Insurance providers and advisers need to learn from the master of parables, Jesus Christ, in order to tell simple and engaging stories, Pete Matthew has said.
The financial adviser and founder of Meaningful Money told a packed room at the Protection Review conference this morning (12 July) that if more people were to get the income protection and critical illness cover they needed, then the industry had to be better at telling the story.
Mr Matthew said: "Stories affect us. Telling a story can put a dry subject in such a way that people are moved by it.
"Jesus Christ was the best story teller. He told stories, parables, to get his message across simply and I can't think of any sphere of finance where the story is more important than the sphere of protection.
"A story can be powerful in the hands of a good evangelist."
He told delegates at London's Landmark Hotel: "What does it take to get out the good news, to spread the gospel of protection to more people?"
He explained that advisers and providers alike needed to be genuine and clear in their communications. "Language should not be a barrier but a carrier of the message," he said.
"It's all about the content, not preaching at people," he added. "Online, insincerity stands out a mile, so don't be inauthentic in your story-telling. Authentic passion is incredibly powerful. Passion for the subject is always compelling."
According to Mr Matthew, providers and intermediaries alike should consider a three-step pathway to selling the insurance story: educating, entertaining and then inspiring people to take action.
While advocating the use of different platforms, such as Instagram, podcasts, YouTube and Twitter, Mr Matthew was adamant that each platform had its own language and advised delegates to learn how to best tell stories in different ways across these different media.
Speaking at a panel session later on during the debate, Andy Watts, vice-president of insurance platform provider and software solutions company Liss EXL, said the "technology is already here" that would enable people to access and engage with insurance better.
He explained: "It requires providers and distributors to use it in a particular way. Everything we need is already available to us - we just need to be more adventurous in how we provide products and services through technology."
He said this would be increasingly important when it came to the direct-to-consumer market but warned against simply jumping on a technological bandwagon to push products to a younger generation of potential customers.
Mr Watts said: "Back in the 1990s, a lot of providers simply assumed the answer to the growth of the internet meant putting all their products online.
"This might have been the first answer but this wasn't the right answer because the wrong products were promoted and there were lengthy terms and conditions and no simple way of engaging people.