Online Health Insurance Firm Nears Decision

SAN FRANCISCO –, an online health insurance service, is in the final stages of a review for its estimated $10-15 million ad account, according to sources. A decision is expected this week.
Finalists in the review include Goldberg Moser O’Neill, Gardner, Geary, Coll & Young and Katsin/Loeb Advertising, all in San Francisco. At least two agencies made final presentations to the client last week, sources said.
Agency executives declined to comment. A client representative confirmed a review is under way, but declined to offer details., San Francisco, is a privately held company and a joint venture between SASH Communications and Interwest Insurance Services, Sunnyvale, Calif. It offers medical plans from insurance providers through its Web site, where consumers can compare plans, obtain quotes, choose doctors, apply for coverage and pay their first insurance premium.
Sources said the client is looking to target “young individual insurance purchasers who earn $40,000” annually. A national campaign to break later this year will most likely include TV, radio, print, outdoor and online advertising.
Executives with have told the participating agencies that the company’s advertising must help it overcome certain obstacles, such as the complexity of selling insurance over the Internet. One example the client offered in an information packet for the review concerned its need to affiliate with licensed brokers in California, which is the only way insurance can be sold in the state. is also asking the finalists to address another specific advertising “challenge,” which is how to convince consumers that it is safe to “divulge mental health problems, HIV status and drug and alcohol addiction and other medical conditions online.” Sources said the client wants to assure consumers their medical records are secure.