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[Press Release] Is The Life Insurance Industry Perceived As Authentic In Its Communications?

New LIMRA/Maddock Douglas Research Offers Ways For The Industry To Communicate More Effectively And Reach More Consumers

BOSTON, Mass., May 29, 2014—A new joint study by LIMRA and Maddock Douglas reveals there are 19 million “stuck shoppers” of life insurance in the United States—that is, consumers who believe life insurance is valuable and necessary but have been derailed during the shopping process. “Our focus groups consistently described shopping for life insurance and other financial products as confusing, frustrating and overwhelming, which kept them from making a decision on what to buy,” said Scott Kallenbach, research director, LIMRA Strategic Research. “The words, images and messages used to explain financial products don’t seem realistic or relatable to many of these consumers. Our research was designed to figure out how companies can improve their communications to help these consumers get the coverage they want and need.” The study uncovered a key factor in the stuck shopper dilemma—communication that our industry employs lacks authenticity. Authentic communication is more than just using everyday language and laymen’s terms. It also includes relatable visuals and attainable goals. There are six elements that make up authentic communication:

  1. Easy to Understand—Language that we use every day
  2. Down to Earth—Images that feel realistic
  3. Memorable—Communication that is interesting
  4. Positive—Messages that are warm and comforting
  5. Credible—Sources of information that are trustworthy
  6. Relevant—Communication that says the company understands them, and who they are

Consumers said one of the biggest obstacles was that they didn’t understand many of the terms used in insurers’ marketing materials. Nearly three quarters said they were not confident they could define what “underwriting” and “permanent life insurance” meant; two-thirds were not confident they understood the terms: “rider,” “guarantees,” “living benefit” and “annuity.” To view more examples, visit Are We Really Communicating Effectively?

“Authentic communication is much more than a revamping of marketing materials and ad campaigns. It is a major innovation opportunity if internalized by the entire culture of an insurance company,” said Maria Ferrante-Schepis, managing principal for Insurance and Financial Services Innovation at Maddock Douglas. “This research uncovers where insurers can improve, and it builds on work we have done in other areas of insurance, spotlighting the importance of communication in the overall customer experience.” The study consisted of more than 1,500 online interviews to quantify consumer attitudes, behaviors and perceptions related to insurance industry language and 30 in-person interviews where consumers shared their experiences, emotions and feelings related to insurance industry language and images. Initial study results were presented at the 2014 LIMRA Marketing and Research Conference in Boston.

LIMRA Contacts:

Catherine Theroux, 860-285-7787, ctheroux@limra.com

Mark Morris, 860-285-7875, mmorris@limra.com

Maddock Douglas Contacts:

McRae Williams, 630-563-6488, mcrae.w@maddockdouglas.com

Maria Ferrante-Schepis, 630-563-6487, maria.fs@maddockdouglas.com

About LIMRA: LIMRA, a worldwide research, learning and development organization, is the trusted source of industry knowledge, helping more than 850 insurance and financial services companies in 64 countries increase their marketing and distribution effectiveness. Visit LIMRA at www.limra.com.

About Maddock Douglas: Maddock Douglas, Inc., established in 1991, is an internationally recognized innovation consulting firm that helps companies design, brand and launch new products, services, experiences and business models while also empowering an agile culture that can continually innovate. Maddock Douglas’ client list includes 25 percent of the top 100 global brands and 10 out of the Fortune 50 companies. Visit Maddock Douglas at www.maddockdouglas.com.    

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