San Francisco-based Esurance announced today that Texas residents applying for a policy can elect to "like" the company on Facebook during the process for a 10% discount.
Consumers interested in the discount can do so at by applying at the microsite www.esurance.com/like2save. Esurance pointed out Texas' large Facebook population in announcing the discount, especially in the three cities of Dallas, Houston and San Antonio as a reason for kicking it off there.
The carrier's VP of customer experience, Lisa Ward, told me in an interview last month that Esurance is proactive in identifying pain points in the online insurance application process. Offering such a large discount simply for being a member of an incredibly popular website certainly can help alleviate cost concerns, for example.
One aspect of this to watch: Does Esurance's direct-to-consumer model give it an advantage in working in social media-related transactions? In addition to the Esurance announcement today, Novarica released research about how independent agent companies use social media. While 70% of the 82 insurers surveyed at least have some sort of presence on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, the study says "This doesn’t mean that social media is becoming a platform for accepting new business from agents or that it’s likely to in the near future."
But if consumers have options to work their social habits into their insurance purchases, with a resulting discount, competitors will have to adapt. The 10% off Esurance gives can be thought of as a marketing expense — after all, once one person tells his or her social network that they received the discount, some of them are bound to go in search of the same.