E-FILES:State Insurance teams with Fly Buys

Half-price travel insurance is the hook for State Insurance's new e-commerce initiative.

www.fbinsurance.co.nz

Half-price travel insurance is the hook for State Insurance’s new e-commerce initiative.

State has teamed up with loyalty scheme provider Fly Buys to offer the drastically reduced insurance cover exclusively over the Net.

Members of the Fly Buys scheme can start the insuring process online, with most able to complete the job online as well, as the majority of applicants are accepted.

State has had a jump in visitors to not only the i-travel site but State Insurance as well, says State marketing manager Jason McCracken. They stay longer too, he says.

The workings behind the e-site consist of a full customer database built by Advantage Group, which contains all the customer and policy information. This gives direct access for State's dedicated Internet sales and claims teams to use via the company's intranet. This secure database in turn links to State's core insurance.

The site is aimed at overseas travellers who are seeking competitive premiums and cover and who appreciate the "ease and convenience of being able to investigate and buy travel cover 24 hours a day with no paperwork or hassles”. The half-price cost reduction is based on the standard premiums charged by 10 other travel insurers. As a bonus, people who use the service will double their Fly By points.

The e-venture, which is a purely cyberspace product, has the security of being backed by New Zealand's largest personal insurer with a strong brand and competitive pricing, says McCracken. "This gives it a great point of difference over products purchased from travel agents."

And eliminating the middleman, according to McCracken, means direct financial benefits for the consumer. Last but not least, the Internet offers travellers access to their policy details anywhere in the world they may have headed off to.

McCracken says it is necessary to have a clear vision of what a company is trying to achieve with the development of an e-venture before starting out - as with any product development. "You must identify the key business objectives and the issues surrounding that and then work closely with the development company - in our case Advantage - to insure the planning process covers these issues."

McCracken says companies have to place particular emphasis on ensuring the systems and processes used in an e-commerce site suit the Internet.

"There are plenty of case studies of things that go wrong and we’ve found that planning, good communication and working relationships with all people involved are critical."

To achieve success with an e-site, developers shouldn't stray too far from existing business principles, he says.

"It has to be created and run for the benefit of the customer, be easy to use and meet their requirements with regard the product itself, the price and the security of both personal and payment information. "Really not too different from any customer proposition."

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