September 2012 Trends & Highlights – Windows Phone, Active Insurers and Election Messaging

by on Oct 10, 2012

In September, financial firms teamed up to promote life insurance, expanded their mobile offerings, and posted information related to a couple recently topical events. Life Insurance Awareness month gave the entire industry a chance to promote the benefits of life insurance. In the mobile sphere, Windows Phone was a focus. As the presidential election grows closer, investment firms have been posting commentaries about how it might affect investment values. Also in September, property and casualty firms helped clients recover from Hurricane Isaac.

 

Friendly Competition in Life Insurance
September was Life Insurance Awareness month, and many firms responded with announcements on their websites. Nationwide, New York Life, Prudential and USAA dedicated full pages on the public site to educate consumers with a variety of articles, tools and videos. Another four firms – AXA Equitable, The Hartford, MetLife and Pacific Life – focused their marketing efforts and resources exclusively for advisors. Buddy Valastro, “The Cake Boss,” was featured in videos on a number of sites as the official spokesman of LIAM.

Windows Phone – The Next Mobile Frontier
Firms continued to expand their mobile presence in September, and we saw the first brokerage firm with a Windows Phone app. E*TRADE released an app for Windows Phone with fewer features than their apps for other operating systems. Clients can view account and market data and trade stocks and ETFs on the new app. Bank of America and USAA were the first firms in our mobile coverage group to offer an app for Windows Phone. In other mobile news, Wells Fargo Advisors made its first foray into the space with a mobile website that offers account access, market research and integration with the firm’s banking mobile site.  Sun Trust added mobile check deposit for the first time on its iPhone and Android apps, and Bank of America extended its mobile check deposit capabilities to its iPhone, iPod Touch, Android and Windows Phone apps after previously offering it for the iPad.

Property and Casualty Firms Provide Calm after the Storm
In August, we saw a handful of firms post articles about preparing for a hurricane as communities geared up to face Isaac. In September, Property and Casualty firms helped clients with the recovery. Allstate, GEICO, Liberty Mutual, Nationwide, Travelers and USAA all posted content related to Hurricane Isaac. Liberty Mutual and USAA provided new pages with information for clients affected by the hurricane, including advice to stay safe and file a claim. Allstate, GEICO, Nationwide and Travelers highlighted pre-existing catastrophe claim resources through new images on the public homepages. Allstate also posted the locations of its mobile claims centers on the Mobile Claims Center page. USAA consistently responds to weather events with new pages centralizing weather related resources, while GEICO and Travelers traditionally offer announcements that lead to catastrophe pages within the Claim Center.

Political Economy 101
As we noted last month, we continue to spot promotions for election-related commentaries across a few of our coverage groups, namely e-Monitor and our Mutual Fund groups. e-Monitor firms Ameriprise, Merrill Lynch Wealth Management and Wells Fargo Advisors all promoted new commentaries reflecting opinions about how the election could affect investors. Wells Fargo did the same on its Mutual Fund site. Federated joined in with “Hurricane Ryan takes Tampa by Storm,” about Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan.