Emerging Markets Executives Share Success Strategies

October 3, 2004

While emerging markets are gaining national attention as the new frontier of financial services marketing, they pose special challenges to corporate managers, according to the Urban Insurance Partners Institute (UIPI), a nonprofit emerging markets resource.

“Insurers are trying different models for managing this opportunity,” said UIPI President Suzanne Reade, “and the model is evolving in response to a changing marketplace.”

At the fourth national Urban Insurance Advantage workshop, organized by UIPI, top corporate managers will discuss the changing emerging marketplace and how corporate managers can best manage this opportunity. Speakers will include Gwendolyn Jones, director, emerging market development, American Family Insurance Company, Don Davis, director, PL emerging markets, Travelers, and Danna Stimson-Gomez, vice president, FACT-Farmers Group.

“This is not a monolithic market, and within market segments, there are distinct differences in how customers understand insurance,” Jones said. “Language is emerging as a substantial issue, and it affects how customers understand insurance. Loyalty can be found in the ethnic market, but they expect the insurance company to treat them well.”

“Fortunately, when Farmers Group decided to enter the urban market, the senior corporate managers realized we needed a separate organization with the latitude to develop our own marketing, underwriting and distribution decisions,” said Danna Stimson-Gomez, vice president, FACT-Farmers Group. “No marketing plan is perfect right from the start, and one of the reasons we are successful is because we have the flexibility to adapt.”

“When Travelers made a commitment to seek growth opportunities in urban areas, we felt it was important to set clear and measurable goals pertaining to the market segment; be able to match underwriting to the available customer base; have agents that can grow in or near the community; and get involved with community partnerships that can provide programs and education to support a healthy insurance climate,” said Don Davis, director, PL emerging markets, Travelers.

“What is often called multicultural, diversity, or emerging markets has a set of nuances that include language, immigration status, and cultural bias,” added Davis. “These challenges vary across the country. They influence buying habits and attitudes toward insurance. To be successful, they must be factored into the market strategy. Because our independent agency partners do business in these communities, they have a working understanding of the needs of their community.”

At the Oct. 27, 2004 UIPI workshop in Chicago, insurers will also hear from Illinois Acting Director Deirdre Manna, Massachusetts Commissioner Julianne M. Bowler, regulatory attorneys, corporate managers, and risk management experts. More information on UIPI and the workshop, which is for insurance and reinsurance companies, can be found at www.uipi.org.

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