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End of Line for Auto/Home Packaged Policies, Brian S. Cohen Writes in Best's Review

LOS ANGELES, CA -- (Marketwired) -- 04/07/14 -- Big insurers are ramping up advertising promoting the multi-policy discount for auto and homeowners insurance, but it's probably the twilight of this staple of insurance company marketing, Brian S. Cohen, president and CEO of Strategic Growth Advisors LLC, writes in the April edition of Best's Review.

"The packaged policy is coming to an end, and that will have a radical impact on customer acquisition and retention for insurance companies, brokers, and agents," he writes. "People using smartphones and the Web are causing massive changes in consumer behavior. Welcome to the future -- today."

Before the Internet, consumers relied on recommendations from someone they trusted and traditional advertising. Big insurance companies battled to be top-of-mind through brand marketing and putting agent offices on every corner of Main Street, he writes.

It became more difficult for consumers to compare prices among insurers; consumers had to "trust" their agent or insurance company to provide them the best price, Cohen writes.

"But today's advertising is dominated by a talking gecko and a woman named Flo, both pushing cheap prices," he writes. "The Digital Age destroys product loyalty by commoditizing choice through access to pricing information.

"The difficulty in comparing price and features from one company to the next has allowed companies to differentiate themselves. It's becoming much less difficult, and that's why the packaged policy will likely soon be a thing of the past. Packaged policies have been successful because the combination of two or more products into one price offering further blurs exactly how much the consumer is actually paying."

The demise of package discounts will have a profound impact on both insurance companies and agents and brokers, Cohen writes.

Best's Review magazine is published monthly by the A.M. Best Co. for insurance professionals.

Cohen is also an operating partner at Altamont Capital Partners, a private equity firm based in Palo Alto, Calif. He was recently president and CEO of Pacific Specialty Insurance Company and was senior vice president of sales and distribution and was chief marketing officer at Farmers Insurance Group. He can be reached at [email protected]. LinkedIn: http://tinyurl.com/mmfbvsr.

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