Albert Einstein on the topic of problem solving: “If I had an hour to solve a problem and my life depended on the solution, I would spend the first 55 minutes determining the proper question to ask, for once I know the proper question, I could solve the problem in less than five minutes.”
As it concerns the problem of deciding which insurance product to buy, I remind the clients and advisors I serve to approach the decision by first asking the right question. Consider which of these two questions is likely to provide the best solution should you ever actually need the insurance you are selecting to protect your assets from a loss (the reason to buy insurance in the first place):
1. Which insurance product costs less?
2. Which insurance product best protects me from the risks that can cause me the greatest harm?
Can we agree asking the second question will provide consumers a far better chance of selecting insurance coverage that will not disappoint them after a loss? Why is it then that so many consumers approach the “which-insurance-to-buy-problem” by focusing instead on the first question?
Remarkably, we need only look to the insurance industry itself (and their advertising allies) for the answer. Marketers know when the product is confusing, interest level low, and benefits are intangible, consumers make buying decisions by focusing on the one factor we can all most easily distinguish — cost. While there are a few exceptions, the prevailing advertising theme “save X % in Y minutes” tricks consumers into asking the wrong question to select a product they may one day need to protect their assets from a possibly life changing loss.
While the image of a carnival shell game as a metaphor for insurance marketing is harsh, it is sadly fitting. The loss protection provided by insurance products varies widely, in important ways that are much more hard to discern than cost. Providing consumers with thoughtful and strategic answers to the second question is my commitment to the clients and advisors I serve.
Why not follow Albert Einstein’s advice before simply accepting the renewal offer on your next insurance policy?