Villing & Company

Insurance Wars: Is There a Winner in Sight?

If the 80s was the time of the cola wars, I'm thinking we must now be in the midst of the insurance wars. From Flo at the Progressive counter to Safe Auto trying to get you legal for less, we're inundated with insurance TV ads. Not to mention insurance characters – a lizard, a general, a female ninja. As a category, the combined messaging must be getting through because I find myself questioning whether I have the best coverage for my needs at the price that I'm willing to pay. But who cut through the clutter and convinced me that they should be the first call I make? For a quick review of the choices, I grouped the competition into three major categories based on how they position themselves in the market.

  • If You're in a Bind: Companies whose main offering seems to be emergency or difficult coverage, The General and Safe Auto, for example. With features such as state minimum coverage and instant print proof of insurance, these companies don't seem to be looking for long term or growing customers.
  • Switch & Save: Companies who are selling based on range/breadth of coverage but with an overriding message of cost savings, Geico and Progressive, for example. Both of these utilize direct comparisons with the competition in their ads with a focus on how much you could save by switching. They want you as a customer across insurance categories and offer bundling.
  • Service after the Sale: Companies who focus on the service they provide when you have a claim, such as All State and State Farm. While they do promote coverage for all your needs and multiple policy discounts, the main message for companies in this category is the level of support they offer after you become a customer.

So who cut through the clutter for me? While I admit to being partial to the gecko with the accent, State Farm's message spoke the loudest to me about actual insurance topics. Looking at their latest TV spot of ex-customer Jerry calling State Farm agent Jessica after an accident and regretting his switch, I think several things are communicated well: the service level between agent and customer and the fact that multiple accidents won't get you cancelled. But the best message in this commercial is how easy it was to spend 15 minutes to switch carriers but how difficult he's finding the claim process. This is a very effective reference to Geico carried out via a situation that the viewer can relate to rather than a simple comparison statement.

I'll end with the disclaimer that I'm sure I overlooked some insurance companies and that all companies obviously fill a need within the overall market. But I'm personally going to call Jessica over at State Farm.

Filed Under: advertising

Villing & Company

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