Industry Advised on Ethical Multi-Cultural Sales

March 29, 2004

“Ethical marketing in the multicultural market is needs-based selling at the most fundamental level,” according to Brian Atchinson, executive director of the Insurance Marketplace Standards Association (IMSA), the ethics standards setting organization for the life insurance, long-term care insurance and annuities industry.

Speaking in New York at a workshop on complying with ethical, legal and regulatory obligations in the multicultural marketplace, Atchinson advised the audience that, while, insurance and financial service professionals should treat all customers ethically regardless of age, gender or ethnic background, “it’s equally important to recognize the subtle differences in each ethnic groups that can create both opportunity and challenge.”

Atchinson recommended the following approaches to multicultural markets:

• Clear and appropriate communication with policyholders, recognizing special considerations based on age, needs and ethnic background.

• Transparency in materials, including accurate translations and helpful, clear information to help consumers making complex financial decisions.

Atchinson also stressed the importance of a corporate culture of ethics and compliance within companies seeking to market and sell to culturally diverse markets.

“Companies must create an environment that fosters clear, open communication from the CEO throughout the company,” he said “Management has to set the example in word and deed of appropriate conduct in the life insurance marketplace.”

Atchinson addressed the workshop produced by Center for Business Intelligence.

IMSA is a voluntary, non-profit organization created in 1996 to strengthen consumer trust and confidence in the life and long-term care insurance and annuity products industry. IMSA member companies represent nearly 60 percent overall market share for individually sold life insurance, long-term care insurance, and annuity products. The IMSA website is

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