No one enjoys paying for insurance. It's like placing a bet that something terrible is going to happen, and really, who wants to think about that? Making matters worse: rates always seem to be on the increase, and you're never entirely sure that you're getting the best deal. Thanks to the internet, though, there's a new way to buy insurance that makes the process a little less painful -- and possibly, more affordable.
iMingle is a web-based insurance company -- which in itself isn't a game-changer. We've seen a number of online agencies pop up over the years, and even venerable brick-and-mortar outfits typically offer the ability to secure quotes and policies through the web.
What makes iMingle different is that it offers group buying for auto insurance through an online referral program. When you sign up for a policy with iMingle, you have the ability to share the news with your friends via email, Facebook, Twitter, and so on. If friends want to sign up and "mingle" their insurance policy with yours, you both receive a 10% discount. It's similar to the sort of discount you'd receive from insuring more than one automobile, except in this case, the second vehicle (and the third, fourth, etc.) are owned by your pals.
This seems like a fairly nifty idea -- one that takes the existing model of the referral program and expands it via the platform of social media. iMingle currently offers auto insurance in 13 states (Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Wisconsin), and the company's reach could spread further if the concept proves popular among the thoroughly web-centered "i Generation" (e.g. Generation Y) that iMingle is targeting.
There are, however, some drawbacks. As with any online-only outfit, there are worries about face-to-face customer service in times of need. Also, the small number of states in which iMingle offers insurance could present problems if you're angling for a group discount (especially if your social network is far-flung). And on a related note, there's the issue of friends withdrawing from the program: according to the iMingle operator we spoke to, if your pals bail on the program, you lose the 10% discount.
But for the cost-conscious, those could be minor concerns. If it's time for you to renew, you might check the iMingle website for more details, or skim the press release below.
* * * * *
iMingle (TM) Launches in South Carolina with Group Buying for Car Insurance; First Provider to Offer Group Discounts for Individual Policyholders
iMingle (TM) has launched in South Carolina as the first direct-to-consumer insurance provider to offer group buying for auto insurance. iMingle is aimed at the i Generation, those consumers who turn to their social networks to find information and share deals. The company is first in the insurance industry to tap social media to allow individual policyholders to link, or “mingle,” their auto insurance policies with those of their friends so they all qualify for a group discount.
Chicago, IL (PRWEB) March 21, 2011 -- iMingle (TM) launched today in South Carolina as the first direct-to-consumer insurance provider to offer group buying for auto insurance.
iMingle is a new marketing approach for direct-to-consumer insurance, aimed at what the company calls the i Generation, those consumers who routinely turn to their social networks to find information, compare deals and seek recommendations from their peers. For the first time, an insurance provider has developed its marketing strategy specifically to meet the needs – and expectations – of these policyholders by rewarding them for two things they are already doing: using social media and buying insurance.
Most insurance companies offer discounts if you insure multiple cars within a household. iMingle takes this concept a step further by allowing consumers to link, or “mingle,” their policies with those of their friends, so they can both benefit from the iMingle Network™ Discount of 10 percent. This is on top of iMingle’s other policy discounts, which can save customers up to 50 percent or more.
The sharing process is simple. When a customer purchases an iMingle auto policy, they can use a widget to let their friends know about the available discount. They have over a dozen choices for how they want to share their exclusive iMingle discount link, including email, instant messaging, blogging, and social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. If a friend clicks on the link and also purchases a policy – and both agree to the iMingle safety pledge – both customers get an extra 10 percent discount.
“What we are doing with the iMingle Network Discount is entirely new in the insurance business,” said Michael Stahl, iMingle’s vice president of product and strategy. “Consumers have already embraced the group deal concept for restaurants, online retailers and other small, discretionary purchases. But, rather than saving $10 on dinner or $5 on a car wash, the iMingle tip can mean saving hundreds of dollars per year on car insurance. Even with a topic as dry as insurance, that’s a deal worth sharing.”
iMingle’s group buying component is believed to be the first in the insurance industry. However, it is not the only way iMingle consumers can save money. Other policy discounts include:
- Preferred Payer Discount™ – the more customers pay up front, the more they save (with the greatest savings by those paying in full)
- Free-A-Tree™ Discount – a five percent discount for drivers who get quotes and sign up online and enroll in the Easy-Pay automatic payment service
- Retro Loyalty Discount™ – iMingle rewards customers for their loyalty to their previous insurance carrier based on the length of their relationship
- Safe & Sound® Discount – additional discount for continuously insured drivers without accidents or moving violations for at least three years
- Happily Married Discount™ – married couples, happy or not, qualify for a discount, as do legally recognized civil unions and domestic partnerships
iMingle also bundles popular coverage options into convenient and affordable packages:
- Protect Your Sanity™ – includes Roadside Assistance, Rental Car Reimbursement and Trip Interruption
- Protect Your Wallet™ – includes Price Lock™, Accident Forgiveness, Renewal Assurance™ guarantee and Disappearing Deductible (which allows customers to take $100 off their collision deductible right away and another $100 for each year they go without an accident)
- Protect Your Family™ – includes Car Seat Replacement, Dependent and Pet Protection
In addition to South Carolina, iMingle is now available in 12 other states: Pennsylvania, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, Minnesota, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, Wisconsin, Virginia and Iowa. Renters insurance is also available from iMingle in South Carolina. Select states also offer homeowners and condo insurance.
(Please note: The term “group buying” as used in this press release is intended to mean collective buying in the social context and not the purchasing of insurance as part of an employer-sponsored group or other affinity association.)
iMingle is part of Unitrin, Inc. (NYSE: UTR), which has over $8 billion in assets and an A- (Excellent) Rating from A.M. Best for insurance operations. More information is available at http://www.iMingle.com or by calling 800-315-0473.