The Road to Insurance Can Get Confusing

It ultimately comes down to trust between members, your CU, and your provider.

May 26, 2013
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Our credit union is thinking about offering insurance services to our members, but the path has been murky and foreboding—not unlike my latest Verizon contract.

Insurance is an entirely new business for us. And while we’re always looking for noninterest income, some stories of credit unions getting ravaged like a buffet table on a broken-down cruise ship have given us reason to pause.

Of course, the reasons for offering insurance products and services are well-known, but here’s a refesher:

1. Insurance, like banking, is a relationship based on trust. As consumers flock to credit unions in droves, offering insurance can help you retain those members.

2. Insurance has an automatic time to rewrite once or twice per year during renewals, not unlike a Kardashian marriage.

3. Standard types of insurance (auto or home) are universally accepted and understood, which reduces the burden on your training and marketing departments.

4. Credit unions often know the renewal times for insurance policies and, therefore, have an easier way to determine what products to pitch and when.

5. It’s the one financial product you know members do, or at least should, have.

6. Did someone mention “noninterest income”?

While tantalizing, the fundamentals of the business are different from normal financial services.

As one provider points out:

Which brings us to the main point: Is this something credit unions should have in their product and service repertoire? The answer is oddly enough the same answer to this question: What do all 80-year-old men need at night? “Depends.”

It depends on your geographic size, membership demographics, and your competitive environment. It depends on your commitment to the process and the amount of patience you have to wait for a new business to build to fruition. Success, regardless of how you define it, won’t come overnight.

Ultimately, it comes down to a level of trust. If members trust you, and you in turn can trust your insurance provider, then success is quite possible. But if any of it requires a leap of faith, then the chasm can be much wider than you expected.





JAMES COLLINS is president/CEO at O Bee CU, Tumwater, Wash. Contact him at 360-943-0740.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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