It is not as long as we would have liked, but our goal is to get the message out there.”
That, according to Larry Boyd, senior insurance compliance officer for the California Department of Insurance (CDI), is the goal of CDI’s campaign to advertise the resources it offers. CDI has been letting the public know that it has available a number of experts who can answer insurance-related questions, ranging from issues pertaining to homeowners’ policies to queries regarding workers’ compensation.
Advertising, using print media, television spots, billboards and radio, started in late 2000 with a pilot program in the Sacramento and Fresno areas. Although the print media advertisements, which have appeared recently in such publications as the Los Angeles Times, will end on March 4, Boyd said they appear to be accomplishing their goal in letting California residents know they have someone to turn to with their insurance questions from feedback CDI has received.
“Those pilot campaigns were successful and made those populations [Sacramento and Fresno] aware of the existence of the Department,” Boyd commented. “We started…with a focus group in Sacramento, and of 12 people there, only one had heard of our 800-number. We felt like these advertisements would help get the word out about the services we offer.
“Back on July 1, 2001…we began [advertising in] the Los Angeles area,” Boyd continued. “Our intention was to include the San Diego and San Francisco areas, but the allocation of funds prevented that.” When asked how much money the advertisements were costing CDI, Boyd declined to comment.
According to Boyd, all but the paid cable advertisements will cease next month. “Some of the billboards may not be replaced right away, so they would continue advertising until they’re replaced,” Boyd added.
Boyd said the variety of questions that the office receives indicates the public does want more information on a variety of subjects.
“The public has a variety of questions on their insurance, including auto, health, homeowners, and earthquake among others,” Boyd said. “There have also been questions regarding workers’ compensation—there is always a lot of information requested for that topic.”
CDI has been using the Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide firm to assist with the creation of the advertisments.
“We develop a proposal, then put our goals in there for them to work with,” Boyd said. “The first program we did was mostly to promote the low-cost auto program.”
Boyd said he was unaware as to whether other states are doing similar promotions. “I haven’t heard of any,” he said. “Most of them rely on the information on their Web sites.”
Will the program be rolled out again down the road if CDI determines enough interest from the public warrants such a move?
“It would depend on the funding available,” Boyd concluded.
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