Engaged Strategy recently concluded its independent benchmarking study of motor and property insurance providers, surveying thousands of Australians about the current provider in these two sectors. Two motoring clubs emerged as the Most Recommended Brands in Australia based on the popular Net Promoter Score® methodology – RACQ in the motor insurance category and RAC WA for property insurance, as shown in the chart below. Travel down Australian history and you will find that the role of motoring clubs began in the 1920s when the Australian financial system was nearly shut to foreign entry.
The Great Depression of the 1890s resulted in increasing government monopoly in the financial sector, cascading through the next few decades. The government played a significant role not just for workers’ compensation in places like Queensland, but even in compulsory third party motor insurance across the country. Customers of private insurers suffered heavily with uneconomical premium rates. While government offices continued to control premium rates for compulsory third party insurance right up to the 1990s, motoring clubs were making inroads in the private insurance sector from the 1920s itself. The growing popularity of motor cars provided these clubs with an opportunity to offer private motor insurance coupled with value ads to their members. While the initial value ads included road side assistance, it has evolved over the years to include a multitude of offers such as discounts for theme park tickets, dining, accommodation, etc. While they initially focused on providing motor insurance, the membership format encouraged these clubs to diversify into various other insurance services such as property.
While the Australian economy has grown from a closed unit since then to an international market today, there is much apathy in the motor and property insurance segment. For one, customers grudgingly pay for these products owing to the uncertainty of ever making a claim. This hesitancy of customers combined with competition among insurance providers has created a demand for lower premium rates. And this is where being a member as opposed to a customer is the key differentiation point in driving recommendation.
Motoring clubs such as RACQ and RAC WA have stood out owing to their legacy. As they continue to build on the emotion that insurance is for peace of mind during times of distress, they offer value added services that can be taken advantage of right now to keep their members engaged. Although other insurance companies have started offering discounts, nobody owns this territory better than motoring clubs. The entire legacy of these clubs began as member organisations as opposed to commercial brands who also offer discounts. Additionally, a key differentiation between these motoring clubs and other insurance providers is that the clubs do not have shareholders. This allows them to pass on benefits of profits to their members.
Taken together, the value of the above are evidenced by their individual Net Promoter Scores (NPS). As per Engaged Strategy’s study of the motor insurance sector, RACQ had an NPS of +40 per cent against the industry average of +8 per cent. The score was quite similar for RAC WA in property insurance, where it enjoyed an NPS of +37 per cent against an industry average of +9 per cent. These brands were surveyed across an array of brand and customer experience parameters alongside the most popular brands within the sector. Brands assessed in both the motor and property insurance analysis included AAMI, Allianz, APIA, NRMA, RAC WA, RACQ, RACV, Suncorp, Budget Direct and Coles Insurance. Additionally, GIO and YOUI featured in the analysis of motor insurance while NRMA featured in the property insurance assessment. Detailed insights are available in Engaged Strategy’s Motor and Property Insurance Intelligent Industry Analytics packages.
RACQ couldn’t have encapsulated it better than its latest advertising tagline which is “It pays to belong”.