Here we could write a more humorous blog based on State Farm advertising, and look at: whether it makes sense to go with an independent broker to shop options, or a ‘walled garden’ (just one company) where you may not get the full range of options…..
We just have to weigh in on some of the newest ad moves by established insurance companies coming to a small screen near you.
Nearly anyone with a television has probably seen at least one of these little ad spots focusing on ‘Jake from State Farm,’ a now mythic figure tragically embroiled, at least story-wise, in America’s marriages.
A few months back, you had a particular 30-second clip where a stressed-out housewife confronts her huddled husband in the kitchen, as he sits on the phone in the wee hours of the night with ‘Jake from State Farm.’
“What are you wearing, ‘Jake from State Farm?’” — she asks sarcastically. Cut to a run-of-the-mill large-size dude with a State Farm shirt and khakis.
“Khakis.” he replies, deadpan.
More recent commercials actually go even more overboard, for example, depicting marriage counseling where a woman details the ways that her husband has become unnaturally close to their insurance agent, who, spoiler alert, is also a guy.
While all of this is massively amusing, the subtext that runs underneath it is a classic example of how different players in the insurance industry want to promote different kinds of messaging.
Insurance carriers are trying to enthrone their brands. It’s going beyond visibility — they want to dominate markets. They want loyalty. They want customers to think that they can only go to one company and one company, for the rest of their lives, ad infinitum.
The truth of what’s best for consumers is a little bit different. Some carriers are better than others, but comparison-shopping is really what a lot of experts consider the holy grail of insurance shopping.
And any efforts to cut off that comparison-shopping result in a kind of walled garden, where emotional responses are entrapping consumers rather than freeing them.
The Insurance Broker
An independent insurance broker talks to the consumer and gets a list of what he or she wants.
Then that professional scours the industry looking for the best deals.
The insurance broker looks at all carriers to which he or she has a connection or access.
The broker compares all of those aspects of policies that customers are looking for, like:
- comprehensive coverage
- specialized coverage according to need
- good customer service
- policy versatility
- a reasonable approach to exclusions or riders
These are just some of the things that customers want, and the things that insurance brokers are looking to find.
What the Walled Garden Does
A ‘walled garden’ is a new kind of consumer lingo that shows how companies try to enforce a loyalty policy in all sorts of devious ways.
Going within one company only gets you one set of information. But it also greatly benefits the aims and goals of that company.
A classic example is Apple, a company that emerged to rival Microsoft over the last 20 years, and largely succeeded. Now Apple may have a superior product. It may have a better service to its user base. But that’s no excuse for making Apple products so incompatible that customers are forced to use all of the company’s products and nothing else.
By contrast, companies like Samsung, Google and others have been fairly cooperative in the advancement of alternative technologies that allow freer shopping malls. While Apple is busy wrapping up its files, engineering its devices and otherwise creating its walled garden, other companies are busy creating collaborative, cooperative tools. And this is going to have a big influence on future markets.
The Role of the Insurance Broker
Going back to insurance, the same rule applies. Customers want to be able to get the full range of options without going through a particular company.
Independent insurance brokers help to manage this process. From the very first inquiry into the industry to the actual application process and selecting a policy, insurance brokers are all about assisting individual customers in the quickest and most efficient ways possible.
So if you’re looking for any kind of life insurance policy, skip the hassles and the walled gardens and go directly to someone who can give you the straight truth on what’s available in today’s markets.
Call us today for a quote at 1-888-552-6159.