Consumers are at risk of falling prey to opportunistic lead generators as the Covid-19 pandemic spreads, an expert has warned.
Dan Thut, operations director of insurance advertising firm Rocketer, said the ongoing coronavirus pandemic had caused nervousness among life insurers about brand reputation but warned that good, trustworthy insurance firms needed to be seen to be supporting customers at this time.
This was all the more important, he said, because fraudulent companies have been using this time to prey on scared and vulnerable people, using social media platforms to promote their "misleading ads".
Rocketer is a premium Facebook marketing partner, which works with reputable insurers to build brand awareness and generate insurance policies through the platform.
As advertising costs have dropped on Facebook, which Mr Thut ascribes to Covid-19, global traffic became "23 per cent cheaper overnight from March 14", he said.
"High-spending advertisers from travel, entertainment and retail reduced their budgets [as people entered lockdown] and left space for those who remain. At the same time, consumers are spending more time at home, browsing Facebook.
"But cheaper media is not always good news. A combination of consumers’ new sense of need for insurance, and cheaper media costs, explains why we’re seeing an increase in opportunistic lead generators selling on fear and showing misleading ads that may be exploiting vulnerable consumers."
Mr Thut said while it was understandable that many decent life insurers were stepping back from social media, now was actually the time to step forward, be present, and show support, albeit in the right way.
Indeed, he said good insurance products were what people have been looking for. According to research carried out by consultancy Kantar, 65 per cent of consumers are looking for insurers to provide safety and security in these changing times.
Some 60 per cent of the adults surveyed said they felt the situation demanded a more proactive response from them about financial planning and security for their future.
They said their expectations of what insurers could - and should - do amid this pandemic had risen, with more saying they were seeking "trusted brands" to provide support.
Mr Thut added: "Thankfully there is good news for trusted insurance advertisers who hold firm and modify their message to take into account the current reality consumers are facing.
"Since March 14, quote-to-sale conversion rates for term life insurance have increased by 20 per cent. This tells us that the increased Facebook traffic is converting to policy well, meaning that there is high intent, and indeed, need from consumers.
"We know that 60 per cent of consumers feel the Covid-19 situation demands they become more proactive about personal financial planning in the future, and our data shows a heightened propensity to purchase cover right now, which will only increase once the acute situation settles."
But he said any messages had to be given the "right way", rather than be about standard direct response, or stock brand messaging.