The insurance industry has taken a bit of a kicking in the past few years, and, fairly or unfairly, is regularly portrayed as a major impediment to the rebuilding process in Christchurch. Among the many victims of the earthquake was AMI, which required government assistance to stay afloat and was eventually bought by IAG. Many will say the discount insurer was a victim of its own ineptitude, rather than of the natural disaster because, according to some insurancey types we've spoken to, the fact it almost fell over was because it didn't buy enough reinsurance compared to more prudent insurers like Vero, NZI and State. To avoid similar issues in the future, the government has basically forced the major players to double the level of reinsurance if they want to play in this market, which is obviously leading to higher premiums and even more negative press for the sector. But AMI isn't taking it lying down and is trying to counter some of the perception issues it's currently facing with a new campaign by DDB and Flying Fish that focuses on the helpfulness of its staff.
Featuring 19 AMI staff members from across the country, the campaign, which was shot by Dennis Hitchcock, is based around the statement 'We work for AMI but really we work for you' and it aims to show that, despite the challenges AMI has faced, their commitment to look after customers has not changed.
It's a tough sell, and no doubt this statement will be fairly grating for some, particularly those in Christchurch who are still in limbo (AMI has set up Southern Response to look after Canterbury earthquake claims). But, as the website says: "We take pride in our local representation and building strong relationships with our customers by continuing to care, assist and deliver at all times. In an insurance market that is changing, we believe having people you can talk to or pop in to see face to face, means our customers can have confidence that their insurance is right for them. So, when we asked our staff to step up and signal the pride they feel in AMI and our commitment to work for our customers, we were spoilt for choice."
It's certainly a bit more serious—and simpler—than AMI's pre-earthquake advertising, which took a rather light-hearted and colloquial approach with a campaign based around "protecting and celebrating all the things we hold dear about New Zealand". Or, as the slogan said, "insuring New Zealandness". So it remains to be seen whether promoting a different form of New Zealandness—the kind that exists within the company—moves the dial in the right direction.