Darren Partridge insurance affinity partner selection

Darren Partridge, insurance affinity schemes consultant at Opus 360 explains the first steps to creating a successful affinity partnership

From an Insurance company or broker sales point of view most organisations with a large end user, member or client base provide them with a captive audience in which to sell their products or services.

But select your partner with care and diligence, your client or member base is your most valuable asset, so allowing a third party access to them without the right offering can be detrimental to years of hard work.

Endorsing an insurance supplier for your client base can present its own challenges especially with so many insurers in the market it is easy to make a poor choice. What I call ‘Shoe horn’ affinities is a classic example. This is where an organisation, an electrical contractor association for example, has approached an Insurance provider to supply products to its customers. The insurer isn’t going to turn the offer of a distribution channel down and offers the association ‘off the shelf, standard wording’ liability policies branded for the association. The Insurer ‘Shoe horns” their products into the association’s requirements.

The fact is there are insurers and brokers who offer electrical contractor specific insurance policies that almost certainly offer greater cover, policy extensions and cheaper, your client already has access to these with the click of a mouse which makes your suggested member benefit or negotiated offering look weak and completely undermines your organisations integrity.

The key to a good affinity partnership is firstly to understand your business and what you want to achieve and negotiate with a provider to offer a UNIQUE and CREATIVE solution, So what next:

1. Planning

You should enlist the services of an independent insurance affinity partnership specialist – someone with the professional experience, contacts and more importantly the expertise in finding partners and structuring the right deal for both parties – A good insurer or broker can and will create a bespoke package to meet your needs.

The legal structure of the deal is paramount, as this will avoid complications further down the line. A good affinity specialist will put in place a binding legal contract that lays out specifically the responsibilities affecting both parties.

Remember, there is no trade organisation or governing body for affinity specialists so probably the best method for finding one is either by recommendation or obtaining testimonials.

Get the advice and expertise of an affinity partnership specialist to help navigate you through the unseen pitfalls and legal complexities.

2. Brokering the deal

Your insurance affinity specialist will help negotiate with your chosen partner for the best solution to offer your clients, who should accept your commercial proposition as long as it is relevant to its customer base and is also commercially risk-free.

Now is also the time to define the fine detail of the partnership and draw up a legal agreement covering all aspects of the campaign. In particular, you need to specify the commission per sale as well as the responsibilities allocated to both parties.

You also need to ensure that the marketing collateral conforms to both parties’ brand values and meets brand guidelines.

Make sure you have selected a partner brand that you think would add value to your own customer base and the individuals within it.