Queues and sales pitch

I stood in line at the post office for my turn to mail out my parcel. I was early and so there wasn’t much of a line. It used to be that you have to book your own time in order to go to the post office because you’d never know how long the line there is.

A lady approached me; not too tall and probably in her early-forties. She asked if she could ask me a few questions – primarily about myself. I answered in non-specific vague terms but enough for her to make some flattering remarks about me and then asked me if I know about changes around the national health insurance policies that will commence 1 April 2021.

Sounds like an insurance person trying to pitch; she needed more information such as whether I had a private insurer already, which level of plans I was on and so on. It was my turn so I happily went to the counter to settle my parcel. And when I turned back, she approached me to try and continue our conversation. I thanked her for alerting me to the changes and shared that I’d like to read up myself first before talking about it for the day, then left.

I was in a hurry then but I wonder if it made sense for people to be pitching to those in line for products as complex as insurance. Maybe it makes sense for others – for sure, it saves a bit of time and people might feel like they are learning something (which is probably true). But I cannot help thinking that people might also feel a bit uncomfortable, somewhat cornered, as thought their time is held hostage. It reminded me of those high-pressure sales places that tour groups have to go through as part of the ‘compulsory itinerary’.

The old distribution methods of insurance is broken and I can see that it is slowly being disrupted as people start to look to apps they trust as platforms to possibly take up insurance coverage. This is going to be powerful because the distribution cost of insurance tends to be quite high going through the traditional channels. There are probably customers in the economy still reachable only by the traditional means but they are fast shrinking. Insurance companies needs to think how they can do better.