For years I have been saying that the insurance industry is to excitement what paint drying is to entertainment–and few have argued with me. Yet, every once in a while, something happens that just blows the covers off our sleepy little fiefdom and reveals a more visceral underbelly.
Not too long ago, I attended a special event during an insurance technology conference that was hosted off-site by a large software company. There was plenty of food and drink for the 75 or so guests–some of whom had brought their spouses. A live blues band was also part of the festivities, but much to the surprise of many there, the band was only one part of the entertainment.
At one point, the band leader ceremoniously introduced a young lady who might have been a vocalist but instead chose to do an interesting modern dance to a suspiciously thudding beat. Her gyrations basically consisted of systematically discarding items of clothing. First, it was just her eyeglasses, then a hair clip, then a few strategically placed scarves–not to mention her dress. Holy g-string, Batman! It didn’t take long for even this straight-laced insurance crowd to figure out that she was, in fact, an exotic dancer, a stripper or what my teenage kids would call “a hoochie.”
Jaws dropped, people smiled nervously and red-faced executives pleadingly explained to their chagrined wives that this was not what they always did when they went away to professional conferences. Confusion and embarrassment reigned supreme. Ever the cynic, I was thinking that there must be a marketing angle for the software maker here–maybe a new slogan like: “Stripping Away the Hype from Insurance Software” or “Goosebumps and Gigabytes” or even “We’ll Give Your Business a Bump and Save You from the Grind.”
The skinny on this little burlesque was far less interesting, however. It seems the software company (I haven’t named you, but you know who you are) hired the band through the club, never dreaming that part of the entertainment would include an impromptu performance of scenes from “Showgirls.” The company representatives were suitably embarrassed and apologetic (although not publicly) and, in truth, most of us probably can understand how something like that could happen.