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Life Insurance Sales and Advertising: Scare to Sell?

In the September 5, 2011 issue of the National Underwriter, Editor in Chief Bill Coffin addresses lagging life insurance sales and advertising.  He points to Thai life insurance advertising:  “Apparently, this is how you sell life insurance in southeast Asia: by taking the old “widows and orphans” angle and talking it to its most heart-wrenching exteme.”  He goes on to state that “Most Americans are not used to this degree of hard sell.”  Clearly one reason for this is that such scare tactics are expressly prohibited by insurance advertising regulations.  Regulators don’t want American consumers to purchase life insurance based on “masterpieces of emotional engineering.”  Mr. Coffin wonders if those ads could work here.  I am pretty sure they would…. and they would likely get the producer who created them in a lot of regulatory hot water.