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Campaign victory

Well, we got there. Some months ago, I talked in this column of how a generic industry marketing or advertising campaign might be got off the ground.

I followed that plan, and chose a consultancy firm who could lead the ideas and thinking phase. Then, armed with their very impressive proposal, I decided to tackle first the nuts that I thought would be hardest to crack.

So I ended up in forbidding offices in the City asking reinsurers to commit £10,000 each to fund the planning phase of a campaign that all agreed was a very long shot. Rather amazingly six out of eight did, but they all demanded I convince the providers to come on board too. So I phoned a few life offices.

Without exception, all agreed to commit up to £5000, so in the end we had far more money committed than we needed, so we dropped the reinsurer premium and 23 businesses have now contributed the same amount which, thanks to our near-universal uptake, is much lower than that they originally agreed to. That doesn’t happen often.

We have agreed a fixed price with the planning consultants and have a substantial further fighting fund to spend if we see fit. An executive committee has been appointed by the 22 original businesses and we hope to add a few more to the list yet. Bancassurers, direct writers, tied offices and IFA offices have all decided to give this plan a chance. It is a fine testament to our industry’s realisation that the consumer needs us to persuade him and her to take responsibility for protecting themselves against the financial effects of personal disaster. We have far more excellent people in protection than you thought!

In truth though, now that the unlikely first step has been completed, we realise that it was the easy one. In the autumn we hope our consultants will come back to us with a convincing consumer marketing and communications plan that covers all angles from Treasury to billboards and that merits the far more serious levels of pan industry funding the actual campaign itself will require. We have though the provisional support of all consumer and trade bodies we have spoken to and a large part of our planning is focused around bringing those together to publicise, in a non-partisan way and from their own perspective, the consumer needs we address. Until the plan is ready there will be little further to say on the day-to-day workings of the campaign.

Nick Kirwan of the ABI gave me the idea for a simple but brilliant rider to our campaign objectives. Fresh from his triumphant reform of CI non- disclosure rules, which, given time, will really help restore that product’s credibility, he has taken to using the title “Protection Insurance” for our wider industry. Having looked at all the alternatives I would urge you to adopt it, to call what we do Protection Insurance, so that that title sits alongside General Insurance, Investment and Savings as the 4 points of anyone’s financial arrangements. Pensions are investments, Motor insurance is a General Insurance and Life, CI, IP, MPPI RLC, Severity Based Cover and so on are Protection Insurances. What do you think? Can we discipline ourselves to call ourselves that and nothing but, until it becomes our true title? If we can we might just take another small step to being taken seriously as a market again. Go for it!

Tom Baigrie is managing director at Baigrie Davies Lifesearch

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