With Julie A. joining Coverdell & Co. as marketing chief, the insurance marketing firm is gearing up to make a more aggressive push into banks.
Ms. Kauffman, who started last month as a vice president at the Atlanta- based company, brings experience in both banking and insurance marketing - just the kind of expertise the company is looking for.
Most recently, she worked for Monumental General Insurance Group, Baltimore, marketing supplemental insurance products to the company's bank and credit union customers. But she spent most of her professional life working in banks in a variety of marketing roles, with an emphasis on credit card marketing.
Coverdell already markets insurance products through 100 banks, including 25 of the nation's 100 largest banks in terms of assets. With its new marketing chief in place, the company is aiming to add banks to its client roster.
The 31-year-old insurance marketing firm has focused on using direct mail to market its insurance products through banks. The company is now trying to expand its efforts to market credit cards to banks' customers.
To that end, Ms. Kauffman now plans to tap her experience in developing client lists for Citicorp's credit card marketing efforts and overseeing its direct-mail card campaigns in order to market Coverdell's affinity cards.
Her primary focus, however, will be on Coverdell's insurance marketing efforts. Indeed, Ms. Kauffman arrived at Coverdell just in time to reinforce its aggressive move into the retail insurance market.
The company recently introduced a so-called life-cycle program, which it is marketing to its bank clients. These include NationsBank Corp., Comerica Inc., Signet Banking Corp., and First Union Corp. The product is designed to help banks sell products to their customers based on those customers' needs at various stages of life.
Testing and developing insurance products are also part of Ms. Kauffman's new duties. This responsibility may involve introducing as many as two products a year that would be marketed to distinct segments of the population, Ms. Kauffman said.
"Instead of sending (people) a bunch of offers they couldn't care less about," she said, "we'll send them offers for products that they have a need for."
Accidental-death insurance is a product Coverdell has recently been marketing heavily by direct mail. In fact, of the 7 million marketing letters Coverdell sent last year, most promoted accidental-death insurance. The company has found that the product sells particularly well to low- and middle-income groups, Ms. Kauffman said.
As part of her new job, Ms. Kauffman is stepping up Coverdell's effort to cross-sell insurance products to existing bank customers. Cross-selling products is an inexpensive way of helping banks retain their customers, she said.
"Since margins are becoming thinner, banks are looking to expand what they consider their core business," Ms. Kauffman said. And more and more, banks are developing insurance "as a true line of business," she said.