CPH is an insurance company that provides malpractice and professional liability insurance to mental and allied health and wellness practitioners, as well as insurance for small events. With over 130,000 active customers, CPH is a small but mighty outfit that uses everything in their toolkit to keep their customer retention high. Ameet Shahani is the Director of Technology for CPH and says, “What sets CPH apart is that we do everything online; from determining if a customer is eligible for coverage, to calculating their rates, and issuing their policies. Larger companies have automated some of the process, but CPH has automated the entire process for all of our products.”
Balancing Preference With Compliance and Engagement
CPH operates as a managing general underwriter (MGU), which means they act as an insurance carrier and agent to their policyholders, a complex relationship that requires a lot of ongoing communication. While regulations vary state to state, CPH has adopted an omni-channel communication strategy that maintains their legal compliance, while giving policyholders as much power as possible to choose which channel CPH uses to correspond with them. From renewal notices to invoices to claim checks, building a physical mail component into their communication strategy was critical to add value, especially in their niche field of insurance. This flexibility allows for CPH to retain loyal customers, while maintaining compliance by sending mandated correspondences.
“We’ve decided not to go completely electronic, as having a multi-channel engagement strategy increases our retention rates," Ameet says. "For example, some people will take that postcard and hold onto it until they are ready to renew. Personally, postcards on my fridge are a reminder for the things I don’t necessarily have time to do right away. And everybody has enough email.”
Implementing a Modern Direct Mail Solution
Before Lob, CPH relied on external commercial printers to run their direct mail operations. This meant that they had the aggregate data from different reports into an Excel spreadsheet before sending it to their printer; Ameet remembers the process as being overly complicated. It didn’t take long for CPH to outgrow their printer, and by then Ameet knew that he wanted a fully automated solution.
Out of all of the direct mail solutions Ameet looked at, Lob was the clear front runner. He liked Lob’s API documentation and native integrations, which allowed Ameet and his team to use Zapier to trigger a test batch of renewal postcards. The results were loud and clear: through Lob, CPH was able to reduce the lead time on their campaigns by 98%, from two weeks to less than one hour, while getting additional insights that increased the value of their direct mail operations.
Using Automation to Create More Agile Workflows
After the test batch, Ameet’s team was able to build a direct Lob integration into their client- servicing platform in less than a month’s time— one that allowed them to accommodate their customer‘s preferred channel for communication. As CPH expanded beyond automated renewal notices, they unlocked opportunities to modernize additional internal workflows. CPH now can programmatically send refund checks, applications, and statements to their policyholders, and greatly reduced the manual input needed to run direct mail campaigns. Direct mail at CPH used to be a three-person job (including a vendor), but now only takes less than one, which Ameet is working to ultimately eliminate by turning it into a scheduled IT function.
“Perhaps the most powerful learning was being able to tangibly demonstrate the value of direct mail to our own workforce, especially to our youngest employees. We’ve had many internal debates on how to stop this manual, painful process. The way to solve this debate was to eliminate the time, effort, and cost around direct mail and automate the entire process. Once the physical evidence was gone… the boxes of paper, working with printers, buying ribbons… the debate was gone. Rather than eliminate the spend on effective direct mail campaigns and see customer retention go down, it was more important to eliminate the manual effort around doing direct mail to prove its value.”