Well, September is right around the corner, which means…back to school, end of summer, the new fall season on TV.

If you answered any or all of the above, youre right, of course, but that was not the answer the industry was hoping you would give. The correct (industry) answer is that September isLife Insurance Awareness Month.

If that answer was not top of mind, you can be forgiven because the advance buildup to the month-long promotion has not exactly been deafening. In fact, for something the business considers so important, the only expression I can think of that does justice to the industrys reticence so far is that it has been hiding its light under a bushel.

Now, Im sure that all sorts of good things have been going on to promote at the local level. And weve heard snippets of planned ad campaigns by groups and individual companies. But it has been remarkably low-key.

Its time to wake up, folks. This is America 2004 and people dont become aware of anything unless theyre hit over the head with the marketing equivalent of a 2×4. You have to prepare them to the fact that theyre going to have to be aware of life insurance during the month of September. Otherwise it will be just one more thing.

There is just too much going on all the time, too much noise, too many choices, too many channels, too much and too many of nearly everything. In order to home in on what is really important most people depend on someone or something to tell them, You must pay attention to this.

Just look at anything in popular culture. The last episode of Friends? You were almost sick of it before it aired because of NBCs incessant and increasingly gauzy promos. But we watched in droves anyway. And yes, thank goodness, Ross and Rachel finally got together. And yes, there is a void in many lives now, so I guess NBC was right after all.

Advance promotion for movies or new albums run increasingly true to this form. They tantalize and they tell people this is the one they cant afford to miss.

Now, the odds are long that life insurance is going to generate the same amount of anticipation as Spider-Man 2. But with the low decibel level at which the promotion has been playing thus far for Life Insurance Awareness Month (known affectionately by its acronym, LIAM) it will be a wonder if very many more people are more aware of the topic on Sept. 30 than they were on Aug. 31.

We here at National Underwriter have been strong supporters of the promotion since the get-go. As I announced in my column on June 14, we are sponsoring a contest. Heres what I wrote:

“We want you to tell usin a 600-word essayWhat Life Insurance Has Meant To My Clients.

Send your entry to contest@nationalunderwriter.com. The deadline for entries is Aug. 18.

After our panel of judges reviews the entries, we will pick the top 3 essays for publication in the Sept. 20 issue of National Underwriter, complete with pictures and bios of the authors.

In addition, National Underwriter will make a donation of $1,000 to the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) on behalf of the writer of the essay that we judge best conveys the spirit of the topic.”

We have gotten some wonderful responses to this question and have been touched by the essays. But there have to be many more producers out there that have a powerful experience to share.

So, send in your entries. Time is running short.

Time is also running short (and fast) until September begins. Lets start to hear some drumrolls telling people to get ready to be aware.

Steve Piontek

Editor-in-Chief


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, August 5, 2004. Copyright 2004 by The National Underwriter Company in the serial publication. All rights reserved.Copyright in this article as an independent work may be held by the author.