Protection Insurance: 3 Steps to Fighting Against Confirmation Bias

It won’t happen to me. It’s too expensive. Life insurance companies will try to wriggle out of paying.

3 reasons repeatedly given by people why they won’t buy protection insurance (life cover, critical illness or income protection).

Protection Insurance

You’d think that with all the digital communications technology available, we’d be able to change these views. But they’ve endured for years despite evidence to the contrary.

Take the assertion that life companies will try anything they can to avoid paying out. Each year most companies publish their claims statistics showing this is clearly not true. Payouts are in the high 90 percents.

But look at the results of some recent research published by British Friendly.

They found only 2 per cent believe we pay income protection claims more than 90% of the time. And nearly 1 in 5 say we pay claims less than 20 per cent of the time.

Almost half believe we deliberately try not to pay them.

Why such a wide gap between what the public thinks and reality?

A Phenomenon called “Confirmation Bias”.

People seek information that confirms their view-point. If they believe that life companies deliberately wriggle out of paying, they can easily find articles, news reports and videos confirming they are correct. If they find any information proving they are wrong they’ll subconsciously ignore it.

The truth of the matter is there aren’t enough positive stories out there to balance out, or even override the negative.

Fighting against confirmation bias should be our number one marketing communications goal.

Here are three things we must do:

Stop believing the annual publication of claims stats, laudable as it is, reaches anything other than a few people, probably clients of advisers, outside of the industry. The public do not read Cover, FT Adviser or Money Marketing.

Start flooding the Internet with positive stories about paid claims and the families whose finances we’ve saved. The 7 Families campaign has the right idea, but 7 stories do not constitute a flood. Every provider and adviser must put out content, articles, videos, audio,  and interviews all building on the statistical truth that we pay claims with emotional stories showing the results.

Start using social media to drive Internet traffic to these positive stories so eventually, and it will take a long time, when people go looking for information to confirm their bias, they’ll find it harder to ignore the truth.

Digital communications technology means we can do this cheaply and efficiently. Come on. Let’s do it!

A question for you: What content would you like to see out there to help improve customer views about protection insurance? Click to share your thoughts on Twitter or Facebook or LinkedIn. And Google+ if you use it!