Nationwide Insurance to Give a Million Customers Echo Auto, Doubling Amazon’s In-Car User Base

Last month Nationwide Insurance announced it will give away one million Amazon Echo Auto devices to qualifying new and existing auto insurance customers. The announcement also coincided with the introduction of three new features to the Nationwide Insurance Alexa Skill, which initially launched in 2016.

Amazon Echo Auto Giveaway Also Promotes New Alexa Skill Features and Partnership

Nationwide’s Echo Auto giveaway launched on September 25 and will run through the year or until supplies last. According to the promotion’s terms and conditions, existing and new auto insurance customers in states where Nationwide operates with a few exceptions due to local regulations are eligible to receive the free device. Those who opt-in will receive an email with a redemption link to to receive an Echo Auto free of charge.

In addition to the giveaway, Nationwide also added three new features to their Alexa Skill. The first is the New Drive Checklist, which provides a safety checklist to help users learn safe driving habits. The other two new features are particularly notable as they will be helpful while the user is actually driving. Now users can call Nationwide’s Roadside Assistance through the Alexa skill without having to ask Alexa for the number or pick up their phone. The other is Road Conditions, which allow drivers to check weather and road conditions along their route.

Nationwide is also partnering with Amazon in another way. The company is adding a “digital insurance experience” to its site on which will allow Amazon customers to receive an online quote for Nationwide’s auto insurance using their Amazon login credentials.

Reducing Churn and Luring New Customers with Alexa

Reducing churn is a key challenge in the highly competitive insurance industry. This is especially true for Nationwide. The company has struggled over the past two decades to hold onto its market share as rivals like Geico and Progressive have made significant inroads in capturing new auto insurance customers. According to CollisionWeek, Nationwide Auto Insurance has seen the steepest decline among the top ten private passenger auto insurance providers in the U.S., losing 40.7% of its market share since 2000.

The Echo Auto giveaway and addition of new features to the Nationwide Alexa skill are part of a strategic effort by the company to become more innovative and technologically advanced to arrest its market share decline. Enticing existing customers with a free device could be enough to get them to stay on board for another year while those looking for new auto insurance could be persuaded by the promotion.

The new Alexa skill features also allow Nationwide to further engage with their customers and provide valuable information while driving and easy access to their insurance information while in the car and at home. This could further endear customers to the insurance company, increasing brand loyalty as a result.

A Safe Bet

The addition of Echo Auto to a million customers could also help improve Nationwide’s overall bottom line by reducing the number of insurance claims. According to the National Safety Council, the use of cell phones while driving causes 1.6 million crashes per year and distracted driving causes 1 out of 4 motor vehicle crash fatalities.

By providing a free voice-activated tool to a million customers may just displace some direct interaction with smartphones while driving and combat a significant cause of accidents and therefore insurance claims. This impact alone could offer Nationwide a return on its investment. It could also generate a positive public relations spin, as consumers see a tangible investment by the company in their safety.

Amazon Accelerates Alexa’s In-Car Presence

But Nationwide’s investment in Alexa does not only benefit the insurance company. It is also a significant win for Amazon and its voice assistant. In January, Amazon announced that it had over one million pre-orders for the Echo Auto after introducing the device at its product event in September 2018. The giveaway by Nationwide would at least double the in-car user base for Alexa.

Amazon has been working on its “on-the-go” Alexa strategy, as unlike its rivals, it does not have a built-in user base on the smartphone. The automobile is a place that Amazon can take advantage of to get consumers utilizing Alexa outside of the home. It appears whatever partnership agreement Amazon and Nationwide have ventured into will benefit both parties. Nationwide wants consumers to know it’s always on their side. And, Amazon wants them to know Alexa is too.

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