Brokers and insurers must educate the public to eradicate views that the insurance industry is like a second-hand car dealership, urged Groupama managing director Tim Ablett.
Ablett said customers saw intermediaries and underwriters "in the same bracket as second-hand car dealers and estate agents".
"Insurance per se is not a very sexy product," he said.
Ablett said the industry must shed its "fatally flawed" branding to improve its reputation.
"We actually have to work very much harder on our image and demonstrate to our customers consistently and regularly the value for money that we offer and the protection we provide.
"Branding is all about total customer proposition and experience. The financial services industry doesn't really understand branding.
"We have to work much harder than that, or recognise we have to use established brands that customers understand to distribute our products from."
Ablett added that the industry did not deserve the publicity it was getting as "the vast majority" of claims went smoothly.
"The number of complaints are very, very few," he said. "But it is the number of complaints that gets the headlines. What we actually have to do is improve our image and take away the tarnish that is there. The whole chain provides real value for money."
Ablett said the industry should educate the public to get away from just being a price proposition.