Ugly duckling to beautiful swan: Let’s paint the insurance sector with a new brush

I think there’s a similar happy ending on the insurance industry’s cards if it could change its narrative a bit.

Unfortunately, the insurance industry has never had the best public reputation. Basically, it’s so difficult for the average consumer to understand paying for an insurance policy on an annual basis that they likely won’t have to file a claim on it.

“If I never have to file a claim and get compensation, where does all my money go?” From an educated guess, this is what I imagine a lot of consumers are thinking about their insurance. But the fact of the matter is that they are often required to buy some insurance products (like home and auto insurance) by law, so they buy the policies – but it’s definitely a grudge purchase.

This is just one reason why insurance is seen as the “ugly duckling” of the world of financial services.

Then there are the unfortunate insured who actually have to make a claim on the insurance policy. I would argue that even if the claim experience is first class and the insured gets excellent communication and support, quick judgment, and prompt payout, suffering from a loss will and always will be an “ugly” experience. Yes, insurance companies do everything they can to improve the customer experience with claims, but many still view it as an ugly business.

At the end of Andersen’s fairy tale “The Ugly Duckling,” the duck looks at his reflection in the water and realizes he’s been a swan all along. I think the insurance industry needs to take a long hard look at its reflection.

What the industry does is by no means “ugly”. It literally cuts people’s lives and businesses together after a loss, enabling people to take risks, innovate and grow.

yell at it! And I mean everyone in the industry – not just the brokers, whose core value revolves around advisory services.

Help consumers, business owners, regulators – everyone – understand where their money is going, how claims work, and perhaps most importantly, how insurance underpins and sustains all of the global industry and, by extension, all human opportunity. Explain to them that although they may never make a claim, insurance is an essential part of good financial hygiene. The potential for positivity in the insurance narrative is great, however, and the industry hasn’t quite succeeded in getting rid of its perceived “ugliness.”

Changing the narrative and painting the insurance industry with a new (and more subtle) brush may help overcome one of its biggest challenges – the talent shortage.

Ask yourselves: How do teenagers and recent graduates view the insurance industry? If they were like me growing up, the only interactions they would have with insurance would be with auto insurance (in the total financial blow to a teenage bank account), travel insurance, and perhaps renters insurance – all the things (except travel insurance) you have to buy By law, but frankly, you don’t want to. This is not an attractive selling point for the industry.

Unfortunately, this will never change. But what can change is the narrative around which the industry revolves around those products and services. For example, there are a lot of exciting innovations happening in auto insurance right now around things like use-based insurance (UBI), electric vehicles, driverless cars, telecommunications technology, etc. This goes back to what I said about insurance that enables innovation. This is the selling point.

Talking about innovation and raising excitement about the role of insurance in evolving—particularly for the insurance products everyone has to buy—will increase public interest and industry acceptance and possibly attract talented individuals toward a career in insurance. Only then will the insurance industry grow its flock and realize its full potential.


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