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GERBER LIFE AND EUGENE RAITT OF AIG COMPANIES WORLDWIDE TO BE HONORED BY DMA FINANCIAL SERVICES COUNCIL
February 14, 2004 - The Direct Marketing Association's (The DMA) Financial Services Council will honor Gerber Life Insurance Company with its "Company of the Year" award, and Eugene Raitt, senior vice president and chief direct marketing officer, AIG Companies Worldwide, with the "Direct Marketer of the Year Award." Both awards will be presented during a luncheon at the Council's 29th Annual Conference, which will be held February 28 through March 1 at the Sawgrass Marriott Resort & Spa in Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.
The 2005 FSC Company of the Year: Gerber Life Insurance Company
Gerber Life Insurance Company, founded in 1967 as an affiliate of Gerber Products, the baby food company, is a leader in the direct-to-consumer marketing arena. Their flagship Grow-Up juvenile insurance product is the recognized leader in the children's life insurance market. Gerber Life also sells adult term, whole life, and guaranteed life insurance products.
Gerber Life's business performance has been outstanding with 17 consecutive years of record sales and operating income. A 38% growth in sales and a 60% growth in profits is further evidence of their success since 2001, while the life insurance industry has been essentially flat. In 2004, Gerber Life's direct marketing efforts generated over one million new customer applications - a milestone in the industry - and over $30 million in new sales premiums. Today, Gerber Life has more than $26 billion of life insurance protection in force.
The company's customer-centric philosophy has driven needs-based products and services resulting in outstanding customer retention, satisfaction, and loyalty. Gerber Life's business integrity and customer commitment support their iconic brand position and serve as a model for direct marketers everywhere.
The DMA Financial Services Council's (FSC) "Company of the Year Award" recognizes companies that have displayed competence and consistency in integrating "state-of-the-art" marketing techniques and have demonstrated a proven pattern of improved results through the use of direct marketing.
Direct Marketer of the Year Award
When Gene Raitt arrived at AIG in Japan in late 1994, the direct marketing business was already the largest in the AIG world, generating about US$200 million in premiums annually. In the rest of Asia, direct marketing was a very minor activity in only Hong Kong, and most countries did not use direct as a distribution strategy at all.
Under Gene's leadership and management, AIG undertook many new initiatives in Asia including: the pioneering of DRTV, the introduction of new products, particularly segmented products for seniors, the expansion of print media, the expansion of sponsored (third-party) relationships, and the introduction of telemarketing.
Gene has held a series of increasingly responsible, direct marketing-related executive positions in AIG and the insurance direct marketing industry over his career, and has spent the past ten years with AIG in Asia. He was responsible for the development and growth of the AIG direct marketing businesses in Japan, Korea, and later Greater China, Southeast Asia and India.
Gene is a member of the Board of Directors of The DMA, as well as the Hong Kong DMA. He was the Chair of the Direct Marketing Committee of the American Chamber of Commerce in Japan for eight years, and was also the founder and program chair of the Professional Direct Marketer Certification Course offered by Temple University Japan. He was also the President of the USO, Mainland Japan, from 1995 to 2003.
The FSC "Executive of the Year Award" recognizes individual achievements by practitioners who have made outstanding contributions to the insurance or financial services industry through the use of the direct marketing concept.
Nominations for The DMA FSC Awards are made by members of the FSC. Winners are selected by the council's nominating committee. Nominees need not be members of The DMA or its FSC, but are expected to adhere to The DMA's Code of Ethics.
The DMA Financial Service Council's 29th Annual Conference will focus exclusively on direct marketing in the financial services and insurance industries. John A. Greco, Jr., President & CEO of the Direct Marketing Association, will be the luncheon keynote, discuss the state of the industry and where it's headed. Featured keynoters include Meheriar Hasan, executive vice president, Direct to Consumer Group of Wells Fargo Consumer Credit Group; Scott Hildebrand, vice president, US Card Brand Strategy of Capital One; and Gene Raitt, global chief direct marketing officer at AIG.
The Direct Marketing Association (www.the-dma.org) is the leading trade association for businesses and organizations interested in direct, interactive, and database marketing, which in 2004 generated an estimated $2.2 trillion in US sales, including $134 billion in catalog sales and $41 billion in Web-driven sales. In addition to catalogs and the Web, DMA members employ a wide variety of marketing media, including mail, e-mail, telephone, newspapers and magazines, interactive television, and radio, among others. Founded in 1917, The DMA today has more than 5,200 corporate, affiliate, and chapter members from the US and 44 other nations. Reflecting the significant and growing role that direct marketing plays in today's advertising mix, The DMA's membership represents marketers from every business segment, including catalogers, Internet retailers, retail stores, nonprofit organizations, advertising agencies, financial services providers, book and magazine publishers, book and music clubs, industrial manufacturers, and a host of other vertical segments, as well as the service industries that support marketers.