Learning & Development

How Insurance Affinity Programs Provide Real Value to Consumer Groups

Most, if not all, people have an affinity for certain brands over others, and this inclination toward a given brand usually involves shared characteristics or values. They identify with it on a deeper level. And that serves as the basis for affinity distribution, where one brand partners with another brand and leverages its “brand affinity, trust and credibility” to deliver products or services to a larger consumer base or a specific consumer group.

The partnership is most often between two organizations. One with products and services to offer and another with members or customers such as a trade association, credit union, or other distinct group with commonalities. Organizations are open to partnerships because their members or customers receive product or services their group members would find beneficial, thereby strengthening the group-member relationship. 

As a partnership unfolds, products and services are often tailored for the group members to make the offer more attractive —admittedly, the affinity group also demonstrates trust and credibility as they’ve vetted the partnership, so people are more inclined to act. And though that may sound opportunistic, affinity marketing is about delivering value to a group of people through a partnership arrangement. 

What Is an Affinity Group in Insurance? 

As far as the insurance and financial services sector goes, an affinity group is like any other, ranging from financial institutions and professional organizations to labor unions, travel brands and warehouse clubs. Even colleges, universities and professional schools are affinity groups. And with emerging markets fast becoming the norm, you’ll also find gig economy groups, retail groups, service groups, and health and fitness organizations represented. It really runs the gamut. 

Remember, an affinity program is more than just another distribution channel. It’s a partnership that must meet the needs of the organization as well as the consumer. If, for example, an insurance brand was to partner with a professional association, the products might include life insurance, disability insurance or other health-related benefits. 

How Do Affinity Programs Benefit Consumers?

Being different than other distribution channels, affinity programs can benefit consumers in several ways—chief among them being customization. Products and offers can be tailored to meet the needs of group members, which is probably one of the reasons why they’re so popular. As of 2024, you’ll find millions of certificates in force associated with affinity programs.

Other benefits might include:

Discounts on rates

Affinity programs commonly offer special rates or services to affinity group members. In fact, the group buying power can sometimes be better within affinity groups—though that will vary from one group to the next. 

Improved accessibility

The products or services available through affinity programs might not even be available through the individual marketplace, allowing consumers to secure coverage only found with affinity groups. 

Portable coverage

Should a group member leave or change jobs, the insurance product goes with them. No one has to worry about experiencing a gap in coverage—unless, of course, they stop paying their premiums.

Customer service

Many affinity programs offer dedicated customer service to group members, as well as provide access to someone who serves as an advocate and can help resolve complaints or concerns on behalf of group members. 

Strategic marketing

Affinity marketing often includes educational materials, ensuring group members understand the value of the programs being offered through the affinity program. 


Insurance companies are required to act in the best interest of policyholders, and the affinity program itself often provides increased oversight. The partnership also allows for collaboration in the overall customer experience, which can be to the benefit of all parties. 

Affinity programs can be an attractive proposition for brands, organizations, and group members. It can be a win-win-win for all parties involved. 

Ann Dieleman is the executive director at PIMA. She is an active member of the insurtech community and has 20+ years of executive leadership working with startups, small businesses and the Fortune 100.

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