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Flirting With The Uninterested: Innovating In A

Flirting With The Uninterested: Innovating In A "Sold, Not Bought" Category

by Maria Ferrante-Schepis, G. Michael Maddock

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Does anyone else smell shift?
Do you sense that the insurance industry isheaded for an upheaval? Do you suspect that there is some brilliant, forward-thinking entrepreneur in a garage somewhere about to reinvent the game? Do you find it hard to make your case for leading change, while everyone else is still talking the same way, doing the same things, and


Does anyone else smell shift?
Do you sense that the insurance industry isheaded for an upheaval? Do you suspect that there is some brilliant, forward-thinking entrepreneur in a garage somewhere about to reinvent the game? Do you find it hard to make your case for leading change, while everyone else is still talking the same way, doing the same things, and getting the same results?
More important, when you raise the issue, do those around you look at you like you are crazy? Do they tell you that this category is different because the product is “sold, not bought”?
You are not crazy. The industry IS ripe for reinvention, and the sold, not bought paradigm is ready for a shift.
The question is, how can YOU lead the shift versus having someone outside the industry do it, AND have the organizational support you need along the way.
It is a tall order, but a necessary one. Flirting with the Uninterested, is our contribution to help leaders like you begin the journey to innovating in a “sold, not bought” category.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
If you're not an insurance professional, then this book describing the industry's challenges and proposals to deal with them is probably not for you. Still, Ferrante-Schepis and Maddock make good use of the sold versus bought dichotomy and label insurance products—auto insurance, life insurance, disability insurance—as items consumers must be persuaded to buy, rather than things they actively seek out on their own. The authors ably describe challenges facing the industry, but contradict themselves on occasion, making for some unnecessary confusion, e.g., stating that many people "couldn't care less" about insurance, and that most "agree that" it's important. The basic message—that the industry must evolve and anticipate radical change to stay alive, and that thinking outside the box will help achieve this aim—may appeal to industry insiders, but could have been conveyed more effectively and concisely.
Kirkus Reviews
Ferrante-Schepis and Maddock's provocatively titled debut looks at the need for innovation in the deeply conservative insurance industry. Insurance, as the authors put it, is a product "sold, not bought." It's not something people want, it's something they grudgingly buy after a major life change or when a sales agent pitches them hard enough. Worse, the people who really want insurance are precisely the ones to whom the insurance companies don't want to sell. The first part of this book explains how the insurance industry has gotten itself into this situation, while the rest of the book describes how it can dig itself out. Part 2 explores ways the industry can begin to entice consumers rather than having to hunt new customers down. Part 3 explores the use of language, transparency and social dynamics in connecting to potential customers, especially Gen Y customers, while Part 4 lays out a road map for creating and nurturing innovation. Finally, Part 5 toys with some ways that cultural icons, such as Mark Zuckerberg, American Express and the Occupy Wall Street movement could take over the insurance industry. Insurance executives have a well-earned reputation for being traditional and rules-oriented, which doesn't exactly make them inclined toward major innovation. Yet, this book predicts that, eventually, some bright spark will come up with a new way of meeting today's insurance needs--and the old-model insurance industry will go the way of the dodo. The authors make a compelling argument for the need for innovation and tell how to go about it, sprinkling the book with what-if scenarios designed to get the reader thinking. The suggestion of an innovation portfolio to diversify the associated risks is a particularly clever idea that will appeal to those counting the costs of creative thinking. A strong case for innovation, with supporting methodology that will appeal to executives in the risk-averse, regulation-bound industry.

Product Details

Advantage Media Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 - 10 Years

Meet the Author

Maria Ferrante-Schepis (formerly Umbach) is Managing Principal of Insurance and Financial Services at Maddock Douglas, Inc., an agency of innovation focused on helping large brands bring new ideas to market.
After more than 20 years as an executive in the insurance and financial services industry, Maria joined the Maddock Douglas team to focus on the opportunities for innovation in the insurance and financial services industries, recognizing the significant public and government demand for change. Her mission is to enable like-minded executives to shape the future of their companies, instead of having it shaped for them.
Prior to joining Maddock Douglas, Maria was Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Guardian, a New York-based Fortune 300 company specializing in insurance and investments. Before that she was Vice President of Marketing at Prudential, where she led a large team dedicated to the support and communication about the importance of risk protection products. She was also spokesperson for the company’s studies in behavioral finance and retirement issues.
Maria holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Marketing and a Master of Business Administration in Management from Hofstra University.
A dynamic speaker, often incorporating her talents as a trained musician and comedian into her talks, Maria has been a keynote speaker at a variety of industry conferences and public forums, including LIMRA International, MDRT, GAMA International, NAVA, The American College and a variety of consumer conferences on financial empowerment. She has published numerous articles on the insurance industry in magazines such as Life Insurance Selling and AM Best’s Review, and has a blog on Maddock Douglas’ Innovation Engine Community at www.soldnotbought.com. Maria can be reached at maria.fs@maddockdouglas.com.

Mike is an entrepreneur, an inventor, a writer and a keynote speaker.
Mike calls himself an Idea Monkey because he loves to solve problems with disruptive ideas. This passion for problem solving led him to establish Maddock Douglas, Inc., in 1991. Maddock Douglas has become an internationally recognized innovation agency that helps leading corporations invent and launch new products, services and business models. It is the perfect place for Idea Monkeys and the (Ring)leaders who keep them on track.
Entrepreneurship is a big part of Mike’s life. As an adult (we really don’t need to talk about the lawn care business and greeting card company he started in college), Mike has launched four successful businesses. He also cochairs the Gathering of Titans Entrepreneurial Conclave at MIT, he is past president of Entrepreneurs’ Organization and current  Chapter Chair of Young Presidents’ Organization, both chapters located in Chicago.
A doodler, turned cartoonist, turned author, Mike has been using words and pictures to get laughs and build ideas his entire life. Today, Mike is a columnist for Forbes and author of Free the Idea Monkey…to focus on what matters most! and Brand New: Solving the Innovation Paradox.
Mike is a frequent keynote speaker and has a passion for inspiring and empowering innovation leaders by helping them build the types of culture and processes that lead to new product success.

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