I absolutely love great advertising. By definition, to advertise is to call to one’s attention a product or service and the need it fills. Ideally one’s advertising is an important first-step in landing the sale. As an avid football fan, I’ve been seeing a boosted amount of insurance advertising surrounding sporting events. I’m not sure if insurance companies have discovered that sports fans are more prone to hurt themselves while screaming at the TV, or if perhaps they’ve found that groups of decision makers congregate on Saturdays and Sundays thus making sports advertising a great use of marketing dollars. Regardless, I’ve been exposed to several insurance commercials lately and I’ve begun to notice a trend—education.
In today’s info-saturated world we are discovering that knowledge and education are slowly becoming a new form of currency. The first with new information are often well-positioned within an industry and those who trail are forced to play catch up. Those with accurate information tend to make better decisions and those without it get left behind in the dust. The same holds true for insurance agents as well. For years and years, consumers have been hammered with the “call us and we can save you hundreds of dollars on your insurance” approach. That approach seems to be shifting.
Let us survey the field.
Nationwide, Allstate and Farmers are spending substantial amounts of money educating customers of what so many take for granted. Not all insurance offers the same coverage; people face different risks, have different exposures and need insurance that specifically takes this information into consideration. I think the “University” commercials from Farmers are a great example of how “captive agents” are introducing coverage issues as part of the insurance buying process. The “unburglar” commercials from Nationwide along with the “Mayhem” commercials from Allstate are also consistent with this informative trend.
Now that the notion that “coverage matters” is getting out to the insurance buying public on such a large scale, I think it provides the perfect opportunity for independent agents to seize the moment and have similar conversations with customers and prospects. The ability of independent insurance agents to customize coverage for a client far outpaces what any other distribution system can offer. And if the major companies are going to work so diligently to inform customers of the importance of individualized coverage, there is no better time for independent agents to do what we’ve always done—offer our industry expertise and the ability to shop the coverage with multiple insurance companies. What a powerful combination!
For years, independent agents have attended classes to learn about the various technical nuances of insurance policy provisions. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that some of the most powerful teaching methods you’ve experienced included being given claim scenarios and working to find solutions unique to each situation. Now, insurance companies that have long been seen as competitors in the marketplace are making the same statement to consumers about how important coverage is. Take this golden opportunity and use it to your advantage!
The public’s curiosity is being peaked with all of these coverage scenarios out there (my favorite one may be the “Mayhem” commercial where the maid falls down the steps). The timing is right for independent agents to bring their coverage expertise to the forefront. As the spokesman for Farmers tells viewers, “We make you smarter about insurance. What you don’t know can hurt you.” You should be delivering that same message.