Legal & General America, a top player in the U.S. term life market, has found a secret passage into U.S. consumers’ wallets: selfies.
The Frederick, Maryland-based arm of Legal & General Group PLC set up the SelfieQuote.com website last summer. The site invites consumers to get a life insurance quote by submitting a self portrait.
Instead of hectoring visitors to the site about the need to protect their families, or showing gauzy stock photos of families created by a modeling agency, Legal & General America gives the following instructions: “Ensure your face is well lit, remove glasses, and push hair away from face.”
“Your selfie will be used to provide an estimate for life insurance based on an estimate of your age, gender and [body mass index],” the company tells the visitors.
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Legal & General America was already the second largest provider of U.S. term life insurance through the brokerage channel, with about 1.3 million term life policies in place. The company also sells a significant amount of universal life coverage in the United States.
The company is now boosting sales with two powerful psychological forces: Consumers’ interest in their own faces, and consumers’ interest in finding out what other people (or artificial intelligence systems) see in their faces.
Mark Holweger, the U.S. unit’s executive vice president for distribution and marketing, and Stephen Robinson, the vice president for partnerships, recently talked about how they see the U.S. term life market.
Here are five points Holweger and Robinson made during the interview.
1. Selling more term life insurance is simply the right thing to do.
“There are a lot of people who are still unprotected,” Holweger said. “That doesn’t feel right.”
2. U.S. consumers may suffer, to some extent, from the lack of a tight connection between the U.S. life insurance sectors and other U.S. economic sectors.
Holweger has worked for Legal & General in the United Kingdom as well as in the United States.
In the United Kingdom, he said, mortgage brokers try to sell life insurance to just about everyone who gets a mortgage loan. As a result, about 80% of the life insurance sold in the United Kingdom is sold around the time that people get mortgage loans.