Insurance-Based Marketing: (Health) insurance as an exciting opportunity

Published on March 14, 2021 – Health insurance is there to protect people against the risk of high financial losses in case of illness. According to the marketing communication of certain healthcare providers though, being on health insurance is an exciting opportunity to get certain products and services for free or at amazingly reduced prices. A new article introduces this ‘Insurance-based marketing’ as a widespread communication strategy.

Insurance-based marketing (IBM) is a form of marketing communication whereby providers state that clients can obtain their products or services for free or at a strongly reduced price since the expenses are (partially) covered by the client’s insurance plan. It is a form of marketing communication that occurs in a range of different industries, with healthcare being one of them.

The paper outlines IBM’s basic characteristics, the underlying processes through which IBM exerts its marketing function, and a taxonomy of IBM occurrences in practice. This is followed by a study gauging the international prevalence of IBM for windshield repairs and flu vaccination respectively.

Analysis of the websites from 75 flu vaccination providers from Australia, England, the Gulf region, South Africa, and the USA showed that 40% of flu vaccination providers worldwide include IBM in their public communication strategy.

The importance of the recognition of IBM’s prevalence among others lies in the ethical issues involved. IBM appears to walk a thin line between information provision and health promotion, versus gaining advantage from others’ credits. Offering free acne treatment for the insured for instance is not a skin clinic’s merit but that of the insured who pay the insurance premiums.

Full article:

Zwier, S. (2021). Insurance-based marketing (IBM): a prevalent marketing strategy. Journal of Financial Services Marketing, 26, 1-9.

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