The year-end issue of The Insurance & Investment Journal continues its core mandate of covering the inexorable evolution of these integral aspects of personal financial planning.
No matter what the product or service being offered, WIIFM (What’s in it for me?) is always paramount for the prospective buyer, or, put another way, the cost/benefit analysis needs to favour the latter part of the equation.
But what of products or services appealing to limited, niche markets?
A product discussed in the Journal, one I came to know well in my financial consultant days, is ‘long-term care’ insurance. Replicating my own experience, along with that of almost all my peers at the time, the current scenario for this theoretically worthwhile form of protection remains one of struggling mightily to establish a foothold.
The article notes the findings of a recent research study, that no more than 25% of the population are potential candidates for this coverage. (In my experience and observation, that number seems like a high-water mark.) Persistent lack of awareness or understanding of the marketplace, itself squeezed by realistically excluding those with neither low nor high incomes as well as many home-owners, thus raising the ratio of prospects with unexplored health issues, leaves not a lot of opportunity. That remaining piece of the pie is lessened further in appeal by care costs and the desire to leave assets to family beneficiaries.
Add to all this the constraints of meeting times with prospects, wherein other insurance and savings options are more attractive to present, and long-term care coverage seldom appears ripe for plucking.
Beyond such niche market segments, what of even less covered, more untapped ones, awaiting freshly carved products and services to meet their needs?
To some extent, this is the realm of the inventor, or the futurist with at least one hand rooted in the technically possible. TV programs such as Dragon’s Den (in Canada), or the American knock-off Shark Tank, feature myriads of dreamers, who in varying degrees are one or more steps on the ladder to trying to fill perceived needs.
Here are some examples of the untraditional, perhaps in the offing, market:
- ‘Foot-in-the-mouth’ protection, for those in positions of influence with a tendency for their words to be undercut consistently by their actions
- ‘Keep your shirt on’ coverage (as it were), for those in authority positions who manifest physical dominance, while expecting to escape repercussion
- ‘Out of the Blue’ protection, against being hit by objects from space or suffering permanent damage from alien abduction
- ‘Being strung along’ coverage, for expenditures of time and/or money spent on major projects which prove illusory
- ‘Climactic avoidance’ coverage, not for losses from acts of weather per se, but rather from the frustration and delay in dealing with government agencies
- ‘Cloud non-dispersal’ protection, to compensate for losses from information stored in the Cloud which becomes irretrievable