Cigna Folds Newsletter Into Statements

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Employee benefits company Cigna Corp.'s retirement and investment services division discontinued a newsletter it mailed for five years after realizing less is more.


Focus group research showed that Cigna customers were likelier to read shorter articles as part of a pensioner's retirement statement than a dedicated newsletter that typically was tossed aside. So the 125-year-old company ended production of a newsletter that was mailed quarterly to 1.25 million Cigna customers -- most in English and some in Spanish.


"It lowered costs and increased readership, resulting in increased satisfaction," said Mary-Beth McCormack, assistant vice president for client solutions at Cigna Retirement & Investment Services in Hartford, CT.


Such a step has cut out production costs of $330,000 yearly on the newsletters. The newsletters were four pages long, with financial, market news and retirement educational articles. The majority mailed First-Class and others bulk.


A leading employee benefits firm nationwide, Cigna and its subsidiaries offer healthcare and retirement products and services via the workplace. It also offers investment management and group life, disability and accident insurance. As of June 30, it had assets of $91.3 billion. Revenue last year was $19.3 billion.


The switch to incorporating content in retirement statements was made possible with Exstream's Dialogue software. That product let Cigna use information from its record-keeping systems to design a statement that included relevant and timely personalized messages with graphics.


In terms of design, Dialogue allowed for features like white space management, graphing, charting and content management. Newsletter articles were directly incorporated into the statement, eliminating the need to print as well as insert in separate envelopes.


Messages now focus on contribution rates, loans and diversification options for individual interests. This lets Cigna improve its relationship and build business with its plan participants, giving them more freedom to plan their retirement.


Cigna incorporates the newsletter content as an insert at the end of the statement. Articles vary by the participants' life stage. Individual participant data and the length of the statement determine the amount of information printed.


Also, the statement's modular design gives plan sponsors the option to insert their corporate logos, images and taglines as well as customize sections. This is intended to aid in the plan sponsors' own branding and relationship building.


Plans call for new modules in the statement design to boost personalization and grow performance. Cigna again will rely on Exstream's Dialogue for its scalability and personalization features. The company also is using the software in Cigna's healthcare division.


"The personalization features allow us to send messages personalized based on the participant's life stage, resulting in more relevant information to educate participants and influence their behavior," McCormack said.


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