Again and again insurance companies continue to place their heads in the sand until the storm blows over!
By Robert M�tivier
The insurance industry appears to be an institution that lends itself to bad publicity and constant attack. Every other week you can pick up a newspaper and read about the high premiums policyholders have to endure while insurance companies make millions in profits. Of course we all know there are two sides to every story � right! Unfortunately for insurance professionals the media fuels only one side, making many wonder just why they continue to work in this industry.
It doesn�t have to be that way. Like anything, price only becomes a factor if the customer feels he/she is not getting value for his hard earned dollar. And that�s the problem. The vast majority of policyholders don�t see the value because they will never need to make a claim. And God forgive them if they do make a claim, after paying premiums for years, because now they lose their �preferred� policyholder designation, become a �risk� policyholder and their premium is increased. Is it any wonder so many policyholders choose to pay for the damages themselves and not make a claim? Sort of defeats the purpose of having insurance doesn�t it! Of course the real down side to this is the effect it has on retention.
But the sales pitch of �financial peace of mind� for policyholders in the event of a large claim is worth the thousands of dollars in yearly premiums, so the story goes! Is this really the only benefit? I say no! Policyholders are saying they want insurance professionals to look after their best interest today, not at some future unknown time. So isn�t time the insurance industry take its head out of the sand and provide policyholders with what they want � practical insurance information and advice they can use – now?
There�s no need for insurance professionals to be out on the front line facing policyholders on their own � without the tools to defend themselves? Many insurance professionals have stated to me that when bad publicity surfaces they have no ammunition to fight back and are forced to wait for the wave of negative publicity to pass. If they try selling insurance during these times, they waste a lot of valuable time with prospects and policyholders discussing the negative media coverage. At the end of the day, the bottom line is less commission income.
So what�s the answer? �EDUCATION-BASED MARKETING�
What is Education-Based Marketing? It�s a powerful marketing strategy that establishes trust and credibility using educational messages. This marketing strategy is efficient and effective because it gives your prospects what they want � information and advice � and removes what they don�t want � a sales pitch. This principle also says that your likelihood for success greatly increases if you offer a solution during the investigation stage of the buying cycle. By doing this you will effectively stand out from the crowd and be identified as the authority regarding insurance issues.
What should your educational message say? For the answer to this question, you first need to put yourself in your prospect�s shoes, at the very moment they decide to begin shopping for insurance, to determine what they are asking themselves. This will be the basis for your educational message.
How to deliver your educational marketing message? Through �Customer Touch Points�? These are the points where a prospect or policyholder interacts with your company. Common customer touch points are: your business phone, website, newsletter, advertising, publicity, networking events, trade shows, etc.
When should you deliver your message? Over the past year I�ve found out on my own the many hidden insurance secrets that as a policyholder I feel I have the right to know and would have appreciated knowing through ongoing communication from my insurance representative. In short, there�s enough valuable information at your disposal to be communicating on a monthly basis with your prospects and existing policyholders. Remember, you want to stand out from the crowd and ensure that your prospects and existing policyholders believe that they would have to be absolute fools to do business with anybody else.
If you have any comments regarding this article, please email me at: [email protected]