Repeating in this week's Structured Settlement Advertising Wall of Shame is JG Wentworth. Their current online advertising epitomizes what is wrong with the current factoring company approach and it must be changed. While the Marketing Sherpa has highlighted how JG Wentworth turned around its earlier blah blah online results after it hired DMI partners, I question some of the strategies that have resulted in their high rankings. In previous entries I have highlighted the creative spin put on by DMI's Nina Mocciolino, for J.G. Wentworth which missed a few key details. Now we will cover its creative use of key words and why this should be troubling.
Suppose you are a conusmer faced with a proposal for a structured settlement annuity. You want to do some research. So you type "structured settlement annuity" into your browser. The following appears in AOL Search results for the key word "structured settlement annuity":
*Structured Settlements are funded by annuities. These single premium annuities are purchased to provide a pre-determined payment stream to the payee. ...
"JG Wentworth is the leader in structured settlements" appears on J.G. Wentworth's website (note that the word "industry" has been omitted)
I've already covered my issues with J.G. Wentworth's (and Novation Capital's) used of the term "structured settlement industry"
An annuity is an insurance product that requires an insurance license to sell. J.G. Wentworth in its advertising states that structured settlements are funded by annuities. J.G. Wentworth not only claims that it is a leader in the structured settlement industry but it also claims that it is the leader in structured settlements. If J.G. Wentworth is the leader in structured settlements, and by its own admission structured settlements are funded by annuities, how come they don't show as being licensed by 3 state insurance departments**, including its home state of Pennsylvania? Verify for yourself by clicking the links below!
Pennsylvania Insurance Department Agent Search
Connecticut Insurance Department Agent Search
Texas Insurance Department Agent Search
Factoring companies and cash flow companies engaging, or seeking to engage, in structured settlement transfers should be careful not to confuse the public by indirectly implying that they are licensed agents. Advertisers and search engine optimizers need to also be aware that they could be getting their clients into trouble if they are not taking this into account. If you are a factoring company say what you are!
QUESTION FOR GOVERNMENT REGULATORS AND CONSUMER ADVOCATES:
You have required disclosures and rules for the behavior of insurance agents with respect to truth in advertising, requirements for licensing and other business practices designed to protect consumers. Why is one industry so heavily regulated and one so unregulated? What are you doing to protect consumers from the practices such as those highlighted above and in this web log? Are you doing enough?
** I only surveyed these 3 insurance departments for the purpose of this article