Nationwide’s History of Customer Connections

Nationwide customer connections

The ability to create meaningful connections with customers separates the good companies from the great ones.

It’s no easy feat, but putting customers first is in Nationwide’s DNA. Even as it has grown, Nationwide continues to act like a small company, offering sound products to meet policyholders’ needs and listening to their concerns. Nationwide has a history of listening and making changes based on its policyholders’ comments.

This company is not shy about reaching out for feedback, either. Over the years, Nationwide has created different forums for policyholders to express their views. The company has used the insights collected at these regular events to improve its products and services.

Nationwide Member Connection Meetings

Consider Nationwide’s Member Connection meetings, which give policyholders an influential voice in the company’s future. The initiative has allowed Nationwide to pinpoint areas of improvement and also where it is meeting or exceeding expectations. They are an ongoing testament to Nationwide’s customer-focused approach.
From the very start, Nationwide has always valued policyholder feedback and involvement. In the founding year of 1926, policyholders were invited to the company annual meetings to receive the annual company report. At that time, the company was called Farm Bureau Mutual Automobile Insurance Company.
Policyholder meetings continued in other formats including informal gatherings among farmers in living rooms across rural Ohio. These Farm Bureau Advisory Council meetings highlighted the cooperative values and grassroots agricultural heritage at the heart of Nationwide’s founding by the Ohio Farm Bureau.

Advisory Committee of Policyholders

The meetings continued with increasing engagement by Nationwide’s clients, leading to the creation of the Advisory Committee of Policyholders (ACP) in 1952. In an industry first, agents held informal meetings with local policyholders to discuss topics related to insurance.

At that time, Nationwide President Murray D. Lincoln wondered “whether or not people with such diverse interests would come together…would it work for insurance policyholders scattered over 12 states, all of whom were in many different occupations and many different walks of life?”

The arrangement worked out well, influencing the structure of future meetings.

Policyholders who took part in local meetings were eligible to attend district meetings, with one representative from each district committee participating in the Regional Advisory Committee. Twenty-eight sales regions formalized policyholders’ input and chose representatives to go to Columbus, Ohio, for the national meeting.

At the national meeting, 60 policyholders from the regional meetings presented their recommendations to company management. Suggestions included helping the general public better understand the concept of mutual insurance and offering policyholders a catalog that would list available insurance policies and allow them to record their options. By the time the ACP disbanded in 1966, 169,000 policyholders had participated in the program.

Leaders’ Poll

In 1965, Nationwide offered another way for shareholders to connect with the company through the Leaders’ Poll. The survey served as a replacement for the ACP, allowing shareholders to learn more about Nationwide and public response to legislative issues. In 1968, for example, the poll asked shareholders whether they believed their states should raise the minimum age for issuing a driver’s license.

In 1982, all policyholders became eligible to attend and vote at the Annual Meeting. That year, 536,000 policyholders voted by proxy.

Nearly three decades later, in 2011, Nationwide’s Office of Sponsor Relations was tasked with bringing the informal meetings to customers in every sales region. These meetings were rebranded in 2012 as Member Connection meetings, which are held to this day.

Nationwide has long worked to cultivate strong relationships with its customers. Speak with an agent today to discuss your insurance needs or to offer your feedback. Nationwide is ready to help.