Life Insurance Awareness Month Gets Its Own Apprentice

By

Washington

Amid the new lineups of TV shows and pennant races taking place in September, the life insurance industry is hoping to attract some of Americas attention. September has been designated as Life Insurance Awareness Month, and the industry, through the coordination of the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE), will be promoting the financial security that life insurance can provide through an ad campaign in print and on the radio.

“This is a big deal,” said David Woods, president of LIFE and CEO of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors. The LIFE awareness effort will include a $2.5 million print and radio campaign, a month-long series of radio announcements providing listeners with information about different aspects of the industry and its products, an 8-page special section in Newsweek, Web promotions and community-based seminars.

LIFE is acting behind the scenes to set up the campaign, and actual spots will start appearing Sept. 1. “Thats when the consumer will start to see them,” Woods said.

What the consumers will see, and hear, is Kwame Jackson, who was the runner-up in the reality series “The Apprentice.” Although Jackson placed second in the competition on the program, Woods noted that he apparently has become more popular than the contestant who did win a job working for Donald Trump.

“Were very excited about him,” Woods said of Jackson. “Hes got his own real-life story.”

Jacksons mother passed away when he was in his teens, and the proceeds from her life insurance were used to fund his college education.

“He feels very, very passionately about it,” Woods said.

Jacksons experience with life insurance was a key factor in the decision to bring him on as a spokesperson, according to Woods.

“We were looking for someone who would be a credible spokesperson for the industry,” he said. “They had to have a personal story.”

In addition to providing that credibility and a well-known face, Woods said Jackson also would provide an appeal to LIFEs target demographic, young people. LIFE also had considered former “Dynasty” star Linda Evans as a spokesperson, Woods said, but went with Jackson specifically to reach that target audience.

Jacksons pre-”Apprentice” professional background, as an investment manager at Goldman Sachs, also made him an attractive candidate for the industry as someone who could speak professionally as well as personally on the issue, Woods noted.

LIFE is coordinating the main ad campaign for Life Insurance Awareness Month, but Woods said that other companies have undertaken their own awareness efforts. “You wouldnt believe what some of these companies are doing,” he said, adding that “some of the major names that everybody knows” are funding their own ads.

Although LIAM is only a little over 2 weeks away, Woods said LIFE is still seeking to bring more companies and associationsin addition to the 70 already lending their supportinto the joint effort. Those interested in joining the campaign, he said, can contact Jon Dressner at LIFE.


Reproduced from National Underwriter Edition, August 12, 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.