What motivates people?

I’d recently come across a quote from one Edgar Thomas Howe - an American author & editor (1853-1937). He is reported to have said (please excuse the out-dated sexist construction!) “A good scare is worth more to a man than good advice”. This pithy observation clearly has a ring of truth, and I found myself wondering just how true this is in my business and among my clients.

In this business, it is essential to go forth and FIND potential customers. It is said that insurance is “sold, not bought’. That’s true to some extent: I provide advice and people either act on that advice or not, as the case may be.

But from time to time, I am approached by a client, or a friend of a client, seeking insurance cover. This is unusual behaviour…generally, people may INTEND to do it (for years on end even) but it usually take an approach by a specialist adviser to spur people to action. (I recall once, about 15 years ago, watching as a gasping, limping man of not a very young age, struggled all the way up the stairs to our second floor office. Once he caught his breath, I asked how I could help him. The reply was not surprising – he wanted medical insurance because he’d just been told he needed an operation! Not much chance of that…) 

So, I reviewed several of the clients who have come to me looking for cover, or MORE cover. A common theme emerged: in all eleven cases I studied, these people had taken action because they knew, or knew of, someone who had suffered a major health event. They had therefore seen, up-close-and-personal, exactly what the financial consequences were for these people. They had become acutely aware of how real those consequences are, and were concerned to make sure they could do what they could to protect themselves and their loved ones.

I asked each to gather more information from the friend/acquaintance, of which seven were successful. This information was anonymously shared with me and I can summarise it for you now.

Most people will agree that insurance premiums seem like wasted money most months, and darned expensive. I hear it often and feel the same way. However, I am privileged to be there when a claim occurs and, gosh! those insurance premiums suddenly seem to have been very cheap indeed. Insurance is a little like buying a Lotto ticket, but it’s one you hope you will never collect on.

Anyway, of the seven cases on which I received feedback, there were three cases of cancer, two heart attacks, a stroke, and a long-term disablement caused by stress & anxiety. None died as a direct result, so they had to carry on as best they could. Of these, only three had adequate insurance cover, two had some cover but minimal (less than half what they needed), and the other two (one of the heart attacks and the stroke) had nothing in place at all.

These two people were forced to bear the financial consequences themselves, and to look to the State for financial assistance while they could not work. This is generally agreed to be an on-going, humiliating experience. Over time, they found themselves being forced to consume their accumulated assets, reducing their families’ lifestyles drastically and destroying their longer-term financial future.

So, in the end, in all seven cases, the cost of insurance was paid  - either it was paid by way of a managed regular premium in advance, or as an unknowable, drastic and long-term cost, paid not only by the  person suffering the health event but also, more importantly, by their families.

If you’d like to review your current cover, don’t wait till we get to your review date – drop us a line and we’ll get onto it immediately.

Mike King

Prosperity PLUS

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