Insurance Executives Must Know the 7 Key Components of the CAN-SPAM Act

Posted on

September 21st, 2015


Insurance Email Marketing
Insurance Email Marketing  

Do you use email in your business? The CAN-SPAM Act is a law that established rules for commercial email. Simply said, it provides recipients the right to force businesses to stop emailing them, and includes some significant penalties for agencies and brokers who fail to obey these rules.

The CAN-SPAM Act applies to all commercial messages, defined as “any electronic mail message the primary purpose of which is the commercial advertisement or promotion of a commercial product or service.” All emails messages should thus comply with this law.

Each individual email, found in violation of the CAN-SPAM Act, is subject to penalties up to $16,000. Email marketing done without taking this law into consideration could create a significant liability for agencies and brokers. Fortunately, the law isn’t very complex. Here are 7 key components of the CAN-SPAM Act:

  1. Don’t use misleading header info: Agents should make sure their “From,” “To,” “Reply-To,” and routing information, including the originating domain name and email address, are all accurate. The person or business who initiated the message must be identified.
  2. No deceptive subject lines: The subject line must accurately reflect the content of the email message
  3. If it’s an ad – tell them it’s an ad:You must disclose that your message is an advertisement, if it is an advertisement of any kind. If it’s an ad make it clear and obvious that it’s an ad.
  4. Identify your location: Your email must include your valid physical address. This can be your current street address, a post office box you’ve registered with the U.S. Postal Service, or a properly registered private mailbox.
  5. Easy opt out: Though “easy” is somewhat of a subjective term, the CAN-SPAM act makes it clear that the recipient can opt out of getting email from you at any time, and further, that this must be made clear to the recipient in all messages. Insurance email marketing best practices recommend a one click button to easily opt out or modify recipient email preferences. For agencies which don’t use an automated email marketing system, make sure there is a notification in your emails explaining how to opt out. For example, “simply reply to this email and type remove in the subject line.”
  6. Honor opt-out requests – and do so quickly: Opt-out requests must be honored for at least 30 days and recipient’s opt-out requests must be processed within 10 business days. Faster is better when it comes to opt-outs, insurance emarketing best practices recommend processing within 24 hours.
  7. Monitor your activities and your agents’ activities: The law states that your agency is responsible for compliance even you are not the one sending the emails. For example, if one of your new agents sends out his or her own campaign to 1,000 prospects, but doesn’t include an opt-out, your agency is still responsible.

Insurance email marketing is an art and a science, combing relevant content, clear calls to action, pithy and accurate subject lines, and crisp execution. When it comes to the latter, it’s important to make sure your agency is 100% CAN-SPAM compliant, and furthermore, it’s recommended that you follow all opt-in insurance email marketing best practices. Agencies and brokers seeking to optimize their insurance email marketing initiatives should contact the experts at at (518) 222-6392. Much of the information in this blog was gleaned from the FTC site about the CAN-SPAM Act.

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