NAFCU Services Blog

Oct 04, 2018

Customizing vs. Personalizing Your Life Insurance Program

By: Chuck Sutton, Director, Life Product Management, CUNA Mutual Group

Many life insurance marketers equate “customization” and “personalization” as synonymous terms. Knowing the distinct differences will help guide your discussions with teams, partners, and all key stakeholders.


Put simply, customization is targeting a group of consumers with the right product and message, and hopefully at the right time.

When we consider the life insurance industry, there are also ways we can customize products to fit changing consumer needs. Areas such as how coverage is structured, timing of coverage and amounts, new concepts, such as pay-as-you-need, and offering more access to benefits for the policyholder are just some examples. From the perspective of how we communicate, it’s vital to know your customer’s preferences too.


Simplicity InfographicPersonalization is a package of experience, product, content, etc. that's focused on an individual. As we delve more into the granular level of personalization, you start to leverage data to boost the power of your marketing messaging to individuals.

In a recent webinar, CUNA Mutual Group Director of Product Management, Chuck Sutton, refers to this as “Amazonization,” since the powerhouse online retail has led the online shopping world in using data to make astute customer product recommendations aligned with past purchases, preferences, searches, and a host of other behaviors.

In the insurance industry, effective personalization will be a real differentiator. Technology and data availability are at a point where life insurance can personalize the customer experience, improve the connection, and anticipate wants and needs. In fact, consumers today expect suggestions based on past actions (searches, purchases, groups belonged to), what people “similar” to them like and logical connections of next steps. It’s important to them that options for their next step are available.

Members expect speed, simplicity, and convenience everywhere. According to a recent study, 64% of consumers are willing to pay more for simpler experiences. And 32% of consumers even bought or tried to buy life insurance online in 2017. Download the full infographic of statistics.

Ultimately, customization and personalization go hand-in-hand. As the industry moves into the future, a willingness to customize based on changing consumer needs and communication preferences across multiple channels will be paramount. And the ability of marketers to take full advantage of data to personalize campaigns for individual consumers will help them stand out in a crowded field.

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