Esurance Sets the Bar for Eco-Minded Insurance Companies

I remember the first time I saw an Esurance ad on television. The ad didn’t stick out to me because of killer branding or intense concept, though. It stuck out simply because I thought, “Big whoop.” An insurance company branded totally on the fact that you can take care of everything online? I’ve been with Geico since I could drive a car and have never once made a phone call or filled out a piece of paper.

I don’t think Esurance has crossed my mind once since that day I first saw their ad until today. As I was flipping through my new favorite mag, Ready Made, I came across an Esurance print ad. “You care about the planet,” it touted. “So do we.” The message successfully reeled me in and as I continued to read the rest of the full page spread, I began to give Esurance a second thought.

As it turns out, Esurance is one of the first insurance companies to talk about the environment in their advertising campaigns. Visit the Esurance site and you can even watch videos of their manga-esque spokes model and “Special Agent” Erin as she takes on environmental bullies and teaches consumers how to save trees.

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So, is there substance behind the hype? Esurance claims: “We do virtually all of our business online. We make policy documents available to our policyholders online, store documents electronically and communicate with our policyholders via email. We estimate that our paperless customer experience and electronic document storage saved approximately 2,748 trees since 2000. That’s in addition to the 69,725 trees we’ve planted to date!”

But any insurance company offers a paperless option, so that’s really not enough to give Esurance a green award just yet. Luckily for them, they seem to be aware of that. File a claim and your agent will buzz out to the scene in a hybrid vehicle. Equipping their entire fleet with hybrids reduces smog causing emissions by 90% and carbon dioxide emissions by half. Pay your insurance bill (online of course) and some of that money will go toward purchasing renewable energy credits from Carbonfund.org.  Esurance buys enough credits to offset 100% of the electricity used in their offices nationwide.

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And you should throw ‘em a few extra points if you’re from the South:  they buy their renewable energy credits from the Indian Mesa Wind Farm in Uptown, Texas, and offset the carbon emissions from their hybrid fleet through reforestation projects in Louisiana.

There’s definitely a place for environmental responsibility in the insurance industry. Special CultureFeast hat tip to Esurance for getting those wheels in motion.

 

One Comment

  1. I could definitely see insurance companies doing their part to encourage an environmentally sustainable future, and not only for the purpose of jumping on the “green-living” bandwagon, but truly benefiting from it themselves. A few examples: incent drivers to consider doing their part to reduce the carbon footprint by providing discounts on car insurance for policy-holders running on carbon neutral or alternative feul sources (i.e. fuel cell, hybrid, hydrogern kits). I know a few people here who are also installing windmills, and thinking seriously about supplying enough power to be off the power grid. A break on home insurance might be another clever way to incent others to think about alternative energy supply for their home.

    Taking the latter suggestion to the point of it serving insurers, this year we had a power outage in Toronto, Canada that effected over 200,000 people. Unfortunately it happened during some of the coldest temperatures we’ve seen so far this winter, and in our home, it lasted so long (over 24 hrs before full power was restored) that the water pipes froze. As funny as this may sound, I took some initiative and spent hours with a hair dryer and a space heater thawing out the pipes for fear of a pipe bursting and causing damage. I know we weren’t the only home effected by this problem because it took me the better part of 4 hrs before I got through to anyone at the water services people.

    If our home was retrofitted to access an alternative power source (i.e. solar panels), we might have been able to at least run the heat to avoid the pipes from freezing. In cases where people left for vacations, or migrated south for the winter months, and weren’t able to take immediate action once power was restored, I can see insurers happily choosing to give some home insurance discount for those with back-up power sources if it means sparing them from having to dealing with water damage claims relating to a power outage.

     

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