Insurance Email Marketing: What's Happening Now

9 January, 2024

Insurance email marketing is a primary method for insurers to reach customers. Unfortunately, ensuring customers see – much less open – your messages is becoming increasingly challenging. New laws, threats, and algorithms are all working against your marketing efforts. However, success is still possible when you leverage smart strategies.

Insurers Can’t Afford to Overlook Email

You may have heard that email is dead, perhaps killed by social media or messaging. However, Statista says there are 4.26 billion email users worldwide, as of 2022. Additionally, although usage varies with demographics, approximately 83% to 94% of internet users in the U.S. use email. Only around 72% of U.S. adults use social media, according to Pew Research Center.

This doesn’t mean marketers should use email instead of social media – it’s not an either/or decision. Although inbound marketing strategies help people searching for their services discover insurance companies, outbound strategies plant a seed with prospects who may not have started actively searching yet. Insurance email marketing is, therefore, a necessary tool that works well in concert with a content marketing and thought leadership approach.

We’ve already seen that more people use email than social media. If you want the widest reach possible, you need to leverage the channels used by the greatest share of people. That means using email – especially if you’re marketing to businesses.

In a Constant Contact survey, 90% of respondents said email marketing is an important part of their company’s overall success and 79% said it’s one of their three most effective marketing channels.

Although email marketing is becoming more challenging, most companies aren’t ready to abandon it. In this article, we delve into three key challenges, and provide tips to help you succeed while playing by the new rules.

Challenge #1: Spam Traps Are Filtering Out More Emails

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to get emails through spam filters. As a result, deliverability, open, and click-through rates for mass emails in the insurance industry have fallen. Outlook and other email providers automatically send email blasts into junk or clutter folders.

The situation could become much worse in the near future. According to the Demystifying Inbox Deliverability report from Marigold, Google and Yahoo will both be rolling out major new inbox protections in 2024. The new rules have the admirable goal of keeping bad actors out of inboxes. However, legitimate marketers may get caught up in the changes, which include new standards for email authentication, unsubscribe links, and opt-out links. Marketers need to stay on top of these rules to avoid their emails being blocked.

  • Google says that, by February 2024, senders of 5,000 or more messages a day need to authenticate outgoing mail, avoid sending unwanted or unsolicited email, and make it easy for recipients to unsubscribe. See Gmail Help for more information.
  • Yahoo says all senders will need to authenticate their mail by implementing SPF or DKIM at a minimum, keep spam complaint rates below 0.3%, comply with RFCs 5321 and 5322, and have a valid forward and reverse DNS record for sending IPs by February 2024. Additional requirements apply to bulk senders, which include publishing a valid DMARC policy and supporting an easy method for unsubscribing. See the Yahoo Sender Hub for more information.

Challenge #2: Marketers Need to Comply with New Data Privacy Laws

In addition to the rules email platforms have established, marketers need to abide by various laws, such as those that relate to the information they must include in emails and requirements for handling the personal data of email recipients.

These laws include both state and federal regulations. Marketers sending emails to people in other countries also have to navigate the laws in those jurisdictions. This creates a mishmash of relevant regulations. To complicate matters further, several new laws have been enacted in recent years and more may be on the horizon.

The following contains the most prominent laws regarding email marketing. However, some marketers may need to adhere to additional laws.

  • CAN-SPAM regulates email marketing in the U.S. Among other requirements, marketers must avoid false or misleading headers or subject lines, identify the message as an ad, tell recipients where they’re located, and provide an opt-out option.
  • In addition to the federal CAN-SPAM regulations, U.S. marketers must comply with state laws. One notable law is the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, which gives California consumers the right to know how businesses collect, use, and share information about them as well as the right to opt out of the sale or sharing of information and the right to delete personal information. At least 11 other states have passed consumer data privacy laws, according to Bloomberg Law.
  • In the EU, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a massive law that marketers need to navigate. The law applies to any organization that handles the personal information of EU citizens or residents. Although it is complex, the two main requirements are that organizations keep personal data secure and that they make it easy for people to control their personal data.
  • In the UK, marketers must follow regulation 22. The main requirement is that marketers must not send emails unless the recipient has consented or is an existing customer who they have given a way to opt out of messages. Additionally, marketers must not disguise their identity and must provide a valid contact address to allow recipients to opt out.
  • In Canada, marketers must follow Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL). This law establishes three main requirements for commercial electronic messages: senders need to obtain consent, provide identification information, and provide a way to unsubscribe.

Challenge #3: Phishing Has Made Consumers Wary of Clicking

According to Valimail, 1% of email traffic uses suspicious and likely fraudulent sender identities. Every day, around 3 billion messages with a spoofed sender identity are sent.

These fraudulent emails (commonly known as phishing emails) put consumers at risk. One wrong click could infect their computers with malware or expose sensitive information to scammers. Identity theft and fraud are major issues – some people have even lost their life savings.

In light of these risks, many people avoid clicking on any emails unless they are 100% certain they can trust the information. Since scammers often impersonate legitimate businesses, it’s hard for consumers to know when an email is legitimate. Caution is the smart way forward. Unfortunately, this means it’s harder to encourage consumers to click on links in legitimate emails. Plus, people who are wary of how the sender may use their personal data may be wary of completing forms to subscribe to lists.

Smart Insurance Email Marketing Strategies Can Still Succeed

The deluge of phishing and rise of new rules and regulations designed to protect consumers have made things difficult for honest marketers. However, now is not the time to panic or abandon email marketing – it’s simply time to reassess your email marketing strategy and adopt tactics that work in today’s landscape.

1. Utilize true opt-in lists.

Many new rules and regulations mean marketers may only send emails to people who have given their consent. To comply with these rules and establish yourself as a trustworthy email sender, it’s important to make sure your recipients are truly opting into your emails.

If you’re pickier about who receives your emails, you’ll send fewer emails in total, but your open and click-through rates may be much higher because the people who receive your emails actually want to receive them.

According to HubSpot, marketers report an average email open rate of 46% to 50% and an average email click-through rate of 7% to 9%. These figures are high, but they are attainable if you’re adhering to true opt-in practices.

We typically only see high open rates of over 40% with truly opted-in lists – usually ones consisting of existing customers or independent agents. If you're blasting to a prospect list you have assembled, you'll be lucky to achieve a 20% open rate. With large, purchased lists, your open rate could be as low as 3%.

2. Consider sending emails individually.

In light of current challenges, many sales professionals have shifted to sending emails individually, using pre-established templates in their CRM systems. This seems less efficient, but it’s surprisingly more productive. Because CRM systems send email by integrating with the user’s email sending platform, such as Outlook, messages are far less likely to get caught in spam filters.

While sending emails individually is a little more time-consuming, it doesn’t take a lot of time if you launch emails through a CRM system. CRM systems automatically merge the chosen message with the contact’s information, so an email can be sent in roughly 30 seconds, and the email outreach and response become part of the contact’s record in your system.

Open rates for the individual emails are typically much higher – in the 90 to 100 percent range. This means that fewer emails can be sent to achieve the same result. When 100 emails are sent individually, with a 95% open rate, 95 opens are generated. Comparatively, when an email is sent to 500 recipients, with a 15% response rate, only 75 opens are generated.

While sending emails individually, sales professionals should send no more than 25 emails per day, always being mindful of bounce rates. Train your team to protect the integrity of your sending email addresses.


Sent individually

Sent via mass-blast

Number of email messages sent



Open rate

95% = 95 opens

15% = 75 opens


3. Provide helpful information.

We have always advised clients to use email as a vehicle for providing helpful information and value rather than for a sales pitch. When you link to useful articles and other resources that help consumers with their challenges, click-through and conversion rates increase dramatically.

Providing value is increasingly important. Litmus says Yahoo! Mail, AOL, and Verizon Inboxes have added one-click unsubscribe options. USA Today reports that Gmail is also offering a one-click unsubscribe option. As it becomes easier for people to unsubscribe from your email lists, you’ll need to work extra hard to provide the type of value that will make them want to stay subscribed.

4. Take a combined approach.

We recommend using mass emails to provide value, rather than to sell. Use a mass blast to distribute your monthly newsletter, share helpful articles, announce new products or services or share risk management tips and resources.

For prospecting, equip sales professionals with templates that enable them to launch individual, personalized mails and sequences from their CRM systems.

That said, just because you set up templates doesn't mean your sales team will use them. Marketing needs to partner with sales and walk them through every step – at least until the team develops the habit of using templates effectively.

Need Insurance Email Marketing Help?

Consider enlisting outside help to craft an effective insurance email marketing strategy. Inbound Insurance Marketing provides compelling copy and eye-catching headers to power your email marketing campaigns. We can also help you create CRM email templates as well as nurturing sequences. Learn more.