Creative commentary plus crafty composition

There was an enlightening perspective in an article in August 2014 issue of The Insurance & Investment Journal illustrating how coded terminology remains a prominent tool of insurance marketing.   

In “Clients need advisors’ expertise now more than ever”, the emphasis was on advisors communicating knowledge and expertise in addressing health care concerns. This generic issue has been around for ages, but it seems to be gathering more steam thanks to the impact of retiring baby boomers.  One quoted expert stated that the health care system is “probably the largest unfunded debt in the history of the industrialized world”. 

Some might argue that annual government deficits and accumulating debts are at core the largest unfunded debt minefields, but the declaration is certainly valid to a point.   

The article proceeds to extol advisors to take this issue and ‘shine’, by sharing wisdom and emotional involvement with clients and prospects. However, as I found in my years offering insurance product solutions, getting people to listen is a very common challenge. 

Showing its part marketing bent, the report suggests two areas contributing to the problem: the use of acronyms and technical terms; plus perceptions of affordability.

With respect to the former, a speaker, in the context of using ‘plain language’, told the conference “…instead of saying words like ‘cost, price, premium’”, he uses “investment or monthly investment”.  Also, instead of ‘life insurance’ he says “coverage in case of death”.  Verbal massage at work.    

Concerning affordability, the article notes it should be established that clients are “…comfortable with the amount of premiums they are paying”. One speaker advised the tack “…mix and match insurance products to provide a package that won’t be too hard on their wallets’.  In this context, the euphemistic version of sales terminology comes from an advice article. In advocating for owning as much insurance as can be justified, it encourages advisors to ‘build and practice your repertoire of power phrases to be persuasive, such as that life insurance shows character because if you have some it shows some, or that no one should have obligations lasting longer than they do.  On the other hand, another expression is clearly to the point: that life insurance is one of the few products bought when not needed because when you need it you can’t buy it.      

Sales expressions and coded language, like so much else, can be useful if used responsibly.  It remains to be seen if the mounting needs for baby boomer health care are improved by clever terminology.

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