National Insurance Group switches most customer communications to Zumbox digital postal mail

EDINA, MN and LOS ANGELES, CA, Feb 13, 2012  — DST Output and Zumbox today announced that Western National Insurance Group, a Minnesota-based insurance provider, is now delivering the majority of its customer communications via digital postal mail, powered by Zumbox. Through an agreement between DST Output, a leading print and digital customer communications provider, and Zumbox, the world’s first digital postal system, DST Output’s customers can realize vital paper suppression savings, reduce costs related to billing and customer service and enhance customer communications.

Western National Insurance is the first insurance firm to address consumer demand for a digital alternative to traditional postal mail, by enabling its customers to access all their bills, policies and other important documents digitally via digital postal mailbox. Such demand by consumers is driving down insurers’ direct mail volumes. Research from competitive intelligence firm Mintel Comperemedia recently revealed that the insurance industry’s direct mail volume to consumers was down 11 percent year-over-year in Q3 2011, and that it was the third quarter in a row to show a decline.(1)

“We’ve monitored the growing consumer demand for digital alternatives to traditional mail, and our decision to offer our customers the option of delivery via digital postal mail powered by Zumbox was in direct response to that demand,” said Jeff Couchman, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at Western National Insurance. “This allows us to provide a superior communications channel that can deliver a significant volume of letters, statements and policies. As a result we can increase our paper suppression rates, streamline operations and further our green initiatives, all while providing a quality digital alternative for our policyholders.”

In August 2010, DST Output began integrating Zumbox’s delivery system as an additional electronic channel for its clients. Western National Insurance Group, through several of its affiliates (including Pioneer Specialty, Umialik, Western Home, Western National Assurance and Western National Mutual), is able to deliver mail digitally to over 100,000 customers across 11 states. By delivering digital postal mail and assuming a 10 percent increase in paper suppression, Western National Insurance can realize significant mailing cost savings.

“Our alliance with Zumbox allows us to offer our large, transactional mail clients a solution to meet their customers’ demands for an electronic method to access, interact and store their critical mail,” said Dana Johnston, vice president of eSales and Business Development at DST Output. “The digital postal mail, powered by Zumbox, eliminates the costs associated with traditional mail delivery, increases our customers’ paper suppression rates and enables them to run operations more efficiently.”

“Traditionally, insurance firms were put off by electronic mail delivery because they assumed efforts to digitize communications would be met with a lot of red tape. Our work with Western National Insurance is a great proof point to dispel that misconception,” said John Payne, CEO of Zumbox. “Western National Insurance is truly an innovator in its industry, leading the evolution in how insurance providers communicate with their customers. We’re pleased that another DST Output client has joined the digital postal mail movement.”

Digital postal mail is an exact digital facsimile of the paper mail sent to consumers, delivered in a secure, central online environment. For insurance firms, in addition to providing cost savings from paper suppression, Zumbox directs customers to lowest cost payment and customer support options and can provide other relevant messages via an interactive panel below the bills and statements for strengthened customer education on policies and claims.

  • Beast

    Though I’m not opposed to going ‘green’ to protect the environment, it bothers me that people think the carbon footprint of a letter is less than a digital alternative. I’m sure it would be difficult to compare. Notice, however, that it doesn’t say anything about its customers realizing a cost savings, just the corporation saving on mailing costs. I realize first class mail is on its way out, but the thought of the savings going into some CEO’s pocket under the guise of ‘going green’ pisses me off.

  • hrdcorefan

    I never had anything done by my insurance company that didnt benefit their bottomline. They charge $1.00 to go paperless statements and pay online.

  • JY

    @Beast: It’s not difficult to compare at all. How is our country powered? Mostly via coal and oil and a very small area nuclear.

  • Mike

    Just another way to shift costs to the customer without a price increase. Instead of throwing the paper in a filing cabinet, now they have to provide some form of digital storage device for eternity with its periodic upgrades and transferring the files again and again or risk losing all their documentation. Not to mention the device uses electricity. I wonder what the carbon footprint of an external hard drive is over the course of 40 or 50 years??

  • common sense

    Your comparison only makes sense if you don’t already have a computer in your home. I think it’s safe to assume that the vast majority of this company’s customers aren’t going to have to run out and buy a whole new appliance of some kind to use electronic billing. They’re going to use the computer and Internet connection they already have. What’s the additional carbon footprint required to add one company’s electronic billing to what they already have? Virtually ZERO!