Baltimore Equitable Insurance

Creating a Contemporary User Experience for One of the Country's Oldest Insurance Companies

  • baltimore-equitable-homepage
  • BEQ quote page

TBG & Baltimore Equitable Insurance

Once in a while, we get to work on a commercial website that not only solves real business problems, but does so in a stunningly compact, truly likeable way. The recent redesign of Baltimore Equitable Insurance is such a site.

TBG (The Berndt Group) has a storied history of building great direct-to-consumer and eCommerce websites (sites for The Sports Authority; Stanley, Black & Decker; and Valspar, among many others), but rarely have we had the chance to work on something simultaneously as valuable and difficult to explain as this recent site redesign of 1794insurance.com. Baltimore Equitable Insurance, one of the oldest insurance companies in the country, sells a unique type of insurance called Perpetual Insurance. A one-of-a-kind product, Perpetual Insurance is home insurance that takes place through a one-time, entirely refundable deposit. That’s right—you can make a deposit, receive full homeowners insurance benefits for 20 years, and then get the entire deposit back without penalty at the end, having saved 20 years of insurance fees.

Confused yet? Not only doesn't this approach to homeowners insurance seem possible, but it also doesn't have anything to do with how people typically buy insurance. The chances of leaving a prospect baffled or incredulous—despite the great value—is pretty high.

Selling unique or complex products, especially in monolithic markets like homeowners insurance (where products tend to be very similar) represents unique challenges on the Web. Not only is the attention span on the Web constricted, but people's radar for scam is higher than usual. Add to this the difficulty of getting users to the site through organic search (SEO) for an unusual insurance product, and you have a complex set of problems to solve.

Explaining the Product

Explaining the Product

After conducting discovery as well as a full refresh on the company's business model and research into the competitive landscape, TBG provided a detailed redesign strategy, moving away from the existing historical imagery into a more contemporary sort of user experience. Since explaining the singular product—and dispelling a series of immediately likely misconceptions—was the first order of business, we recommended that the site be structured around this imperative. This meant navigation and generous amounts of space dedicated to explaining the product and a focus on breaking down the message into usable chunks.

Once Baltimore Equitable Insurance had signed off on this strategy, we worked with an excellent writer (Brian Klam) and photographer (Peter Howard) to develop the content that would make this strategy really sing. A major focus was on balancing the delivery of particular messages through different parts of the page, and through implied messages in images vs. text. Rather than provide a too complex, all-at-once experience, we wanted the potential customer to be oriented in a series of messages, each grounded emotionally and each building on the last. This made for a homepage-driven site, with the homepage acting as a complex sales tool, though other pages throughout the site support the message in greater detail. TBG also designed the site to be very conversion-focused with a variety of appealing calls-to-action and different ways visitors can raise their hand or take the discussion to the next level. A major focus for conversions was an embedded rate calculator, allowing a visitor to compare the total cost of ownership between Perpetual Insurance and regular homeowners insurance over a period of time—a compelling calculation, to say the least.

One of the great aspects of this site was the final quality and level of integration of overall content strategy, actual written content, and imagery we were able to achieve in this site. This was the result of an intensive collaboration between the various creative parties—who from the start saw eye-to-eye on the creative vision. From our standpoint the content and imagery provided a perfect blend of education, validation, and engagement—precisely tuned to resonate with Baltimore Equitable Insurance's key demographics.

A Powerful Business Tool

A Powerful Business Tool

The re-launch of 1794insurance.com has been a great success. It not only generated more Web traffic and potential requests for quotation, it has also provided Baltimore Equitable Insurance salespeople with great new marketing collateral. The site also does a better job of explaining the regional focus of Perpetual Insurance, and allowing for easy promotion of the site's messages to social networks and the like. Since explaining the product can take time, and even require repeated conversations, it's a powerful business tool for the company to be able to direct prospects to the website where they not only get a great presentation of the facts, but where they can also explore the specific aspects of the product that they feel are most relevant.