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When money’s tight, your existing insurance customers could be especially happy to hear from you

When money’s tight, your existing insurance customers could be especially happy to hear from you

Right now, people in many countries are bracing themselves for a cost-of-living crisis of historic proportions.

Basic consumer necessities, like home energy, fuel – even food – are set to soar to record price levels over the coming months – despite the financial support that Governments are digging deep to provide.

With household budgets squeezed to extremes, you might logically assume that customers will automatically be reluctant to spend more on any discretionary purchases – including insurance.  In fact, you might even expect lapse rates to rise significantly as people exchange valuable protection for short-term help with cash flow.

But at Riverside, we’ve repeatedly seen that customers don’t necessarily behave that way – based on the results of the policy upgrade campaigns that we’ve run with insurers around the world since 2005.

For example, the uptake on our upgrade offers to existing insurance customers increased significantly following the banking crisis of 2008. And during the ongoing uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic, we saw response rates in the USA exceed pre-pandemic levels by between 22% and 63%. 

Moreover, there are many other memories and accounts of customers seeking additional insurance protection in the aftermath of severe weather conditions, high-profile terrorism attacks and other incidents of bad news on a global scale.

Why is this?

A natural “flight to protection”

At financially challenging times, it seems that customers have a sharper awareness of how their needs for protection and security may have changed over the years. And this helps ensure that personalised, relevant communications from their insurer can be seen as a timely and welcome service.

In the ugrade programmes that we create for insurers, we first remind customers of the value of the insurance cover they already hold. And that reinforcement helps to deliver significant improvements in customer retention – even in “normal” times.

In fact, for Life companies, we typically see a 12%-30% reduction in lapse rates on existing policies held – across all customers over the 12 months following the communication. And this improvement includes those customers who don’t take up the additional upgrade or cross-sell offer.

Successful communication in inflationary times

In addition to reinforcing the benefits of existing policies, it’s important to point out the need for regular reviews of the customer’s level of cover – especially during times like these when inflation is significantly reducing its real value.

And beyond this, it’s essential to make the upgrade offer affordable and easy for the customer to accept.

We generally advise that the incremental premium level for the upgrade should be in the region of 10% of the individual customer’s existing outlay – and very rarely above 30% for the best overall results.

What’s more, the additional policy should be issued with the minimum of effort being required on the part of the customer – including no or extremely short-form underwriting.  And whenever possible, the customer’s existing payment method should be extended in the offer to include the additional premium.


When money’s tight, your existing insurance customers could be especially happy to hear from you

By paying full attention to all these details, you can help ensure the highest possible response level to the offer.

For Life companies working with Riverside, these response levels are typically 10%-30% of all customers included – to fully converted, premium-paid policies. And that’s on top of the improvement in customer retention explained above.

Effective customer communication can help your agents and intermediaries too

The cost-of-living crisis will affect almost everybody to some extent – not just customers. Your distribution channels – agents and other intermediaries – will also feel the pinch.

The Riverside approach to customer communication can support these important people too, by generating additional income for them from increased sales and retention.

What’s more, each intermediary can be given details of their customers included in the campaign, so that they can follow up and generate additional new business as they choose.

We always recommend that every intermediary should have the option to exclude any of their customers from the activity just as they wish. On the whole, however, we find that most of them are very happy to be fully included – in view of the benefits they can enjoy.  

Find out more about how Riverside could help you support your customers and your business in challenging times

We’d be delighted to tell you more about the benefits that your business and your customers could enjoy with the Riverside approach to customer communication.

We’ll tell you about how we can work with you to build profitable new sales within your existing customer base  – in a way that reassures your customers and can delight your agents and intermediaries.

We’ll also describe how we can provide you with a unique and valuable analysis of your existing customer base that we provide to you without charge or obligation.  This helps to demonstrate the quality of our work and our commitment to the best results.  It also produces robust insight on which to build detailed recommendations.

Finally, we’ll explain how we’ll always share in the marketing costs of any  activity we undertake for you – so that we can only be successful if you’re successful too.

To arrange an initial discussion – without any obligation – simply contact Bill Gilbert by email:, or call him on +31 6 5047 9647.

We’d be delighted to hear from you.