As association and affinity groups in the U.S. continue to look for ways to retain a thriving membership base, understanding member expectations for access to value-added benefits is a good place to start. MetLife today announced the availability of findings from a new study that takes a closer look at the expectations and preferences of association and affinity group members (both broadly and by association type), particularly when it comes to addressing their financial protection needs. The study findings, contained in The Association and Affinity Marketplace: Expanding Business Opportunities by Understanding Member Preferences by Association Type, reveal insights into this market as a strategic growth channel for insurance brokers and third-party administrators (TPAs), and can be accessed at

Association members, like many Americans, are worried about having enough money to fund their retirement and being able to pay the bills in the event of a sudden loss of income. According to the survey, more than one-third of association and affinity group members reported being receptive to obtaining insurance through their primary association, which reveals an opportunity.

“In the wake of health care reform, the economic recession and a shift to more employee responsibility, many Americans may be looking for alternative ways to secure the appropriate amount of financial protection for their needs,” said David Brennan, vice president, Association and Affinity Group Business. “The appetite of members of association and affinity groups represents a significant business opportunity for delivering quality products and services. Having customized tactics and a deep understanding of the marketplace can help convert those potential customers into actual purchasers.”

The study analyzed eight different association types – unions, credit unions, lobby/political associations, professional associations, government associations, alumni groups, special interest/social/recreational groups and affinity groups – all of which exhibited a unique set of membership preferences. The study provides insights into how these preferences help to define three categories of associations, and the challenges and opportunities inherent in each.

Overall, the study found:

  • Among members who joined an association looking to purchase coverage, 28% are seeking life insurance and 25% are looking for health insurance. With the help of brokers and third-party administrators, associations can do more to increase members’ perceived value of their insurance offerings by ensuring they offer products that members want most.
  • Half of all members interested in acquiring insurance through an association cite rate advantages as the main reason. Further, the comfort of knowing that an insurance product has been vetted by an organization’s leadership can help generate members’ interest in particular offerings. Communicating the advantages of special rates available and the due diligence of the group’s leaders in any materials provided to members can help pique members’ interest.
  • The current consumer climate demands a multi-channel approach to broker-client communications. While many association members prefer to learn about their association insurance offerings through mail (39%) and e-mail (27%), 40% prefer to work directly with an agent, either in person or over the phone, to access their insurance.

MetLife worked with Ipsos to conduct an online survey of 3,700 members of affinity and association groups late September and early October 2011. Respondents were asked to identify their primary association or affinity group for the purposes of completing the survey.

About Ipsos
Ipsos is a leading global survey-based market research company, owned and managed by research professionals that helps interpret, simulate, and anticipate the needs and responses of consumers, customers, and citizens around the world. Member companies assess market potential and interpret market trends to develop and test emergent or existing products or services, and build brands. They also test advertising and study audience responses to various media, and measure public opinion around the globe. Visit to learn more about Ipsos offerings and capabilities.

About MetLife
Metropolitan Life Insurance Company (MetLife) is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers in over 50 countries. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit


Karen Eldred