“To sell or not to sell life insurance to millennials, that is the question” – from William Shakespeare’s newly discovered blog series, Two Noble Insurancemen.
OK, that’s not a real blog by the English renaissance playwright and poet. And this should not be a question you have to ask yourself. You should already be selling life insurance to millennials, also known as generation Y.
After all, this market already has families and lives that need to be insured. According to LIMRA’s U.S. Consumers Today: The Generations report, only 34 percent of Gen Y owns individual life insurance and 39 percent said they would buy life insurance within the next 12 months.
But why is this generation not reaching out to advisors, when a lot of surveys and reports indicate that they are interested in financial advice, planning and buying life insurance? In honor of Life Insurance Awareness Month, here at LifeHealthPro.com we asked a few of the industry’s experts on millennials and insurance how to reach out to this digital-native generation. We hope that their responses will give you ideas on how to sell life insurance to Gen Y.
LHP: What captures millennials’ attention?
“I believe that millennials are a generation attached to the Internet at all times. They are extremely savvy shoppers who will undoubtedly go to the Internet for answers. I think the majority of insurance shoppers are now going online for research. So I prefer to approach this market via the Internet. For my business, I use effective search keywords supplemented by some pay-per-click ads, social media, and email as ways to approach this generation.” – Brian Greenberg, president and owner of True Blue Life Insurance, an online insurance agency that sells only life insurance, and CompassQuote Insurance Services.
“Millennials grew up in a customization nation. This is the generation who didn’t get a teddy bear. They went to Build-a-Bear and made a bear just for them. They get their very own customized coffee, with their name written on the cup, at Starbucks. My recommendation: Customize everything! And that includes customization of benefits packages. I like to bring up with Millennials that it pays them to review their benefits. There could be benefits within benefits. For example: The Hartford, my corporate partner, offers travel insurance and ID protection with its group life insurance. These are value-added features that could help save time and money, right now.” – Lindsey Pollak, millennial workplace expert and The Hartford’s spokesperson.
“Technology and ease of process. I find that millennials have zero interest in filling out a paper application, having an in-home visit or taking a medical exam and waiting four to six weeks for an answer. The millennials I work with prefer a dialed-in website (that is mobile friendly), communicating via text message and buying no medical exam insurance as their entry into life insurance ownership.” – Nic West, Brokerage Director at Pinney Insurance Center Inc., a National insurance brokerage that specializes in servicing the needs of the tech savvy, next generation agent.
LHP: We know that millennials are always connected to the Internet. More than having a social media presence, is there anything specific to social media and millennials that we should pay attention to?
“Millennials will also make sure you have a Twitter account, Facebook Business page, LinkedIn and a nice website before ever calling or taking action with you. Reviews, reviews, reviews – Millennials want to read reviews (check out Yelp)! Millennials want to make sure you are responding to other social media inquiries, answering questions on Twitter, replying to a question posted on your Facebook page, etc.” – Nic West.
“I advise carriers, brokers and agents to think like a retailer. Millennials have grown up with an online retail experience that includes peer reviews (aka user generated content). For example, my partner, The Hartford, posts claimants testimonials on its website – video and text. Millennials can hear what others, like them, have to say about the value of life and disability insurance.” – Lindsey Pollak.
LHP: Any other alternatives to social media and/or traditional media that will appeal to millennials that is hardly ever talked about?
“Text messaging. I often do the majority of follow-up with a millennial via text messaging (check out Message-Media.com).” – Nic West.
“Millennials are digital natives. They naturally turn to the web for information. However, I encourage brokers and agents not to forget IRL – in real life. Insurance information should be integrated communications, with both URL and IRL options. Millennials like the opportunity to reach out to a trusted advisor via any number of ways – text, IM (instant messaging), email or even in-person.” – Lindsey Pollak.
LHP: What is the best way to sell life insurance to millennials?
“The best way we've found to sell life insurance to millennials is through story telling. Millennials need to experience the emotion associated with purchasing life insurance and also the emotions associated with not having coverage and how that would affect their loved ones. Look at most of the ads targeting millennials on TV these days. They're quick-witted skits or heart tugging messages that evoke emotion. They don't mention the benefits of a product – they simply tell a story that brings out laughter, love, sadness, etc. Millennials respond to that and remember these stories when it pertains to them.” – Jeff Root, owner of Rootfin, LLC, an internet life insurance agency, and also host of the weekly "Modern Life Insurance Selling Podcast" at SellTermLife.com.
“Selling to millennials is not like selling to an affluent market. They are about WIFM ('what’s in it for me') – that could be LIRP, expediency, ease of process, ROP Riders, etc.” – Nic West.
“The Hartford’s Gen Y Speaks Survey showed millennials think life and disability insurance should be purchased when they get married or start a family. Trouble with that is, millennials are getting married much later than other generations, meaning they are leaving their lifestyle and paycheck unprotected for possibly five to 10 years. I recommend they consider life and disability insurance at their first job – which is when they feel like adults, according to The Hartford’s research. This is a new life stage that should replace marriage or a baby as the insurance trigger. Part of my work with The Hartford is talking about this new life stage with employers and benefits brokers.” – Lindsey Pollak.
LHP: What’s trending in the online insurance world?
“In my business, no-medical-exam life insurance is becoming very popular. The pricing on these policies is coming down, and customers really love and appreciate the fast turnaround of the process.” – Brian Greenberg.
LHP: You seem to invest a lot of time on SEO for your sites. Do you invest in PPC (pay-per-click) or other ad campaigns both on websites and mobile?
“Of all the marketing I do, I get the best return from organic SEO. PPC is incredibly expensive for the insurance industry – it’s a hit-or-miss proposition. I have updated my sites to be responsive for mobile users, though it is still difficult to provide all our quotes on a mobile device. I’m glad to see smartphones getting bigger, not smaller.” – Brian Greenberg.
Other takeaways and advice:
“People are usually surprised when I talk about how parents can be responsible for student loan debt for their children if they co-signed on student loans. I bring this up because millennials may think that they don’t need life or disability insurance because they don’t have a family or spouse. Even if they are single, they still have people relying on their paycheck – whether it’s parents, children or roommates. Millennials are living in a millennial world, which means not making benefits decisions like their boomer parents.” – Lindsey Pollak.
“My philosophy is to let the customers come to us when they are ready. Traditionally, the life insurance business does a lot of cold calling and appointment-seeking. In today’s world, I think you need a less intrusive approach. I do the best job I can of putting useful information out there for interested customers to find. Then, if they decide they want the service, they contact my company. People find it annoying to be called by a salesperson for services they may not want. This way, they know my service is there for them if they need it, but I’m not in their face. As a business, we do need to stay visible and be top-of-mind when the customer is ready to buy. I believe in using my website and reputation to sell the customer before they even contact us. I run my business as a customer service company, not a sales company. “ – Brian Greenberg.