An insurer uses inserts to sow interest for e-bills

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American Modern Insurance Group is hoping to save both costs and trees with a new insert campaign designed to entice its customers to switch to electronic bills rather than paper ones.

The Cincinnati-based specialty insur­ance subsidiary of The Midland Company is sending out approximately 400,000 buckslips promoting its “Tree2” program. The budget for the campaign was around $35,000, according to Natalie Green, PR manager for American Modern.

The bill stuffers — a medium rarely used by the company — ask recipients if they are interested in signing up for the company's EZPay payment plan, which replaces paper bills with a deduction from the customer's bank account or credit card. For every per­son who accepts the offer, a tree will be planted in Gulf Coast areas hit by hur­ricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005.

The program is called Tree2, because users who decide to use the electronic bill­ing will have not only have a tree planted for it, but also ostensibly save trees by reducing paper bills, Green said.

“The idea was to do something with planting trees, and we thought about doing it in the Katrina-stricken areas,” she explained. “A lot of people went down there to help rebuild houses, but no one was rebuilding nature.”

Green said the ultimate goal of the campaign, if it proves successful, would be to convert the company's entire 1.3 million customer base to electronic billing methods, saving the company money on printing and shipping costs in addition to the positive environmental impact.

American Modern's in-house creative team, with five artists and five copywrit­ers, helped create the insert campaign. The company also prints much of its marketing material in-house, though the Tree2 stuffers were printed at a commer­cial printer, due to the large volume. It is working with Auburn University and its Longleaf Alliance program for the tree-planting portion of the program.

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