Product names and SME engagement

We need to talk about protection.


What was the first thing you thought of when you read that? I bet your mind didn’t leap to the rich and rewarding world of employee benefits. Awareness of our products and the clarity with which they are communicated are significant barriers to growth. As a niche area in comparison to staple benefits like pensions or private medical insurance, a secret language of “deferred periods” and “free cover limits” has evolved among its practitioners. We believe the problem runs even deeper than the technical jargon in fact – the common names used for the products and even the industry mean little to people outside our bubble and fail to resonate with potential customers. “Group risk” – it hardly has the Ronseal stamp of approval.


To investigate this, we described two products to HR decision-makers and asked them to pick from a list of names which they thought was the easiest to understand in relation to the descriptions given. Those two products were Group Life Assurance (GLA) and Group Income Protection (GIP). There was bad news for GLA – of the half a dozen or so options given, the current name placed flat last with only 8% of respondents selecting it. There was no clear-cut favourite from the alternatives unfortunately, but there was a ray of light. We asked a similar question to an unfiltered cross-section of employees, and of the options presented both groups did choose the same name as the top result. “Employee life insurance” commanded the votes of 20% of HR professionals and 37% of employees, which gives us a starting point for further research.


The picture for GIP was somewhat more positive; GIP came in second place with 17%, but was a long way behind the favourite: “long-term sickness salary”, with 28%. Again, we asked this question to a broader base of employees and, again, both groups selected the same top response. As with GLA, employees were more decisive than their HR colleagues – long-term sickness salary was supported by 43% of employees, with the next favourite languishing on 32%.


The key difference between the two methodologies was that HR professionals were asked to select the name they thought best explained the product that was described to them, while employees were asked which of the presented names they felt described the products better than the existing names, which they were provided with. Employees were given an option not to change the names, if they felt they already did the job. These were taken by only 4% for GLA and 11% for GIP – hardly ringing endorsements of the current naming conventions![1]


To really drive the point home, we took a look at what people actually search for in Google when they are interested in our products. In the time it took for 50 people to search for “group life insurance quote”, 720 people searched for “life assurance meaning” and 390 for “what is group life insurance”. For every person who wants to pursue buying what many in the industry consider the simplest of the three traditional Group Insurance products, 22 people aren’t even sure what it is.[2]


We know that when people understand what group risk products offer and the value they can add to their organisations they are typically happy to make the purchase. Our aim is to shorten your journey to understanding as much as possible, removing jargon as a barrier. We have mature propositions and many initiatives over the years have sought to bring group risk to the masses with varying degrees of success. Perhaps the time has come to direct our efforts a little closer to home.


[1] Canada Life Product Clarity research, Q4 2017

[2] Google AdWords search data accessed 23/10/2018