Reward to Retain: The Effects of Loyalty Schemes in the Insurance Industry

Three quarters of people would change insurers to a company offering the same product at the same price – as long as they gave them loyalty schemes too.

The figures were revealed in a major survey carried out by M&S for Business that looked into the way companies in the financial sector attract new customers – and keep them.

As well as surveying customers it spoke to insurance industry figures to try and discover what makes a successful acquisition and retention strategy.
While 95 per cent of respondents said price was one of the most important factors when deciding what policy to buy, only 55 per cent said price was the sole reason. It suggests that in such a competitive industry a loyalty or reward scheme to add value to a policy could improve chances of take-up.
Experts agreed and most insurers quizzed said they already ran some sort of reward scheme.

But the survey also revealed that almost half (45 per cent) of respondents did not know if their insurer offered a reward scheme or not.
It suggests that communicating the scheme on offer to customers is just as important as the scheme itself.

Increase Customer Acquisition

The report concludes: “Implementing a reward scheme for loyalty, referrals or signing up to an insurance policy is a great way to increase customer acquisition, retention and satisfaction. However, it is important that the offering is relevant to the individual and offered at the right time.

“Allowing customers to earn points and rewards makes them feel involved with your brand and gives them the feeling that your service is worth more than that of the competition. As with any relationship in life, the one between business and consumer needs to be nurtured and approached delicately.

“That is why research and planning are imperative to the success of a reward scheme. If you get it right, you can build relationships and create brand advocates who will stay with you for a lifetime.”

Encourage Customer Retention

Stuart Lawrence, Head of M&S for Business said: “We know that the insurance industry is one of the sectors where it can be most difficult to encourage customer retention. With insurance usually being an annual purchase and most people hunting for the best priced policies, it can be hard for an insurance company to offer a unique service.

“With this in mind, we have carried out some research to discover what qualifies as a successful customer acquisition and retention strategy within the industry and found that reward schemes are something that is seen as value for a customer.

“We feel that the results of this research are transferable to other sectors within the financial industry and provide an interesting insight into a customer’s perception.”

To look at the complete findings, visit M&S for Business’ website.

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How Will The New Companies Act Affect Businesses In Ireland

The long awaited Consolidated Companies Bill that came into force on the 1st June 2015 has affected huge numbers of businesses throughout Ireland. The new law essentially consolidates the existing Companies Acts of 1963-2013 into a single piece of legislation that requires business owners to make a number of changes over the next 18 months.

It’s the largest reform of company law in over 50 years and is intended to make the process of registering and operating a business in Ireland easier. Some of the key changes include:


The creation of two types of Private Limited Company

Any business currently registered as a Private Limited Company (PrC) will have to decide between one of two new options.

Private Company Limited by Shares (LTD)

Expected to be used by corporations, under the new law an LTD company requires:

  • Only one director as long as they’re a member of the EU and over eighteen years of age.
  • If a LTD company has one director it must appoint a separate company secretary that can either be an individual, or a corporate body. If you chose an individual, this cannot be the same person who fulfills the role of director.
  • A new LTD company will have “Limited” after its name.
  • Previously, businesses had to state their business objectives in the Memorandum and Articles of Association document. This will be replaced by a single document (commonly referred to as the “constitution”) and businesses will no longer be required to state their objectives to the government.
  • The omission of the objects clause allows the company to trade in any lawful business or activity.
  • Companies are no longer required to hold an Annual General Meeting.
  • May pass written resolutions by the relevant majority.


Designated Activity Company (DAC)

Certain companies are expected to become a DAC including charities, management companies, regulated financial institutions and companies limited by guarantee.

  • You must have at least 2 directors both over the age of eighteen.
  • All DAC companies (except charities) will require a change of title that includes Designated Activity Company at the end of the company name.
  • A DAC must still hold Annual General Meetings.
  • Companies will have a two-page constitution that states the objects for which the company is incorporated.
  • A DAC can claim eligibility for an audit exemption.


Codification of Directors

To clearly outline responsibilities, under the new law there are now eight principle duties that all directors must adhere to:

  1. Act in good faith.
  2. Act honestly and responsibly.
  3. Act in accordance with the company’s constitution.
  4. Not to use company property unless approved by the constitution.
  5. Not to fetter discretion unless permitted by the constitution.
  6. To avoid conflicts of interest.
  7. To exercise care skill and diligence.
  8. To have regard for the interests of members as well as employees.

For anyone found to be breaking the new laws, fines will range from €5,000 – €500,000 depending on the severity of the offence.


Loans to and from Directors

The rules surrounding loans to and from a director has also been amended. If there is no appropriate documentation surrounding the terms of the loans, the following will be presumed:

  • Loans to a director will be subject to interest and repayable on demand.
  • Loans from a director will not be considered a loan and won’t bear any interest.


Foreign Companies

For foreign companies with a presence in Ireland, the new Companies Act has abandoned the concept of “place of business” cancelling the registration numbers of any existing business.

For foreign companies that meet certain requirements you may want to consider registering the business as a branch.

There will be an 18-month transition period from the 1st June 2015 and any company failing to act within this timeframe will automatically be deemed to be a DAC during the transition period, and a LTD after the transition deadline. Failure to convert to the appropriate company type may cause legal issues for the company, shareholders and directors.

This post was written by Open A European Helping entrepreneurs, startups and businesses with company incorporation and formation in Ireland and the rest of Europe.

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Ulster Bank Fraud Seminar Reaches Omagh

Continuing with the Ahead for Business Programme and trying to help businesses get ahead in Tyrone, Ulster Bank held their latest Fraud Awareness Seminar in Silver Birch Hotel, Omagh. The objective of the seminar is to help businesses keep themselves safe, by understanding the threats from fraud and what measures they can take to counteract these risks.

Ulster Bank Fraud Seminar

Shauna Burns, Head of Mid Ulster & Fermanagh Business centre welcomed 50 local business people to the business suite of the hotel and introduced the first speaker Margaret Hunter, RBS Security & Resilience. Margaret gave an overview of trends that the bank are experiencing and discussed hints and tips on cheque and invoice fraud. Michelle Garrigan, Head of On line Operations was the second speaker and gave the audience a great feel for the sophistication of fraudsters and what the banks golden security rules are regarding bankline. With some surprising statistics for the audience:

  • 1m people are affected daily by cybercrime
  • 170,000 identities stolen each year
  • Online fraud costs the UK economy £27bn each year

Fight Against Fraud

After a series of questions and answers, Shauna Burns closed the seminar and recommended that everyone shared the information of the day to business colleagues, family and friend to help “the fight against fraud”.

The local business team who were also in attendance received very positive feedback from the audience who appreciated the event being held in Omagh;

  • “great speakers, good content and good length”
  • “Definitely something I need to consider more in my own business”
  • “Can we arrange another for all local solicitors?”
  • “excellent event, very informative & worthwhile”

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Calling all Innovators & Entrepreneurs, we need your help & your green VOTE !!

As with any Irish technology company, we all suffer unique challenges when growing business internationally. As a country we have a small population so we struggle when trying to make as much noise as our International competitors. Even places we assume are tiny states such as Haiti & Togo have twice and three times our population.

Hence we need your help…

One of our company’s, Surface Power HONE which has developed a revolutionary “daylight” powered Nano-heat engine technology is short-listed (final 18 was judged by experts) for the 2Degrees Champions Award –  “Innovation of the Year” which is the world’s leading collaboration platform and service for sustainable business with over 46,500 members from 177 countries.

Surface Power HONE has nearly 7,000 installations of this patented technology over 8 countries to date and it has been kept fairly secretive until recently. The technology was field tested in the West of Ireland & New Zealand as the daylight levels are some of the lowest in the OECD. In short, it replaces the use of oil and gas for heating and cooling with free daylight. Have a look at LIVE customers on our website such as the UK National Health Service running their hospital’s central heating on free “daylight” (sounds mad but true !!)

The next phase of the 2Degrees “Innovation of the Year Awards” is a voting stage which will reduce the final 18 to 5 for the big awards ceremony and we need your help and your vote. 

Although already in the short-list of 18, we are the only Irish Technology company in this shortlist and are up against huge players such as Nestle, General Motors & B&Q.

You can vote for us by clicking the link below to get us into the final 5 and we thank you in advance for that vote. Be sure to tweet it afterwards using the link so we can personally send you a thank you tweet. Go raibh maith agat as do chabhair.

Best Regards, John Quinn, CEO. (Twitter – @johnquinn_irl )

Read our story and VOTE from below.

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Webinar Best Practices

Preparing a presentation through a webinar is only half effective as the preparation that goes into the webinar presentation. Webinars can be very cost effective and can reach a broad audience. The webinar can be as official, or as informal as the host wishes it to be. Depending on the sophistication of the marketing and IT departments, the webinar can be robust or elementary. Read on for Webinar Best Practices…

The goal is to effectively communicate with the intended audience. At this point it is presumed that the host has decided that the webinar is the most effecting medium to communicate the host’s message.

1. Select Your Presenters and Speakers

Your message cannot be effectively communicated if you chose the wrong communicators to convey your message. Understanding the type of medium that you are using with your webinar and the speaking style of your presenter. Your presenter may not be comfortable speaking during a webinar format. This should be addressed with a short test run prior to the actual presentation. Some speakers can be coached to present in the webinar format while others may find it difficult to adjust.

2. Determine Your Presentation Format

How you present your information is just as important as what you are trying to say. You will have to see you webinar presentation from the perspective of the your audience. Your presentation may be viewed on different mediums, including smart phones tablet devices, laptops as well as desktop computers. Again a test shot of how you may want to present your presentation is not as important as how your presentation will be received. If you ask two or three friends to view a five minute segment of your presentation you may receive valuable feedback regarding the proper manner to organize your information.

3. Plan Your Exhibits and Visual Displays

Your visuals are critical in a webinar. Depending on the receiving device graphics, it may not be visible to someone participating with your webinar using a smartphone or a tablet device. Some exhibits and visual displays may need to be distributed to the webinar participants prior to the presentation starting. Others may have to be simplified too so the images or graphics can be viewed easily.

4. Select Your Webinar Medium

There are many services that offer online meetings for free, and there are several for webinars as well. Most have a modest cost for their use, but will allow a free trial so you can see if the medium is easy to use and whether it is a site or program that you are comfortable with. Again you should decide on a webinar medium that is reliable and is easy for your audience to sign in to use. Also, you may want to compare the various features between the mediums. Use of graphics and playback ability are important in the communication of your message.

5. Determine Your Webinar Registration

If you have a specific guest list for your webinar you may want to ensure that your webinar facilities have the capability of easy registrations so you are able to tell who from your target audience is actually participating on your call. This will help you to determine if you need to take additional steps to advertise your webinar and the presentation subject matter. Webinars allow for very specific audiences and messages in a compelling way, with limited interaction. Ideally you’d want everyone on your business’s mailing list to attend, but don’t plan on it. You may also want to determine if you desire the registration list to be viewable to other participants of the call.

6. Prepare a Detailed Agenda

This is the most important part of your webinar. You must first decide how long your webinar will be and then literally script each segment of your webinar. If you plan to have a period for questions and answers you should plan a set amount of time for questions and answers and stick to that time period so you do not run out of time. Otherwise, members of your audience will start to fall off the webinar if they feel or sense that there is no structure to the presentation. Additionally, once an agenda is shared, your audience will know what subject matters are going to be covered and when to present timely questions.

7. Set and Execute a Dry Run in Front of a Test Audience

After you have put your presentation together you should do a real time presentation with a test audience to see if all facilities of the webinar work properly. This will help you to perfect your presentation and will keep your audience engaged.

8. Reserve and Check Your Equipment and Space

Prior to the commencement of your webinar presentation you or your staff should do a check of all of the systems to be used for your webinar. This includes making sure that call in or login numbers and passwords are working properly. This will avoid any unforeseen delays in the start of your presentation. Studies have shown that if someone has difficulty signing into a webinar then they will leave before 10 minutes and that audience is lost.

All and all, with these tips you’ll be on your way to a better, well-prepared webinar presentation.

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