When I started selling life insurance many years ago for one of the nation’s top mutuals, I was taught the old insurance adage “life insurance is sold, not bought.” As I look back on this outdated mantra, the exact opposite seems to be true today. People are going online to buy life insurance in massive numbers.
Over the years, the consumer trend has shifted from purchasing life insurance face-to-face from an agent to purchasing over the phone or online.
The statistics below are good indicators of life insurance purchasing trends:
- In 1996, 80% preferred face-to-face interaction (source: LIMRA)
- In 2011, 64% preferred face-to-face interaction (source: LIMRA)
- In 2013, 50% preferred face-to-face interaction (study done by LIMRA and The Life Foundation)
In that same 2013 study, a whopping 85 percent of people said they would use the Internet in some way to purchase a life insurance policy. I predict that as younger generations, who rely on the Internet to do much of their shopping, mature and have the need for life insurance, these figures will only continue to increase. These figures indicate a major shift in how life insurance is bought and sold today.
See also: Gen Y most receptive to financial advice
Agents are trading in their briefcases and face-to-face meetings for a laptop and a website. Successful Internet life insurance agents are marketers first and foremost, and salesmen secondly. Here’s what that looks like: Instead of prospecting friends and family, attending networking events, hosting seminars and cold calling, Internet life insurance agents are focusing their time on learning different marketing techniques, analyzing data, and optimizing campaigns. The goal is to make the consumer come to the agent, not the other way around.
Many agents struggle with this complete shift in thinking. To flip the tried and true teachings of our mentors on its head is a tough thing to do; however, if an agent has the ability to shift their thinking, study Internet marketing information on a daily basis, and apply it, they’ll find their place online. The online market is still wide open for life insurance agents and there is plenty of business for everyone.