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Archive for July, 2011

Think about the insurance advertisements you have recently seen on TV and in print. Most emphasize this flawed and glib message: the smart way to buy insurance is from the company providing you with the lowest cost. One carrier even encourages you to “name your own price.” To be sure, these are clever, entertaining, and persuasive pitches. Meanwhile, directing consumers to prize “low cost” above all other factors is irresponsible pandering that can result in huge problems after a loss.

Compounding this shell game advertising ploy by insurance carriers is the sad fact that many of those who know better — the agents and brokers who understand insurance and need to properly guide consumers — also slyly insert “save money now” as a theme in marketing their value proposition. One agency with a national footprint reduces the complex inter-relationship between price and insurance value with this gem: “We have yet to meet a person who is insensitive to insurance pricing.™” Yes, that is a trademark; proud of a keen ability to observe the obvious, this agent is apparently concerned other agents might actually steal this profundity (aspiring Mad Men be forewarned: we insurance folk sure know how to craft pithy advertising copy).

Instead of PRICE, look to focus on VALUE: To better convey the inter-relationship between pricing and insurance protection, here’s something to consider: insurance agents and brokers are insurance consumers as well, and while “not insensitive to insurance pricing”, we also know that “pricing” is just one of the factors to be considered when making an informed decision when buying insurance for ourselves. As a result, no insurance professional I know is overly sensitive to insurance pricing, since we understand the allure of low cost coverage entails some manner of sacrifice in protection and /or service. After all, does anyone believe the insurance carriers who are advertising “low cost” coverage are reducing their costs because they are more benevolent than other carriers? It is noteworthy that the insurance carrier that helps consumers “save 15% in 15 minutes” is also among the most profitable insurance carriers in the world. Rather than focus on price, my commitment is to help consumers better assess the value of insurance coverage. While doing so would make for a VERY boring advertisement, I am willing to be labeled boring by remaining an advocate of helping consumers to learn the more important questions to ask before buying insurance. For starters:
• What are the other factors besides price to consider when buying insurance?
• What inside information do insurance professionals use to help them buy insurance coverage that is both effective and cost efficient?
• What non insurance strategies do insurance professionals use to reduce the cost of insuring their risks?
Insurance pricing is important, but understanding the real value of the insurance being considered is much more important. Let me know if you or those you know would like the perspective of an insurance insider to discern between price and value.

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