Without a doubt, few categories are more active in sponsorship than insurance.

National, regional and local insurance companies are increasingly using sponsorship to gain a point of differentiation, generate leads and access one-on-one engagement opportunities.

“You cannot find a more competitive category than insurance right now. There is not a major sport that does not have an official insurance partner, and some have multiple partners,” said Ed Gold, State Farm advertising director.

State Farm sponsors the NBA, GEICO sponsors the NHL, Esurance sponsors MLB, while Nationwide and USSA cosponsor the NFL.

“Insurance is one of the biggest categories across the league,” said Brian Cull, NHL group vice president of business development, noting that GEICO sponsors more than two-thirds of the league’s 31 clubs, many of which are non-exclusive deals.

Much of the sponsorship activity in the category is a response to GEICO, Progressive and other insurance companies that market primarily on price.

“GEICO and Progressive have turned the category on end with their price message. They changed the conversation and caused everyone to ask themselves ‘What do we need to do to be sure our products and services are properly seen by consumers?’” said Dan Keats, Allstate director of product marketing.

To be sure, insurers place a major premium on sponsorship. The seven biggest spenders (those spending over $15 million annually) spent an estimated $325 million on sponsorship in 2016, per ESP research.

While sports received the lion’s share of spending, other properties benefited as well. Insurers allocated 57 percent of spending to sports followed by causes (20 percent), entertainment (15 percent) and the arts (8 percent).

GEICO was the biggest spender in 2016 with an estimated $75 million to $80 million spend. Allstate follows in second ($65 million to $70 million) with State Farm in third ($55 million to $60 million).

The Biggest Spenders In The Insurance Category
Companies spending more than $15 million
The Biggest Spenders In The Insurance Category
Estimated 2016 spending

Where Insurance Companies Spend Money
Number of deals for property/casualty and health insurance companies
Where Insurance Companies Spend Money