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!

Critical Illness Marathons Claims Stats and Platinum Plating Bureaucracy – MPAF43

Has the critical “illness race” become a marathon?

What use are great claims statistics if no one knows about them?

Why do we platinum plate compliance and other bureaucracies to the extent it strangles growth?

Having been asked to schedule some recent interviews into specific times I find myself without one to publish this week.

So it’s:

Just Me and the Mic

where I get these subjects off my chest and invite your comments and thoughts.

That’s all right here in episode 43 of the Marketing Protection and Finance Podcast.

Critical Illness Marathons Claims Stats and Platinum Plating Bureaucracy

Click on the Picture to Listen or Right Click to Download the MP3 for later.

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What use are great protection claims statistics if no one knows about them?

There have been some great headlines recently shouting about how many protection claims we paid last year.

Here’s one from Money Marketing Magazine.

“Protection industry paid out £3.1bn in 2013”

And another from Financial Adviser magazine.

“ABI: Insurers paid out 97% of protection claims”

Undoubtedly these are great protection claims statistics. As Dougie Grant from Aegon says in the Financial Adviser piece, “The figures released by the ABI today shatter the illusion that insurance companies don’t pay claims and demonstrate how important it is to have cover in place.”

You can’t argue with that.

Protection Claims Statistics

But as great as these figures are it’s like hundreds of trees falling in the forest. You won’t hear them fall unless you are there to see them. The public still think that protection providers actively try to avoid paying claims. In fact they think that we pay out less than 40%. And articles in the Daily Mail and features on BBC Watchdog fuel that perception.

Only a very few people will go looking for great claims statistics like this. Confirmation bias means that they’ll seek out the negative articles that confirm their belief that we don’t pay.

Articles like this are great for an adviser to whip out when a client  raises the question about a companies willingness to pay. But main stream audiences aren’t seeing them.

So what are we doing to promote these amazing claims statistics? Where are the case studies with claimants? Where are the video testimonials from clients? Where are the interviews with people holding their cheques?

Statistics alone will not change deeply rooted perceptions. We need to tell the stories of the people whose lives have been affected.

Or better still let them tell their stories themselves.

Do you agree? Leave a comment below and share your thoughts.