Insurance for the UninsurableTuesday, Mar 13, 2001
Recent rural news has focused on the grim parts of rural business - the risk of the unknown and the
potential dreadful worst outcome.
It is like being at a convention of insurance salesmen - you eventually wonder if the safest place may
be in bed with the blankets over your head because there is no way you can afford the premiums
to cover every potentiality that lies in wait.
But for all the problems created by the ready transfer of the diseases of man and beast in these globalised
times, the problems will diminish but we are left with the potential for such stressful periods
to cause big shifts in public perception of what it finds acceptable.
The wee German side show over scrapie shows how vulnerable NZ lamb producers are to misinformation when
distributed amongst unknowing consumers.
But the worst aspect of the scrapie boil over is that Meat New Zealand has no confidence that its market
presence can stand such a challenge.
What has Meat NZ been doing in this $180 million dollar market as they built their sales? What have
they been promoting? "Clean and green"? Is this a gap in a superficial and glib advertising plan devised
by some hotshot agency?
Or have NZ Meat marketers just forgotten that to build a secure market the producer must keep on talking
to the consumer about a broad range of supporting knowledge that maintains consumer confidence
in the product supplied to the market.
Meat New Zealand has a task on its hands. Contemplating damage claims is not an answer to the immediate
That glib advertising agency should be pushed from its safety zone and be asked to come up with an advertising
plan that negates the false statements.
Advertising and PR must position NZ lamb as a trustworthy product that is the best meat choice for every
German consumer for a list of reasons that satisfies the consumers concerns.
Paying an after event insurance premium in this instance has much to recommend it.