Intern Student shocked concerning the facts behind travel insurance

by Paul Godin

In the summer vacation, in between the 3rd and 4th year of my honours marketing degree, I was afforded the chance to work in the marketing department of a major insurance corporation.

This was a summer internship to provide me with handy work experience and the chance to put marketing theory into action.

Upon my first day induction I was told that I might be working on the promotion of an insurance policy. I would review the complete marketing package.

I would be reviewing the pricing method, the product itself, the communication strategy and the sales channels the cover was distributed.

On the 1st morning I had a meeting with the marketing director who gave me an outline of the marketing and sales performance of the product, where it was in the marketing and what the aspiration of the product were.

Next I met up with the senior marketing manager who briefed me on the finer details of the policy. I got given all the marketing documentation and has 6 weeks to study the policy and come back with a favored strategy.

I went about spending the following 2 weeks chatting with the tele-marketing team who promoted the policy. I listened in on sales call they received. I visited their retail branches. I reviewed in the in-store communication and had a meeting with customer facing staff who sold this policy along with competing plans.

Then I had a week vacation off and actually got a student travel insurance from the company.

Upon my return from holiday, I set about pitching my recommendations. This work took another couple of weeks. I rebounded concepts and ideas off the senior marketing executive and then I was ready to present.

Frightened as hell, I presented during my final internship week. I received positive criticism and I was generally of the same train of thought as the senior marketing people.

There was one serious issue that policy holders had with the insurance policy that was constraining sales. But the insurance company skirted round the issue in their legal terms and conditions.

At lunch, I walked past the CEO of the company who asserted he enjoyed my presentation. He said he was pleased I was able to fall upon the issue with the terms and conditions. Then told me that there was no need to worry, as his firm would never pay compensation on the policy.

This startled me. Actually it left such a bad taste in my mouth I vowed never to work in insurance marketing.

I've always been suspicious about the whole industry yet happy I had this lesson so early in my early career as it led me on a trail that allows me sleep after dark.

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