Onlia wants people to think holistically about insurance

The upstart digital insurance firm is taking a prevention-first approach with its first mass campaign.

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Onlia believes its “all for safety, safety for all” holistic approach, communicated in its first mass campaign, will resonate with Canadian consumers in a crowded insurance space.

Launched as a digital insurance company in 2018, Onlia sits in a highly competitive market, where the likes of traditional insurance giants, like Belairdirect, as well as other DTC brands, like Sonnet, compete for Canadians’ attention. Nearly 200 companies work within the property and casualty insurance space, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada. And in 2018, Canadian personal and casualty insurers paid out $39.1 billion in claims, with nearly half (42%) of direct written premiums for motor vehicle insurance. Intact Group is currently the leading insurer by market share.

To differentiate Onlia against that heavy set, CMO Bonny van Rest says the brand is using a prevention-first strategy, targeting people who care about safety within three main groups: including younger families in suburban areas with young kids, established families with teens who are just about to acquire a driver’s license, as well as young urban professionals who often share roads with cyclists and pedestrians.

It recently launched a new “All for safety” campaign that includes cars driving around in protective cumulus cushions to indicate safety, and which also double as speech bubbles linked to the insurer’s branding. The campaign aims to promote the Onlia brand but also its mobile app, Onlia Sense, which helps users develop safer driving habits by rewarding them with gift cards and cashback offers as they progress.

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“Safety is our main mission, we are here to make Canada safer and we value the prevention-first strategy and try to reward people for safe behaviour,” van Rest says. “For us, safety is a higher mission, not just for our insured customers but for our safe app users, which is available to everyone.”

To support that safety messaging, new OOH ads use 100 hyper-contextual messages and real-time data to let drivers know when children are walking home from a nearby school or notifying drivers of hidden driveways ahead.

When it first launched last year, Onlia primarily used social to promote its products, but it started ramping up marketing efforts in 2019. Van Rest says that for the first six months, the vehicle and home insurer’s efforts were “under the radar,” using mostly social, programmatic, and Google search to find the right tone.

The new campaign by DDB Canada Toronto, Media Experts and DDB Public Relations includes television, cinema, OOH, pre-roll, display, digital, social, strategic brand actions and public relations tactics to gain recognition for Onlia, engage Canadians in its safety movement, and drive downloads of the Onlia Sense safe-driving app.

The campaign launched across Ontario mid-October with a heavy focus in the GTA and will run until the end of the year.

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