He Can’t Even Bait a Hook: Avoiding Bait and Switch Tactics When Buying Insurance

Justin Moore’s country song, “Bait a Hook”, was one of my favorites to play on the jukebox at my local pub. Mind you, I can’t bait a hook or skin a buck, either. That didn’t matter. I loved the song and enjoyed making fun of the city boy trying to get with the country guy’s ex-girlfriend. It’s a catchy tune.

You know what else is catchy? Online instant quotes from life insurance brokers.

One problem. A lot of what you find on the Internet can be described as marketing strategies that border on “bait and switch”. Which means you as a consumer lose. Or worse, you become disillusioned with insurance in general and see it as a scam to take your money.

Let’s discuss bait and switch.

Bait and Switch strategies are considered fraudulent and are illegal in many cases. A company creates an advertisement to get folks in the door. When folks ask for the product or service in question, the company makes it nearly impossible to get that product, and instead sells the consumer a different (and normally higher-priced) alternative.

It’s not an illegal or fraudulent move if the company is very specific and clear about the limitations of “the bait”.

Example: First ten customers in the door get 90% off new grills and smokers!

The company is clear about how many customers get the deal. The first ten customers actually get 90% off grills and smokers. There are at least ten new grills or smokers in the store for customers to buy.

Not exactly clean, but not fraudulent and not bait and switch.

Example of Bait and Switch: 90% off new grills and smokers!

Customers rush to store. There are no new grills and smokers. There never were new grills and smokers.

“Sorry, we’re all out. Can I interest you in a new refrigerator? Or this lightly-used smoker at full price?”

In my opinion, both examples are incredibly sleazy. In the words of Bubbles from the hit show, Trailer Park Boys, “Greeeeaasy.”

Bubbles would not approve

Insurance is one of the most necessary items a family can have for its security and peace of mind. Why do folks try to use greasy tactics?

Easy. There’s a lot of competition. And in the crowded digital space on the Internet, the loudest, cheapest, and greasiest voices are normally what gets clicks.

Here’s how the borderline bait and switch methods are utilized to sell insurance. Folks put “free life insurance quotes” or “cheap life insurance” or even simply, “life insurance” in the search bar.

You see loud results at the top of the list. COMPARE LIFE INSURANCE OFFERS! CLICK HERE! FREE QUOTES!

And my favorite, “$500,000 in term life insurance for $10.00/month!” (note: ridiculous levels and prices are entirely made-up off the top of my head).

If you’ve even looked at one life insurance quote, you know that’s a good price. So you click on it.

You enter all of your information. You get to the end of their little robot quote generator and you are instructed to provide your contact information to make an appointment with a licensed agent. You make the appointment with the licensed agent, still thinking it’s worth it because you’re going to get $500,000 for ten bucks a month.

You get to the appointment, in-person or on the phone. You spend another 20-30 minutes discussing all your details. And you find out that for you, the cost of that policy is $49.71/month. The agent explains that you didn’t meet the criteria in the advertised quote, and recommends you buy $100,000 in coverage for $17.88/month. You’ve come this far, so you accept it. It’s still a good deal, right?

That online quote was likely for a 21-year-old, super-preferred applicant in pristine physical condition. With a mandatory physical exam, bloodwork, and urinalysis to prove that he’s in pristine physical condition. If you read the quote carefully, you’d see that. You’d also see that it’s for just a 10-year term. So yeah, it’s a pretty safe bet for the insurance company to offer a 21-year-old a $500,000, 10-year policy. It’s very likely that this marathon-running, vegan, ex-MLB pitching prospect whose only malady is a bum shoulder will live to see his 31st birthday. Thus, the insurance company made $1,200. And they’ll probably get him to buy a new, more expensive term policy when it’s time to renew.

And they sold you a more expensive policy when you clicked on that link. Along with thousands of others just like you.

Greeeeeeeassssssy.

I hate all of that. I don’t care if it’s legal. It’s bad business.

When I write you a quote, I’ll explain each of the details to you. I’ll tell you which policies require physicals and/or labs, and which don’t. I’ll tell you the exact pricing guidelines and provide you some recommendations based on what you’re looking for. Your policy will be the right one for you, instead of the one my boss told me to sell to hit my monthly bonus. I don’t have a boss. I’m an independent agent. I work for you.

I won’t be at the top of the Google search results. But I should be at the top of your search for good insurance.

As a former teacher, I’ll make each of the policy details easy to understand. I’ll give you the information you need to make an informed decision that’s the right one for your family. As a former teacher, I also despise high-pressure sales tactics. I’m not going to harass you or push you into making a decision on the spot. Most importantly, when you need to use that policy, in life’s darkest times, you won’t have to call the robotic menu of your insurance company. You’ll call me. I’ll pick up the phone and walk with you down that dark road. Furthermore, if you’ve received a quote from asking the Internet, I’ll let you know if it’s a good idea. Free of charge. You let me know what the Internet said. I’ll show you options from the eight carriers I work with as an independent agent. You can see if it’s the right move for you.

That’s the Lurz Insurance way of doing business. It’s not flashy. But in my opinion, it’s the right way to sell insurance.

If you’re looking for life, supplemental health, disability, or long-term care insurance, give me a call or email and I’ll walk you through your options. No bait. No hooks. No games.

Rudolph Lurz is a former teacher and football coach with over a decade of experience in education and a doctorate in Administrative & Policy Studies. His insurance firm offers options from numerous national carriers such as AFLAC, AIG, Americo, Mutual of Omaha, John Hancock, Foresters, Prosperity Life and Athene Annuities. He is licensed and insured in Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Florida (and can provide referrals for customers in other states). He lives in Roanoke, VA with his wife, daughter, and cat.

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