When veteran broadcaster Ted Koppel began covering the news in 1963, delivering information to the general public from abroad required several stages of content vetting and physical transport of film to the media outlets.  

“Those were the days when the media added context to the news,” he said. “Today, this is a 24/7 venture in real time, and as a result, the media is less likely to contextualize it, so the public’s expectations of what that information will be has also changed.”

Koppel, who delivered his comments to a packed ballroom of attendees from the Insurance Accounting and Systems Association (IASA) Executive EDGE and Insurance Networking NewsWomen in Insurance Leadership programs this morning in Dallas, linked these “expectations” to a changing culture.

“The American culture today is one of entitlement,” he said, “and the public believes they are entitled to information, among other things, immediately. As a result, the information being given to them is often times without greater context and meaning.”

This is especially true in health care reform, he said, as factions on both side of the political spectrum churn public opinion with instant messaging. Although Koppel could not offer a definitive estimate on how health care reforms will play out, he did offer the audience of insurance executives some advice.

“The American public does not trust [the insurance industry] because of a lack of transparency. They think you are dealing from a marked deck,” Koppel said in response to a question from INN. “The sooner you can create an atmosphere of openness and transparency, the more trust you will establish with your customers.”

Regardless of whether health care reforms result in a public option, Koppel told the audience, there is a need for competition.

“It’s always been good for this country,” he said, “but there is inherent conflict with the current messaging out there.” 

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