Chola Insurance lures Indian middle class

Insurance companies are heavily into advertising these days. A new name that comes to mind is that of Chola General Insurance and its new TVC that is been aired on various television channels.

The middle class Indian family man has always tried to have a lasting relationship with his money. If there's money in his hand, he's quite unwilling to part with it. And while manufacturers and service providers fight an eternal battle trying to get him to part with it, insurance companies fight an easier battle. Life Insurance Companies, that is. They're telling him he's not really parting with his sweat-stained money but merely setting it aside for a while, letting it grow, and he can be sure he's going to get back more than what he put into it soon enough. If that wasn't good enough, they're also tell struggling Mr Indian Middleclass Man that he can reap tax benefits as well and use that extra money to inch his way closer to the so far elusive Upper Class.

So today, as our Mr Indian Middleclass Man signs the dotted line on his policy he knows he isn't just insuring his life? he's also investing (a hitherto unused word in his dictionary).

Into this happy picture walks a General Insurance Company, telling him to take his insurance planning a step further and take out a policy or two (home insurance, health insurance, personal accident insurance, etc). But Mr Indian Middleclass Man refuses to budge. Our modern day Atlas has other weights on his struggling shoulders - financial, emotional and social responsibilities and commitments that step aside for General Insurance. He'd rather put his money into 'real' problems - a child's education, escalating expenses, saving for the future and a whole host of other responsibilities. Responsibilities that feature way above general insurance in his priority list, refusing to let him part with money that would insure a not-so-probable eventuality. And that's precisely the way he views general insurance - money set aside if a crisis hits. IF. 'If' because he may never need to make a claim ever - his appliances may never be affected by lightning, he might never have a personal accident, his son might never have his bicycle stolen, his wife's jewellery may never get stolen? today's needs are far more pressing to him than tomorrow's 'if's!

In addition to inconsequential 'if's, he also has a limited knowledge of how insurance companies work and carries the typical middleclass mistrust of private companies ("they are here to make money"). He also carries a general mistrust that claims may or may not be met, there might be a lot of litigation involved, elaborate paperwork and complex procedures?he thinks an insurance company is a maze he'll never get out of.

In short, his finely honed middleclass sensibility tells him general insurance is invisible money (no returns whatsoever) compared to life insurance, which is visible money (thanks to endowment and of course, the absolute fact of his mortality).

"So while research us face to face with all this financial angst and understandable apprehension towards general insurance, we still had to make general insurance as compelling a spend as life insurance. Taking a closer look at his complicated life, we realised that he's actually faced with quite a few common disruptions (and their financial implications) quite regularly. A suitcase that gets stolen from the train when he steps out to fill a bottle of water at the station, his wife slips in the bathroom and fractures her foot, a cell phone that gets wet in the rain, a holiday that gets cancelled because he had a fracture on the way to work? the list seemed to go on and on. All that was needed to tell him is that General Insurance is not about 'unlikely eventuality' but about 'common disruptions'? make the 'IF' disappear! Putting these common situations alongside Chola's General Insurance policies were a simple, effective and hassle-free way to better manage these common, beyond-his-control disruptions! Out of this key insight was born unique communication that revolved around one simple hard-hitting thought - Jo bhi hoga, Chola manage karega!" said a company spokesperson.

"We've seen insurance films with people who haven't taken insurance - "if I had insurance I wouldn't be in trouble right now" - or people who have taken insurance - "ah, insurance has saved me from a crisis." But here's a different angle on it - Insurance from another point of view. Through a person who represents the 'continuous inquirer', a character so common in everyday India. The guy who knows how bad the situation is and yet wants to hear it from the victim again. He's not intrinsically evil? he just revels secretly on hearing someone's misfortune and ensures he gets victims to re-live their pain through his camouflaged concern. He lives for the moments when people wince as they recollect an accident, a yelling from the boss or a broken TV set. He's actually 'Life' personified for the Mr Middleclass Man, actually reminding him of problems again and again. This 'continuous inquirer' comes to life as Chabilal. Chabi-ing bygone situations back to life. But this time around he's got a surprise waiting for him - Chola," the company spokesperson said.

So as Chabilal plays out his 'Lut gaye boss' to his friend Anand, who had to undergo an appendix operation while traveling on work to Raipur, he's faced with absolute nonchalance instead of trauma. Completely taken aback, Chabilal is smacked in the face with unique Chola Health Insurance features that helped Anand 'manage' everything. In the end, the cynical Chabilal is suddenly seen interested in Chola.

"What makes the communication unique is it stays clear of the usual disaster dreariness of general insurance advertising, infusing a great sense of humour into a simple, positive storyline and communicating the relevance of having Chola General Insurance. It also brings 'nowness' to general insurance, effectively captured in the situations in use, translating it to 'visible money', just like life insurance," he added.

The future has Chabilal written large over it, with Chabilal continuing his chabi-ing ways but stumped every time by Chola General Insurance. So don't be a too surprised if you bump into chattering Chabilal the next time you turn a corner. And when you do, just mention 'Chola' to him? that should keep him quite for a while.

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