This agent bashing advertisement by the UnionBank of the Philippines caused a stir in the insurance community in the Philippines. And rightly so. Such distasteful advertisements have to stop.
Many insurance agents and financial advisers have been offended by the advertisement and have been making their thoughts known on social media.
In case you have not seen the ad before, this is what is upsetting the insurance community.
(Screenshot UnionBank of the Philippines Facebook advertisement)
The Life Underwriters Association of the Philippines (LUAP) has issued a statement on this:
“One of the most uncomfortable purchases one will make in their lifetime is the purchase of a life insurance policy. Rarely will you find a person who’ll actively seek to buy an insurance plan. Insurance Professionals thus have the difficult task to be the one to start the uncomfortable conversation that no one wants to talk about but needs to.
Some may find it unappealing to talk to Insurance Professionals at first because we ask the disturbing questions. These questions include determining whether your family will eat 3 full meals a day or just 2, whether your kids will go to school or not or even questions that will determine if you will get the best treatment available or just lie in bed and wait.
While we welcome advancements in technology to provide efficiencies in transactions and applaud companies who banner digitalization for this industry, LUAP is saddened and strongly object to the poor marketing strategy of putting honest and hardworking Insurance Professionals down for the promotion of another’s product. This marketing strategy is not just discriminatory but also derogatory to sincere Insurance Professionals.
Let us all work hand in hand in spreading the value of life insurance to all Filipinos.”
***** Update *****
Kudos to UnionBank's Chief Customer Experience Officer for responding to LUAP and the prompt actions taken.
"On behalf of UnionBank, we apologize to you and to fellow agents for the ad we posted. It was not our intention to undermine the efforts of financial agents nor the profession of selling insurance. We took the ad down immediately last night. We respect you and your contribution to the industry. Once again, we offer our sincere apologies to any inconvenience it caused."
LUAP has also graciously accepted the apology.
"We have received the formal letter sent by Union Bank apologizing to all Insurance Professionals for the ad released on March 7, 2020. They have personally reached out to our National President, Mr. Willison Yu, through a phone call to express their regrets for the incident as well.
We graciously accept their sincere apologies on behalf of the Life Underwriters Association of the Philippines Board, its members and the Insurance Professionals.
Let us all continue to work together with mutual respect to secure more Filipino families through the power of life insurance."
"... and they'll become as docile as a puppy"
This reminds me of a similar incident we carried last year when "... and they'll become docile as a puppy" was used to describe and bash insurance agents.
My thoughts then are still worth repeating here
Don’t make insurance agents and financial advisers “the enemy” given the wide protection gaps in society.
There are many professional agents and advisers who are out there doing their utmost best in helping society narrow the protection gap and plan for their desired financial goals.
Don’t write off all financial representatives because of some bad apples in the industry. Which industry doesn’t have any?
Here are the good apples
Do you need examples of “good apples”? Check out the winners of Asia Trusted Life Agents & Advisers Awards - the Awards with an independently-audited judging process with some 30 judges on the judging panel made up of CEOs, senior executives, association heads and industry experts. There is plenty for you to choose from.
Susanna Chan, winner of Inspirational Leader of the Year 2019, advocate and top contributor to the LifeCare Movement, a campaign targeted at helping the underprivileged by having clients donate part of their policy claims to a charitable organisation of their choice.
Amy Wat, winner of Insurance Agent of the Year 2018, at the time of her win a 100% policy persistency rate over the prior five years. And over the prior eight years, the only year in which she fell short of her high standards was when her persistency rate was 99.88%.
Isabelle Oh, winner of Financial Adviser of the Year 2019, who despite her success, continues to live a simple and contented lifestyle as a living example to educate her clients on financial planning.
Agnes Ng, winner of Rookie Insurance Agency Leader of the Year 2018, who grooms a team of high-quality professionals with an emphasis on quality advice. At the time of her win, she has a personal persistency rate of 100% in the prior year and a group persistency rate of 99% for her team.
Many more. Beyond the Awards, I’m sure there are many other passionate and professional agents and advisers out there.
Partners, not adversaries
So how do we move forward?
- Partner the insurance industry, especially agents and advisers
These are the people who are out there talking to people and reaching those that most financial education programmes will not be able to reach.
Provide them with more resources and materials, and professional advisers will gladly help to educate and bring the message to the wider community.
- Don’t demonise agents and advisers
Those who are reading online and researching, these people are usually the “converted”. They are likely to have the motivation, drive, time or ability, to educate themselves and to make sound decisions.
That’s wonderful. But not everyone can or has the ability to do so.
By demonising professionals who are able to help them, you plant fear in them to get started and, worse still, lead them to make the wrong decisions when they are not equipped to make sense of things.
- The insurance community must expect more
The insurance community of agents and advisers must expect more of themselves and peers as well.
Continuous education, professionalise and always do the right things. Agents and advisers must be more knowledgeable to continue to add value to a client’s financial journey.
For those who fall afoul of the rules and regulations, they should be rightly penalised.
- Stand up and be counted
The Asia Trusted Life Agents & Advisers Awards and Asia Advisers Network were created to shine the spotlight on the good that professional agents and advisers do.
Be part of the community to share ideas, and also showcase to the general public the good that fellow practitioners do in the region.
Have a story to share? Have an idea that will benefit the industry? Have a testimonial from a client to share? Reach out to #TeamAAN Email: Connect@AsiaAdvisersNetwork.com
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Together, we can do more for the industry. And ultimately, serve society better in narrowing the protection and savings gaps.
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