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Flo All of a sudden, my time on the elliptical in the morning is much more musical and I’ve got that darn “I’ll stand by you” song in my head all the way to the office.  Yes, Progressive’s popular Flo sings to help all of us 6 a.m. exercisers know about the insurance company’s loyalty program.

The program itself isn’t new.  According to Forrester Research, Progressive Insurance established its loyalty program in 2008 because the company was unhappy with its customer retention rate.  But the program itself doesn’t seem all that ground-breaking.  In fact, it doesn’t seem much like a loyalty program at all.  No points.  No rewards for referring your friends.  All you have to do is be a customer and stay a customer.

Progressive’s web site outlines the program, which includes a variety of discounts.  The “hook” is that some discounts are available right away (small accident forgiveness), and others are earned through longevity (large accident forgiveness at five years).   Want to know more?  Not a lot of transparency.  After 20 years, you qualify for “Lifetime Crown Benefits.”  Clearly special, but also mysterious.  This post on a website for insurance agents offers a snappy graphic and an explanation of the silver, gold and platinum levels.

So then I got to wondering.  My husband and I have State Farm for our home, his business, multiple cars, even a motorcycle (not mine).  We get discounts on top of discounts.  And our loyalty is mostly a matter of laziness.  Little did I know I was actually a citizen of the State Farm Nation!  The SFN Facebook Page is all about “getting stuff done.”  And members of State Farm Nation also get a variety of discounts shopping online with the State Farm Nation Rewards program.   To be fair, this doesn’t seem like a real loyalty program, either.

Hubspot’s blog has an interesting post about 7 Customer Loyalty Programs that Actually Add Value.  The 7th one:  ditch the loyalty program (like Jewel did).  Jewel decided that the boatloads of data generated by its loyalty card program just really wasn’t very usable.  Compare that to Tesco’s Clubcard (as addressed in a 2012 article in The Economist), where the UK company apparently uses information gleaned from retail purchases to determine the level of discount received by insurance applicants.

How effective is Progressive’s loyalty program for car insurance?  According to Direct Marketing News, pretty effective.  They report that a Progressive study found that a one-month increase in policy duration across its entire customer base would mean $100 million in incremental profit to the company.   The goal was clear:  up retention.  The loyalty program roll-out gave Progressive a 2% increase in retention rate.   Score!

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One thought on “Progress- ive Loyalty Program, really?

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