Posted in Spotlight
May 17, 2019 | 3 minute read

An employee’s take: Trust vs Fear – When will this tactic die?

Trust is the currency by which we measure the success of our business and in my view, the business that builds the most trust will win the most customers.

Feras Tayeb

Trust vs. Fear

I came across a nice picture while Googling insurance (what I do with my free time). It is an umbrella keeping you and your family financially secure, which pretty much sums up how insurance can save us from a rainy day. And that’s quite reassuring. So why the negativity towards insurance?
Well, it’s quite simple. We live in a state of instant gratification and immediate value, therefore, the insurance products are difficult to sell. There is no tangible product or immediate benefit after you buy insurance. The only thing a customer really buys is a promise that when it really matters the insurance company will be by your side. Basically, we’re supposed to trust a financial services institute to act truthfully in a time where we’re in pain or need.

I believe therein lies the problem: customers are buying a promise. And in order to buy a promise there is a certain level of trust that needs to be established.

The traditional (read “old”) paradigm of selling insurance had little to do with building trust and all about making a fast buck, which meant that sales people used other tactics to pressure people into buying insurance. There is nothing wrong with this, but in my view it rarely leaves a good impression and doesn’t build a lasting relationship.

I’m not saying it’s wrong, but I believe this model is past its expiry date. Today’s customer demands a better experience and technology will give it to them. The insurance companies of the future understand this and are using tech to create a whole new relationship with customers built on trust. Many, however, are still stuck in the past, which I recently experienced.

It happened when I was opening up a new bank account in Berlin. I endured a long and tiring journey due to my nationality (don’t get me started) and as a result I ended up having no choice but to go to the traditional state-funded bank. Long story short, after I opened my account my advisor switched into selling “insurance mode”. During the process I explained that I was rejected by a couple of banks and being an acute observer, she picked these facts up and convinced me to buy legal insurance. It was a really smart tactic and it’s totally my fault for falling for the “hard sell”.

But what was interesting is how she “feared” me into buying insurance. She started by reminding me that I had been rejected by several banks. Then she asked what I would do if I had been discriminated against at work, or in my private life, or by my landlord. What then? She asked how would I deal with these situations and that it would be better to have someone on my side to fight my corner. And just like that I was sold – hook, line and sinker. But what made me feel uncomfortable is the fear tactics she used.

This experience showed me that this type of product selling is so old school and very uncomfortable, which gives insurance a bad name. I believe the future of insurance selling is through trust and simplicity. An idea deeply ingrained into wefox Group via our CEO Julian.

It’s these sorts of tactics that put people off and damages the reputation of the industry.

Insurance is like an umbrella – it’s there for the rainy days – those unexpected moments that happen because, well, life just does that. Yet the idea of an umbrella is simply a device to protect us. It’s reassuring that we have the cover.

So for me, insurance is about trust and selling insurance is about building a relationship with the consumer and being there when it matters; not just using the customer as a commodity or a money machine and pressuring them into buying a product. It’s time to change the narrative.

It’s time to move to a more customer-centric process in which the customer is at the heart of the relationship and the products are built around the customer. This is where technology is making a big difference and changing the relationship between broker and customer.

Trust is the currency by which we measure the success of our business and in my view, the business that builds the most trust will win the most customers.

Feras Tayeb, Associate Group Strategy & Business Development at wefox Group