. That learning process has been costly.”

This week, I’m heading to L.A. to attend an insurance industry trade association meeting. It’s my 23rd meeting dating back to the summer of 2005. I can’t wait to chat with some of the smartest, funnest, and funniest people in the affinity marketing business.

PIMA MidYear 2006 Napa

PIMA MidYear 2006 Napa

For those not familiar with PIMA, it’s an ecosystem of people invested in the distribution of various group insurance products. The channels are primarily large professional and trade associations, e.g. teachers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, engineers, etc. As a result, it’s a complex web of insurance companies, brokers and agencies, associations, and marketing partners.

From a historical perspective, this corner of the insurance industry has been around for over 30 years and involves billions of dollars of in-force premium. The early investors were extremely effective marketers selling insurance products primarily to the baby-boomer generation via direct response marketing to association members via direct mail and telemarketing.

When I hit the scene in 2005, I had just finished a Web-based project that involved a carrier based in Hartford, a broker based in L.A., and one of the largest blue-collar unions. The text-book e-signature application was a portal for AD&D, quote-through-issue – a PIMA Gold Award-winning e-commerce workflow that is quite common today. I also rolled out this blog at that first meeting. I’ll never forget the quizzical looks from people when I asked them to subscribe to my blog. “Blog? What’s a blog? Who ARE you, anyway?!?!” :-)

We were so YOUNG!

We were so YOUNG!

Fast forward to today, and like many other industries, Web & Social technologies, combined with increased regulations, plus increases in direct response costs and decreases in response rates, all have combined to create dramatic shifts in the marketing paradigms, home office staffing, product configurations, compliance guidelines, and so much more. It goes without saying that the last 10 years have been quite disruptive.

Wrapping up this post, the 2016 MidYear Meeting Agenda once again looks powerful, full of tech innovation from companies like FIGO Pet Insurance, OSCAR Health Insurance, MyLifeProtected, and Augeo Marketing. I’m interested to perhaps meet Greg Bailey with Insure.VC and DenimTM. The Linkedin profiles of all these people look outstanding. The Marketing Methods Competition is always a great place to learn what worked well in the past year and who worked on it. And of course I’m excited to reconnect with so many industry friends with whom I’ve shared tremendous life experiences these past 11 years. A rich time indeed.

I’m also looking forward to asking people this question:

“What are the Top 3 Challenges your operation faces as you look ahead to the next 2-3 years?”

I’ll report on what I hear, anonymously of course – no worries, this time next week.

I will be live-tweeting the sessions on the hashtag #PIMAMY16. And the meeting planners have asked me to take a few pictures along the way – always a fun way to stay engaged and share media during and after the event via my photo site.

What do I hope to leave with?

I’m looking for a long-term job opportunity with a company, broker, or marketing partner that wants to grow in the Web/Digital/Social space. I’ve already got a few positions in-process. I’m also looking for short-term, high-impact consulting projects where I might be able to make a difference while I find that best-fit job – also a few in the pipeline I’m looking forward to developing at the meeting.

I have learned so much these past few years, it’s time to harness my knowledge and my network for the benefit of one savvy company – and the industry at-large.

See you Wednesday night! Smile for the camera! :-)