J.G. Wentworth's Direct Response Aria1 Aug, 2008 By: Thomas Haire Response
CMO Ken Murray calls the financial services leader's comedic opera-themed DRTV spot the most successful campaign in his stellar two-decade career.
Murray says direct response will be a part of J.G. Wentworth's plans for as long as the company is around. And, while the "Opera" campaign has been a tremendous success, Murray believes he's taken plenty of good lessons away from the failed campaigns that are part of any true marketer's resume.
"My career is littered with failures," he says. "The most important thing I've learned is to keep picking myself up out of the dirt, dusting off, and jumping back into the fray."
He's also learned that the quickest and most trusted way for him to get back into that fray is direct response. He says, "If you are in a business providing goods and services to consumers, taking your message directly to them is the best way to stimulate new business, as well as maintain brand awareness."
J.G. WENTWORTH: A Brief History
Bryn Mawr, Pa.-based J.G. Wentworth is the United States' largest purchaser of deferred payments for illiquid assets, such as structured settlements, annuities and life insurance policies. Since 1992, the company, which started a year earlier as a merchant bank specializing in healthcare industry transactions, has purchased more than $3 billion of future payment obligations from more than 50,000 customers. But the genesis of what the company does begins with a New Jersey state statute that went into effect 25 years ago. Here's a look at key events in the history of J.G. Wentworth:
1983 New Jersey institutes a state-sponsored automobile insurance fund to provide high-risk drivers with coverage.
1991 J.G. Wentworth is founded as a merchant bank specializing in healthcare industry transactions.
1992 The New Jersey insurance fund was failing because collected premiums and additional funding were not sufficient to meet the amount of claims against its policies. The state initiated several deferral programs under which claimants were forced to wait from 12 to 18 months to receive payment and, in exchange, were given the opportunity to earn interest at the rate of 6 percent per year. J.G. Wentworth steps in to help by purchasing the deferrals, providing cash and collecting the interest earned from the claimants who couldn't wait to receive their settlements. More than 14,000 individuals were able to receive their cash immediately rather than wait an additional 18 months post-settlement.
1994 J.G. Wentworth is approached by a man named Sean, who was referred by an insurance carrier because he owned a structured settlement for an eye injury and was exchanging his payments for a lump sum. J.G. Wentworth examined the opportunity and was able to complete the transaction.
1995 J.G. Wentworth begins purchasing lottery payments in exchange for a lump sum of cash.
1996 J.G. Wentworth helps found the National Association of Settlement Purchasers (NASP). This non-profit trade association's mission is to promote the industry and establish ethical and professional standards of conduct for the industry.
1997 J.G. Wentworth completes the first securitization of structured settlement payments, a transaction of $70.8 million. In the same year, an affiliate begins purchasing privately held mortgage notes.
1998 J.G. Wentworth begins providing money to individuals awaiting inheritances.
2001 President George W. Bush signs into law Internal Revenue Code Section 5891. This section outlines the allowance for structured settlements to be sold in a secondary market, giving more flexibility to their owners. J.G. Wentworth and other NASP members were cornerstones in the effort to pass this legislation.
2002 J.G. Wentworth reaches the $1 billion mark in fundings.
2003 J.G. Wentworth headquarters move from Center City Philadelphia to Bryn Mawr, Pa., doubling the office square footage.