2012 is moving so fast that I just realized we’re in the last month of spring already. As a trusted advisor to your clients, part of your “financial spring cleaning” regimen should include reminding them to dust off their life insurance policies to make sure those policies are keeping up with their lives.
The strategic timing for this message couldn’t be better when you think about it: income tax season has passed, and your clients likely have a fresh perspective about their investments for the remainder of the year. Additionally, it’s wedding season, and people are thinking about their future “plus one.” Many people are buying homes, and others are taking advantage of still low interest rates to refinance. Many of those trigger events that drive new and additional life sales are in full bloom right now, making now a perfect time to reconnect.
Life producers can become so focused on acquiring new customers that, sometimes, they forget to check-in on existing customers. Our research confirms that when people purchase a life insurance policy, most often it gets placed in a drawer or safe, never to be reviewed again until necessary. And at that point, it may be too late to make changes.
Unlike P&C owners, life insurance owners do not shop annually for rates. According to Acxiom’s Consumer Dynamics study, “Life Insurance Marketing at the Crossroads,” nearly 60% of people indicated no interest in shopping their policy. Here are a few ways to use technology and messaging to provide relevant touch points to check in with existing clients:
- Make technology your friend, my friends.
The world is more technologically connected than ever before, and consumers are using technology to gather information about life insurance. Research finds that 50% of Millennials (under-30s), 73% of Gen-Xers (30-45) and 86% of Boomers (46-65) visit insurance carrier websites while searching online for information. Further, 68% of Millennials and 45% of Gen-Xers used social media as part of the shopping process.
The first thing you should consider is updating your marketing plan to include banner advertisements, email layered with direct mail, mobile efforts and social channels. Separately or together, these can be used to reach across generations to remind your customers of the importance of reviewing their policies.
See also: Selling Your Prospects on Life Insurance
Determining how your customers want to be reached and what kind of messages they’d like to receive will take your practice to a new level. Gently guide them along in the process and let their behavior be your barometer for more or fewer touches and to determine the best way to introduce them to other relevant products. Marketing these days is all about relevance.
- Revisit your high-value customers and overlay life event data.
This will take some elbow grease and help from a sophisticated marketing technology. If your home office isn’t able to overlay this data for you, you can go about collecting it yourself. Here’s a suggestion that really works: at least annually, send your best customers a checklist of life events that happen over time. Ask your customer to check off anything on the list that may have happened in the last year. The list includes events like marriage, divorce, having a baby or grandchild, adopting a child, purchasing a home or refinancing an existing one. Did she get a promotion at work? Is she now caring for an elderly parent? Going through a mid-life crisis and driving a fast sports car? Is her daughter moving back home after graduate school and is her boyfriend coming with her? You get the idea!
Let customers check off what applies. Most everyone will relate to at least two items on the list. Review the hand raisers. This is your opportunity to encourage those customers to reevaluate their policies and upgrade them as appropriate. A policy for $100,000 may have worked a whole lot better when your customer was a newlywed with no real assets and a single beneficiary. Now, he may need to consider quite a few of life’s changes to upgrade his outdated coverage.
- Remind your customers that they are not Benjamin Button.
All spring chickens have their season. Though it’s a hard pill to swallow, literally, we will never be as young as we are right now, and we’re not likely to be as healthy either. Take Dick Clark, for example. Even though he was known for his youthful appearance, America’s “oldest teenager” passed away this month, and may he rest in peace. The truth is that people are insuring against the risks in their lives. Take the time to prepare the right message, delivered through the right channel, to help your customers understand that there is no better time than the present to review their life insurance policy. If they need to upgrade their coverage, do it now. There is always that possibility that an upgrade won’t be possible once they reach a certain age or are diagnosed with a certain illness.