White-Label vs. Affinity Insurance: What’s the Difference?

The insurance market is changing quickly, and there’s never been a better time for new entrants to take advantage of the embedded insurance opportunity. There are several different ways that your company can do that.

Hypothetically, you could build your own insurance product, but that route is intense, time-consuming, expensive, and complicated. A far more common option is to partner with an insurance provider in one of two ways: by entering into an affinity partnership or by white-labeling an insurance product. But what exactly is the difference between white-labeling and affinity partnering, and more importantly, which option is right for your company? Let’s start with defining terms.

White Label Insurance and Affinity Insurance Explained

What is an affinity partnership in insurance?

An affinity partnership—sometimes called affinity marketing, or click-through affinity—is formed between two businesses when one business provides goods or services and the other promotes them for a certain payment per click.

For example, if your company were to sell insurance through an affinity partner, you would have a link on your website that redirects the customer to the insurance provider’s website to buy the insurance product from them. Each time a customer clicked the link, you would be paid a certain amount, but the premium payments and ongoing customer relationships would go to the insurance provider.

What is white-label insurance?

A white-labeled insurance product is a good or service that is manufactured by one company and then rebranded, and sold by another company for distribution. Unlike affinity partnerships, white-labeling doesn’t simply generate customers and revenue for the provider partner.

For example, if your company were to offer insurance through a white-label insurance-as-a-service provider, your company would be the one selling the product on your website and reaping all the benefits. The product would be a fully integrated experience on your website, and the customer would buy the policy directly from you. Your company would have a higher profit margin, own the ongoing customer relationship, and pay a certain commission per sale to your partner.

White-Label Insurance vs. Affinity: How They Stack Up

Depending on the route you take, your revenue, time to market, and the overall experience for your customers can vary a great deal. It’s important to carefully understand the differences. In this section, we’ll compare and contrast the two so you can make an informed decision about which insurance option is right for your company.

Revenue

An affinity partnership is essentially lead gen for your insurance partner. They will pay you a certain amount per click, but after that, you would not participate in the transaction and you wouldn’t see the kind of regular recurring revenue that you would if your company were able to collect the premiums. Instead, your insurance partner would be the one to collect the revenue.

On the other hand, with white-label insurance, you would work with your insurance partner to set up your product as a fully integrated part of your website. Your customers would be offered insurance as an addition to the transactions they are already making, which means they never have to leave your website. Instead, your customers would simply add insurance to their cart on your website. They buy the policy directly from you, you collect the premium payments and your business profits from the recurring income. In turn, this would result in significantly more revenue for you than if you were to choose an affinity partner. 

Onboarding

A major advantage to affinity insurance partnerships is that they are fast and simple to set up. After the details of the partnership are settled, you would simply add a link to your website to direct customers to the insurer. A partnership like this is also a relatively low commitment. Because you’re simply passing web traffic on to the insurer, you can later switch insurance partners or even remove the insurance option from your site altogether with a minimum of disruption to your business.

White-label insurance, on the other hand, is a bit more involved. Because you would be building the full experience into your website rather than just linking out to an insurance partner's website, working with an insurance-as-a-service provider may take longer to implement. However, if you have a partner with a good API, you can still get set up in just a few weeks. 

Additionally, with white-labeling, someone at your company would need to be licensed as an individual agent, and then sponsor a license for your company. Getting an insurance license is an important and valuable step toward selling insurance and opens up lucrative new opportunities for your company. Insurance licensing might sound complicated, but it’s not as hard as it sounds. If you work with the right partner to help you through the process, it can be surprisingly straightforward to get everything you need. 

Customization

A considerable drawback of affinity partnership is that the product does not belong to you, so you have little to no input into the insurance product you’re offering. Your insurance partner will have already built, developed, and sold the products that best fit their business interests, which may or may not be a good fit for your particular customers. As just another marketing partner, you won’t have much influence to try and get a product created that closely matches what your customers need from insurance.

With white-labeling, you would have much more input into the products that you are offering. A good white label partner will offer products that can be customized with different endorsements and configurations. The entire insurance-buying experience is fully customizable too since it would be on your website and you would create it. This is another big advantage–your customers won’t be sent to another website where they may have a poor, long, complicated insurance buying experience. With white-labeling, you can easily customize the right insurance products, coverages, and experience for your customers - and get to market in a short timeline.

Customer Experience and Retention

With an affinity partnership, after your customers click through to your provider’s website, you lose ownership over customer relationships or brand management. The insurance customer relationship will be with your partner, so whatever happens, after they click is up to your insurance partner. If the customer has a negative experience during the process, it might reflect poorly on your brand for offering the referral.

With white-label insurance, the transaction will take place on your site or app, and you have full ownership over your customer experience, from user experience to purchase to management after the sale. You also will have ownership over customer data, which has several advantages. The data you already have about your customers can help inform the insurance product you offer (price, package, etc.). By collecting more data on your customers, you will have an even deeper knowledge of their preferences and purchase behavior so you can better market to them in the future. 

Additionally, offering insurance as a service to your customers will lead to regular monthly payments to keep their policies active, which means they will be recurring customers instead of one-time purchasers. With monthly payments, you can have higher, regular customer engagement and better retention rates.

 

White-labeling and affinity insurance partnerships are different in setup, experience, and results, so it pays to carefully consider your timeframe, budget, and business goals so that you can choose the option that’s right for your company.

Want to learn more about growing your revenue with white-labeled, embedded insurance through Boost? Contact us, or dive into building your insurance program with Boost Launchpad.

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