Cyber Monday is upon us, after a holiday weekend that saw a busy Black (Thursday/) Friday and a fairly well-publicized Small Business Saturday. It makes me wonder what the life insurance industry could do to get in on the action. Because as it stands, it is most definitely not in on the action, at a time when Americans open their wallets more willingly than any other time during the year. And they’re spending money they could be using on the gift of life insurance.
Go to almost any retail website today and you’ll see plenty of Cyber Monday sales with great deals on all kinds of tangible items. I visited 10 sites of prominent life insurance carriers and quote engines and saw not one mention of Cyber Monday. Now, admittedly, it’s a lot more difficult to make a deal on a non-tangible product like a life insurance policy. With this low interest rate environment, policies are already generally sold on razor-thin profit margins with insurers banking that they’ll never have to pay out on the policy. Rebating is a big no-no, so it’s not like producers can say, “Today during Cyber Monday I’ll waive 50 percent of my commission on the sale of your life insurance policy!” And it’s not like the promise of free shipping will sway a life insurance customer.
How else can life insurers and producers entice consumers — who are spending more than they probably should already on gifts for others and, more likely, themselves — to consider the gift of life insurance? I heard a report on NPR this morning that 247 million people visited brick-and-mortar stores this holiday weekend, spending roughly $59 billion, up 15 percent from last year. Most parents may well be caught up in the frenzy of Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday, but one group that probably isn’t so hip on battling the crowds? Grandparents.
Maybe life insurers ought to target the senior demographic with Black Friday/Small Business Saturday/Cyber Monday messaging. Something along the lines of, “While the masses buy their electronics, you can buy the most important gift possible for your grandchildren: life insurance.”
Now I know there are plenty of obstacles to overcome, like the fact that most insurance salespeople are off during most of the four-day shopping bonanza, allowing them to participate in the madness. And, obviously, it’s hard to get anyone excited about a life insurance policy when they could be ordering an iPad mini or a 60-inch HDTV.