April 26, 2013

Pompous business voice: The insurance industry is on a journey.

Outer space voice: A trip, if you will.

Merrie Englande voice: Or perchance a quest.

No, clarifies CII research and policy head Larry Baxter, it’s definitely a journey.

Here’s how Larry described that journey as he launched the CII’s latest product, a report called ‘Upon the door of every cottage’: “The general insurance profession [by which, presumably, he means CII members] and the sector as a whole [non members] is [sic] on a journey towards better public trust and confidence.”

Rousing stuff. But how are we going to know when we get there? Logically, assuming we haven’t taken the wrong path or something, public trust and confidence in the insurance sector would achieve the relative status of ‘better’ the moment we take the first step – and if, as Lazza’s just told us, we are already on that journey. It’s starting to sound as if – unlike Xeno’s arrow – we’ve already reached our target.

Maybe we’ll be getting close if, say 50%, of the population stop thinking we’re all claims-dodging fat-cat small print mongers? Frustratingly, Lol doesn’t say. With furrowed brow, Bankstone News ploughed on through reportage of the CII’s perplexing document in this week’s Post Magazine to learn (on your behalf, Dear Reader) that “the general insurance sector has made major strides to improve its role in protecting the public interest” which certainly sounds like the kind of thing that should help engender public trust and confidence; but apparently it would be dangerous for the sector to slacken off with the striding and stretch out on its laurels.

Instead, the sector needs to concentrate on – as the Lolster poetically puts it – “driving its own destiny”. Bankstone News is not even going to attempt to make sense of that one!

Speaking of bizarre gibberish, btw, readers may be wondering what all this business about cottages and doors is about. Here, at least, we may be able to offer some illumination. Far from echoing the title – as Bankstone News had initially assumed – of the jauntily vernacular memoire of some sexually adventurous hobbit or rural knob-and-knocker maker, Upon the door of every cottage is actually a quote from a pome by WWII PM and £5 note man Winston Churchill.

This describes how the portly pm would like to prance around the countryside daubing the word INSURE “upon the door of every cottage” and then pop back to town to write it on “the blotting book of every public man”. Why would he do that you may wonder? Because he is convinced that for just a few pounds every month (or “for sacrifices so small”, as he more prettily puts it) families up and down the land can protect themselves against the catastrophic loss of a breadwinner (“the frail boat in which the family are embarked”) which might otherwise “smash them up forever”.

Can’t help thinking today’s advertising copywriters could learn a thing or two from that corpulent old soak!

Anyway, it’s great news that the CII’s report has come along to set out a bunch of “stakeholder viewpoints that challenge market norms in order to stimulate general insurance initiatives and fresh thinking to meet the public interest challenges of the future”.

Hats off to everyone involved: a role of honour that includes Post Mag’s Jonathan Swifty, Zurich’s Sophie Spank, AXA’s Mandy Blank and a couple of blokes called Evans.

You can read that report in full right here.


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