Two hundred million people are required to buy either auto or home insurance, or both. Nevertheless, there’s no insurance transparency. How’s that possible? It’s a travesty.
This post is a personal story about a situation where I was offered to sell out on my mission for insurance transparency in exchange for money. I passed on the opportunity. Now I want to pass the story along to you, ValChoice followers.
I want to share the story with you is because you deserve to know. The lesson to be learned is, always be skeptical. Understand who is getting paid and from whom the money is coming. Only when you can follow the money do you know who you can trust.
Setting the Scene
At ValChoice, we’ve spent the years building a sophisticated analytics engine that delivers the insurance transparency consumers deserve. The function of the analytics engine is to enable consumers to know which insurance companies will stand behind them in a time of need.
Right now you’re probably thinking, “the government requires me to buy insurance, shouldn’t they provide transparency into how the companies operate?” Yes, you hit the nail on the head. This service should be provided, but it isn’t. ValChoice has stepped in to fill this important gap.
Next Step: How to Market Insurance Transparency
Many insurance companies are masters of affiliate marketing. Therefore, we thought maybe there’s an opportunity to incorporate affiliate marketing into the companies strategy. This was easy enough to checkout. We found a conference on affiliate marketing and signed up.
The Conclusion of the Conference
Like most conferences, the energy was high and optimism prevailed. Numerous knowledgeable people made comments about how insurance is a very lucrative market for affiliate programs. It seemed as if aligning with the right partners had potential for getting the ValChoice transparency message in front of the public.
Following the conference I had several follow-up calls to discuss opportunities to work together. Most of my contacts quickly realized there was no opportunity to work with ValChoice. One contact was thoughtful enough to share what the others were thinking, but not saying.
The following is a paraphrased conversation that was both disappointing and shocking.
Potential Partner: Company Xxx will pay up to $65 when you get them a lead that stays on the phone with their agent for three minutes.
Me: I can’t get them any leads. Our data analytics grades Company Xxx horribly.
Potential Partner: You need to change your system to make company Xxx score better. You can make nearly $100,000 per month, just from Company Xxx. There are several other companies that will also pay that much if you show them as also being a good provider.
Me: I can’t do that. My mission is to help consumers get real information.
…After a long silence, the person on the other end of the phone finally responded.
Potential Partner: I commend you for your integrity, but I don’t see an opportunity for us to work together.
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. This is what people expect from a company with a mission to deliver transparency?
For me, this was a bit like reliving the nightmare of insurance companies refusing to pay my medical bills. From my perspective, there needs to be a moral compass in American business that prevents companies from engaging in misleading behavior. I guess I live in an idealistic world.
The Lesson for ValChoice
We passed on working with the online marketing company that could have made us a lot of money. We did not, and will not, change our grading system to make more money. Instead, we will maintain our moral compass and fulfill our mission to help consumers.
For the Consumer
Don’t believe anything you hear from marketing or advertisements. Check where the money comes from and the conditions for how the money gets paid. Only then can you make an assessment of who you can trust. If a company doesn’t provide transparency on how they get paid, don’t believe anything they say.
Also, get a free report on your auto and home insurance companies. If they don’t score well, change companies. If they do score well, tell a friend.
Note: ValChoice does not receive any form of compensation from insurance companies for presenting them as a good option in our car and home insurance reports.