All Insurance Is Emotional


By Andris Pone

Andris presented on the topic of branding at Sun Life’s Practice Development and Thought Leadership Summits this past summer.  In this series of six bi-weekly blogposts written exclusively for insurance advisors (both independent brokers & IIROC insurance specialists), he provides branding insights that advisors can apply to their businesses today.

Years ago, in the middle of a conversation I was having with my boss, he told me that I was “getting emotional.”  The clear implication was that this was a bad thing.  He was simply voicing what is widely accepted as gospel: that when we conduct business, we should not be emotional, but instead driven by clear-eyed reason.

It was only several years later that I realized this was complete bunk.  All business should be emotional:  if you or I do not feel passionately about what we do and the value we offer, we will find it impossible to persuade significant numbers of potential customers to spend their money on us.  Because our clients want to feel that we are deeply committed to them – that we care about them.

And if you and I don’t get an emotional charge from the work we do, we simply cannot care to the depth required.  And if we do not sufficiently care, we should quit and do something else we actually do care about.

And so from a branding perspective, it bodes extremely well for insurance advisors that insurance is among the most emotional businesses in the world.

But I think that you think insurance is about as dull and unemotional as it gets.

In the reviews I’ve done of your websites and LinkedIn profiles, again and again I see little acknowledgement that your business is about life and death.  You may have heard the phrase “As serious as cancer”?  Well your business trumps even that.  Your business is as serious – as emotional – as death.  And if you know of anything more serious than that, by all means stop reading now.

I suppose that if there is a contender in the serious sweepstakes, it’s money.  Your clients’ money being, as it happens, the aspect of your business that for most of you generates the most revenue.

Yet the presence you have on the web is almost devoid of feeling.  

The language you’re using conveys simple – and dare I say dull – facts that do not give clients a sufficient sense of whether you empathize enough with their emotional needs.  In my presentations to you, I have cited the work of Simon Sinek, who talks about “the Why” – and whose TED Talk has been viewed 13,000,000 times and counting.

Simon Sinek Why

In the context of his model, almost all of you are firmly situated not in the Why, but in the “What” and the “How.”  As Simon says, you, like every other business on the planet, can describe What you do.  And like most of the planet, most of you can describe How you do it.  But according to Simon, here’s the problem: No one cares. 

Here’s what some of you are saying (I’ve used pseudonyms to preserve your anonymity):

“John’s experience and background in insurance underwriting and business development serve well when it comes to providing unique planning solutions to our clients.”

“Jack is a valuable member of your Investment Advisor’s Team, helping you create and preserve your wealth.”

“Rob is a living benefits specialist and protecting your assets is his main goal…Focusing on asset protection, his main goal is to protect your financial security.”

Contrast those What and How statements with this statement of Why, made by Lynrow Financial:

“Estate planning will allow you to be remembered the way you want. To leave a legacy to the ones you love that reflects your wishes and gives purpose to what you’ve accomplished in your life.  Without estate planning, that likely will not happen.”

Why does Lynrow do what it does?  So you can be remembered the way you want.  So you can leave a legacy that validates what you’ve accomplished in your life.  So you won’t be forgotten.

Now THAT is powerful stuff.  Imagine that a potential client must decide which insurance advisor to hire, based only on the website copy above.  All other things being equal, who do you think will get the business?

This special series runs every second Friday until December 13th.  Coin Branding is offering a branding package created exclusively for insurance advisors.  For more information on how branding can make a big difference to your business, contact Wayne Miller at 1-416-408-7542 or

QUIZ:  Does Your Brand Mean Business?

BOOK:  Buy the #1 Globe and Mail bestselling Brand: It Ain’t the Logo at Books for Business

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RADIO:  Interview on CBC Radio One about unhappiness with Windows 8
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TV:  BNN interview re Lance Armstrong’s brand (starts at 3:30, after the ad)

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