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THE HARTFORD FINANCIAL SERVICES GROUP NAMED COMPANY OF THE YEAR BY THE DMA FINANCIAL SERVICES COUNCIL
NEW YORK, March 31, 2003 Ė The Direct Marketing Associationís (The DMA) Financial Services Council will present The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (Hartford, CT) with its "Company of the Year" award. The Hartford will be honored during a luncheon at the Councilís Seminar XXVII Annual Conference & Executive Insurance Symposium, which will be held April 3rd at Sheraton Sand Key Resort in Clearwater Beach, FL.
"The Hartford consistently marries new concepts from a wide range of creative resources at a low cost," said Shawn Morris, JCG Ltd. and Chair, DMA Financial Services Council. "As a result they have achieved an efficient direct marketing effort that continues to increase the number of policyholders in the AARP Auto and Homeowners Insurance Program."
The DMA Financial Services Councilís "Company of the Year Award" recognizes companies that have displayed competence and consistency in integrating "state-of-the-art" marketing techniques and have demonstrated a proven pattern of improved results through the use of direct marketing.
Since 1984, The Hartford has been the exclusive provider of the AARP Automobile and Homeowners Insurance Program. Since the program's inception, unique features have continually been added to enhance the value to the customer, as well as maintain the program's distinctiveness and improve the participation.
The AARP Auto and Homeowners Insurance Program has been marketed through direct mail, AARP's publications, AARP's new and renewing member kits, cross-service provider marketing, cross-sell efforts and some outside media such as remnant newspaper advertising. In 2001, The Hartford expanded its reach to include direct marketing efforts targeted at Hispanic households..
In 1996, The Hartford embarked on developing capabilities to quote and buy via the Internet. As of 2002, the Internet was the source of 25 percent of new business for the AARP insurance program. Additional enhancements have been added over the last five years to increase response generated through the Internet, including search engine optimization, expansion of insurance malls, and the ability to e-mail to niche segments. The focus for 2003 will be on upgrading capabilities to issue online policies, as well as providing customer service features such as viewing policies online, making changes, upgrading coverage, and getting instant quotes on requested changes.
The Hartford utilizes licensed property-casualty representatives to handle inbound sales and service calls. These representatives undergo extensive product and customer care training as well as gerontology education which focuses on communicating with the mature customer.
Over the last few years, The Hartfordís call centers have incorporated a number of technological advances, including speech recognition, to improve operational effectiveness. Earlier this year the application was expanded to include billing, allowing customers to use touch-tone functionality to obtain account status and make credit card payments.
Nominations for The DMA Financial Services Council Company of the Year award are made by members of the Council. Winners are selected by the Councilís nominating committee. Nominees need not be members of The DMA or its Financial Services Council, but are expected to adhere to The DMAís Code of Ethics.
The DMA Financial Service Councilís Seminar XXVII Annual Conference & Executive Insurance Symposium is a two-day event that will focus on how leading direct marketing Financial Services and Insurance companies are making the most of third party affinity relationships and customer relationships through understanding various life stages and purchasing behavior. Additional information on this event is available online at http://www.the-dma.org/dmafscannual/index.shtml.