Canadian Underwriter

IBAC prepares for advertising war

July 1, 1999   by Canadian Underwriter

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The Insurance Brokers Association of Canada (IBAC) has set in motion plans to return a major salvo against direct writers in the consumer advertising war during this year.

At IBAC’s recently held broker-based company CEO symposium, through which the association provides annual feedback to supporting insurers of its market strategy, president Mike Toole announced the appointment of a new advertising agency — Gee, Jeffery & Partners Advertising Inc. — and sketched an outline of increasing independent broker awareness across the country through mainstream advertising.

In addition to the advertising campaign announcement, Toole told company CEOs that the time had come to overhaul the association’s strategic plan. This involves three major initiatives, he notes, that being national advertising, public affairs and personal development. In addition, the IBAC management team have decided to move the association’s head-office to Ottawa.

While political lobbying for the independent broker cause will continue to hold a central position on the association’s agenda, other areas such community initiatives and advertising will be significantly boosted this year, he says. Key to IBAC’s community project is its recently created “National Disaster Program” comprising preparation kits made available to members. “When a disaster strikes brokers play a significant role ensuring homes and businesses return to normal…the floods that occurred in Manitoba and Quebec, and last year’s ice storm, indicated that our member brokers needed information and a plan to enable them to maintain and protect their offices.”

On the advertising/consumer front, Toole says one of the more significant issues of the change the insurance industry is undergoing is the rise in consumerism. “Consumers are demanding quick, efficient service for the best possible price — not necessarily the cheapest, but certainly a competitive price.”

Against this consumerism backdrop, and rise in advertising by direct writers, the time has come to put weight behind the bipper in a national branding campaign, Toole says. “The insurance advertising world has changed quickly and become intensively competitive and cluttered…We have lost our advertising leadership position and this is simply not acceptable…Now is the time to build the bipper,” he adds.

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