Empowerment

In my experience, crossing the Alps was always an interesting exercise. And so it remains today, as I discovered during my Winter Break. For a long time, SIGMA (Swiss Re) has provided some of the Life Insurance industry’s most informative research – and their recent consumer attitudes report is no exception.

Life Insurance: A Consumer Perspective raises some fascinating and at times contestable (perhaps even contentious) themes around consumer attitudes toward Life Insurance.

There is no doubt in my mind that consumers need to be disturbed / stimulated / motivated to purchase insurance

A key finding of the report is that consumers do not want to be ‘sold to’. Instead, they want to be empowered to make informed decisions in their purchase of life insurance. Based upon the research data that supports it, the case for this is quite compelling – bar one factor.

Empowerment isn’t conversion
There remains an implicit assumption in this theory that Life Insurance is, or can be made to be, a demand-driven product. Perhaps it is a legacy of old age, but there is no doubt in my mind that consumers need to be disturbed / stimulated / motivated to purchase insurance. In simpler times, we referred to this as ‘the need to be sold’.

The report cites ‘empowerment by access to easy information’ as a key delta in transforming insurance from a ‘sold’ to a ‘bought’ product. Perhaps this is so in the context of an individual that has already been disturbed / stimulated / motivated to purchase – but how to motivate those who don’t see the need or value of life insurance? Such empowerment may alter their choice of distribution channel, but it does nothing to convert the non-believer.

Growing the base, rather than preaching to the converted, just as it was for St Paul, so it remains the real challenge for global life insurers.