The Insurance Integrity Crisis: Re-establishing the Brand

by Donald Light, June 28, 2005


San Francisco, CA, USA June 28, 2005

The Insurance Integrity crisis shows no signs of subsiding. Major brokers have agreed to pay over US$1 billion in restitution, new business models and compensations systems have been launched, over twenty state and federal investigations are underway, dozens of shareholder and beneficiary suits have been filed, thousands of people have lost their jobs, and at least ten industry executives have pled guilty to criminal charges and are cooperating in ongoing investigations.

So the industry has a problem. Part of the problem is based on past behavior, and part on current perceptions. The solution must be built upon future actions and changed perceptions. As insurers and brokers turn to the task of improving perceptions and images, brand becomes critically important.

A new Celent Report, " ," examines what an insurance brand is and the state of insurance brands.

Table 1: Brands
Sector The Good In Transition The Bad
Business Johnson & Johnson Merck Enron
Government Marine Corps Homeland Security Post Office
Technology Apple HP Gateway
Airline Southwest United Northwest
Financial Services Goldman Sachs Morgan Stanley Fannie and Freddie
Insurance AFLAC Marsh AIG
Source: Celent

The report also identifies three industry responses to the integrity crisis. The first if flight, choosing to not respond. The second is fight, responding directly to the accusations, either by contesting them, or by admitting wrong doing and showing how things will be better. The third is hunker down, not addressing the specifics of the attacks, but instead pointing to the social and economic value of the insurance enterprise. The report provides examples of how insurers and brokers are pursuing each strategy.

"There are grounds for optimism that the industry can emerge from the insurance integrity crisis with a stronger brand," comments Donald Light, senior analyst in Celent痴 insurance group and author of the report. "It is clear that a flight brand strategy will not work葉oo much damage has been done, too much of that self-inflicted. Fighting might work, especially if fighters like Hank Greenberg win. Even better is a fighting brand, like Marsh, that honestly admits mistakes and credibly shows how its people will do better going forward. Best is a brand that people and businesses easily recognize as being on their side, easy and predictable to work with, and delivering value to them and society as a whole."

The 23-page report contains 2 tables and 6 figures. A table of contents is available online.

of Celent's Property/Casualty Insurance and Life/Health Insurance research services can download the report electronically by clicking on the icon to the left.  Non-members should contact for more information.

Celent is a research and advisory firm dedicated to helping financial institutions formulate comprehensive business and technology strategies. Celent publishes reports identifying trends and best practices in financial services technology and conducts consulting engagements for financial institutions looking to use technology to enhance existing business processes or launch new business strategies. With a team of internationally based analysts, Celent is uniquely positioned to offer strategic advice and market insights on a global basis. Celent is a member of the Oliver Wyman Group, which is a wholly-owned operating unit of Marsh & McLennan Companies [NYSE: MMC].

Media Contacts

North America
Michele Pace
Tel: +1 212 345 1366

Europe (London)
Chris Williams
Tel: +44 (0)782 448 3336

Asia (Tokyo)
Yumi Nagaoka
Tel.: +81 3 3500 3023

Table of Contents


San Francisco, CA, USA June 28, 2005

Return to report Abstract


Executive Summary 3
Introduction 4
What is a Brand? 5
What is a Good Insurance Brand? 6
How to Build a Brand 8
The Insurance Brand, Pre-Spitzer 9
The Sound and the Fury of Hurricane Eliot 10
Responses: Flight, Fight, and Hunker Down 11
Can This Industry be Saved? 20
Objectivity and Methodology 22

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