The Hartford says it will be increasing the availability of its auto insurance program for members of the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) by expanding its base of producers.
Originally, members of the AARP could only get the car coverage by contacting The Hartford directly. The company changed that in 2009 and started letting its appointed agents sell the product. It now says it is ready to start bringing in even more producers over the next couple of years.
“To this point, we’ve been primarily focusing on our existing Hartford-appointed agencies,” said James Flynn, vice president of agency sales and marketing for personal lines. “We’re at a point now where we’re very open to creating new appointment relationships.”
Since The Hartford opened up its product to independent agents, it has expanded its base to 4,000 locations across the country. The company hopes to have 6,000 by the end of 2012.
The company says the move is in keeping with its research that found that between 70 and 75 percent of AARP members prefer the counsel of independent agents.
In addition, agents tend to have higher issue, as well as retention, rates.
So heading in this direction makes sense.
“As I look at this, we’re really unleashing the power of the local brand, The Hartford brand, and the AARP brand together,” Flynn said.
The AARP demographic has never been more important as the Baby Boomer generation continues age. Flynn said that someone turns 50 years old every eight seconds. With the power of the AARP influence, this can translate into substantial premium numbers quickly.
The company doesn’t have any specific rules for the agencies that it is signing up. It has been adding agencies over the past few months, including very recently, Vicencia & Buckley Insurance Services and Navion Insurance Associates, both located in southern California.
The AARP program is available in 42 states and the District of Columbia.
In addition to car coverage, The Hartford also provides home insurance coverage for the AARP membership. Some of the features include the ability for homeowners to purchase protection for 100 percent of replacement cost.
The ProtectorPLUS Homeowners Deductible Forgiveness product also waives up to $5,000 of the deductible if a homeowner experiences a qualifying loss of $22,500 or more. This coverage does not apply to “hurricane, earthquake, coal mine subsidence, special wind/hail or optional special theft deductibles.”
The Hartford, Conn.-based insurer also has specific coverages for flood insurance, recreational vehicle or RV insurance, and identity theft that it offers AARP members.
The company has had a relationship with AARP since 1984, when it launched direct consumer operations. Its current pact with AARP runs until 2020.