Tag Archives: harris poll

How to Turn Around Sluggish Life Sales

Life insurance sales are sluggish, and the struggle to capture the elusive mid-market and millennial demographic persists. Insurers are searching for a way to turn things around.

As tech start-ups have entered the insurance market, shaking up age-old policy servicing and sales models, insurers have been forced to rethink their offerings. Not adapting is not an option anymore.

Some innovative insurers are starting to gamify elements of the customer experience as well as the value chain, like we’ve seen in other industries, from airlines to credit cards, which already have well-received loyalty programs in place that rely largely on game mechanics. Innnovative insurance companies are rewarding users with points and gift cards for completing courses or taking quizzes related to financial wellness and mindfulness, for example. This is their way of incorporating fun, engaging elements into policies as a means of meeting the insured where they are.

But are these new types of policies and customer engagement models taking hold?

Research conducted recently by the Harris Poll on behalf of SE2 and Life.io investigates if factors like rewards and engagement make life insurance more appealing both to those who already have policies and those who don’t. The findings found that the vast majority of the 2,000 respondents would share real-time wellness data with insurance companies through wearable devices in exchange for financial benefits like a lower insurance premium or wellness rewards.

The data also found that U.S. adults want their policies to be more interactive. Roughly two-thirds (68%) say that, if a provider offered a policy that included elements of gamification to reward healthy lifestyle and wellness habits (think: badges for hitting certain milestones, a leaderboard, financial rewards), they would be likely to engage in those elements. Additionally, 43% of U.S. adults say they’d be “much” or “somewhat” more likely to purchase a life insurance policy if the insurer offered an interactive program with wellness benefits (such as coaching and education) rather than just policy payout.

See also: Customer Experience Gets a Major Facelift

In terms of generation, over half (53%) of millennials (ages 23-38) say they’d be “much” or “somewhat” more likely to purchase a life insurance policy if the insurer offered an interactive program with wellness benefits. This is noteworthy given that life insurance sales have historically lagged among this group, according to previous research from SE2. Even baby boomers want in. More than one-third (36%) of boomers (ages 55-73) say an interactive program with wellness benefits would make them “much more” or “somewhat more” likely to purchase a policy.

Will Sweat for Discounts

The survey also found that a majority of U.S. adults seem to like the idea of exchanging wellness and lifestyle data with life insurers for rewards and improved lifestyle. They would share wellness data, such as steps walked daily (79%), blood pressure daily (76%), heart rates daily (74%), calories burned daily (73%) and sleep patterns each night (71%) for financial or health rewards.

In fact, those rewards could lead to lasting lifestyle and health changes. Eighty-six percent of U.S. adults say they’d be “much” or “somewhat” more likely to live a healthier lifestyle if a life insurance company offered cash back as an incentive in exchange for their real-time wellness information. Almost all (94%) of millennials say this would be the case for them.

Other incentives that would urge the insured to improve their lifestyle habits? There are plenty:

  • 86% of U.S. adults say cash back would encourage them to live a healthier lifestyle
  • 85% say a lower life insurance premium would encourage them to live a healthier lifestyle 
  • 82% say additional coverage or benefits would encourage them to live a healthier lifestyle
  • 77% say wellness rewards would encourage them to live a healthier lifestyle 
  • 70% say wellness education/coaching would encourage them to live a healthier lifestyle
  • 66% say financial education/coaching would encourage them to live a healthier lifestyle

See also: 3 Ways to Improve Customer Experience  

More Frequent, Meaningful Touchpoints Matter

The importance of customer engagement cannot be overstated. The research found that policyholders want to hear from insurers more often, not just upon sign-up and for billing purposes. More frequent, personalized touchpoints are crucial for retaining and growing the insurer’s book of business. Higher-quality interactions can help build relationships, which leads to higher sales conversion, reduced lapse rates and referrals.

What to take from all of this?

Policyholders and prospective policyholders will no longer settle for the status quo. They want higher-touch customer service with more frequent touchpoints, policies that are more personalized and engaging and rewards that continue. These approaches can help turn around sluggish sales and lead to lifestyle and health improvements of the insured.

For insurers who aren’t willing to evolve their policies and engagement models to better meet consumers where they are, survey respondents stated that they would be willing to switch insurers. That’s not to be taken lightly.

4 Keys to Charting Your Career

If you just landed your first job in the insurance business, chances are that you’re focused on that new position, not necessarily on what comes next in your career. You’re probably plenty busy doing what’s necessary right now—learning the new job, adjusting to a new company culture and hustling to prove yourself. You’re giving 100% to succeeding in your new role.

That’s smart, especially considering that most new hires have less than two weeks to prove themselves on the job, according to new research from Fullbridge and Harris Poll. One in four executives say that employers take only two weeks to decide whether an entry-level new hire will be successful. Other executives say that it will take longer, but all agreed that it takes less than three months. With stats like that, it makes sense that long-term career goals take a back seat to making a great first impression.

But while you’re settling into the rhythm of your new gig, you should make time to outline a basic road map for the rest of your career. As your early career moves away from entry-level positions and into more specialized roles with more responsibility, giving some thought to your future goals and plans can have a huge impact on your overall career trajectory.

See also: The Many Paths to a Career in Risk

There’s plenty of traditional advice available for people early in their career. A lot of that information is good, but there’s also more current insight applicable to young professionals. Here’s our breakdown of four ways to chart a course early in your career and figure out what makes you happiest on the job.

1. Don’t job hop—department hop

Young professionals today have a reputation for switching jobs a lot more often than previous generations do. Recent research shows that this characterization is largely unearned. Young people tend to switch jobs more often than older workers, but millennials aren’t switching at a higher rate than young adults of past generations did.

Changing jobs early in your career has its benefits, including a chance to earn more money and exposing yourself to more aspects of the industry. But there are downsides, too. Switching jobs is hard work, and some of it may be unrelated to learning the insurance business. You’ll need to learn to adapt to a new company culture. You may need to relocate. You may have to build your network of work friends and go-to leaders all over again. In short, you’re almost starting from scratch each time you switch organizations.

Many young professionals have found a happy medium in department hopping. With the right organization, young insurance pros can gain hands-on experience in a variety of insurance disciplines through shorter stints in different departments. This gives you an opportunity to talk to different managers about salary ranges and your career priorities, and you can learn more about the industry without starting over at a new organization. If you’re interested in switching departments, take a look at Lifehacker’s advice for having that conversation with your boss.

2. Don’t find just a mentor—find a sponsor

There’s no doubt that finding a mentor early in your career is extremely important. Many of the insurance professionals profiled on The Community cite finding a mentor as one of the most essential components of their early-career success. Mentors play a key role in career growth, but the Harvard Business Review argues that there’s another supporter you need in your corner: a sponsor.
While mentors take a comprehensive look at your career (and often your personal life), a sponsor is someone within your current organization who can act as your advocate. It should be an executive or another leader who offers career guidance “by making important introductions to senior leaders, expanding the perception of what you can offer the organization and offering powerful backing to help you soar and protection when you stumble,” according to author Sylvia Ann Hewlett.

3. Don’t just network—learn more about the industry

So much of the focus on early career development is on networking. Make no mistake—growing your professional network is important. But for young professionals, pure networking events like happy hours and meet-ups aren’t the most efficient way to meet other insurance pros and find new opportunities.

Early in your career, there are plenty of ways to learn about the industry that also offer networking as a key secondary benefit. Look into industry designations. (AINS is a great way to get a comprehensive look at the insurance industry to figure out which elements of the business interest you most.) Or you can register for an industry conference and bring a stack of business cards. You also have a much better chance of getting your employer to chip in for these kinds of experiences.

As you work to gain greater industry insight and expertise, forging relationships with other soon-to-be designees or conference participants will come naturally. And those relationships will be rooted in the pursuit of industry knowledge and career interests rather than personal ambition and cocktail-party chatter.

See also: Work/Life Balance … Your Tightrope to a Rewarding Career  

4. Don’t just think about goals—write them down

One last small piece of advice for charting your career: once you determine some concrete goals, write them down. Recent research from Dominican University of California found that individuals who write down their goals and share them with others are far more likely to achieve them than people who didn’t write them down or tell others about them.

Writing down your goals and sharing them—perhaps with your sponsor or growing professional network—go a long way toward making you accountable for achieving them. As you advance in your career and take advantage of new opportunities in a quickly changing industry, make sure to refer to your written goals and update them regularly.

Have you found success charting your career goals? Let us hear your best tip in the comments section below.

Will You Be the Broker of the Future?

Enrollment season is fast approaching, and shopping for insurance – especially for the first time – is overwhelming. That’s why individuals, families and businesses turn to brokers for help — the industry experts who are the front-line access point for understanding, purchasing and using health insurance.

Unfortunately, brokers are burdened by outdated technology, manual processes and complex new regulations that make the process of helping small businesses and individuals inefficient and impersonal.

The digital revolution in all other things e-commerce allows products and services to go directly to the consumer at the click of a button. How can brokers adapt to the increasing complexity of the business, attract more customers and grow their businesses?

These growing pains can be met with technology. But this can only happen as long as the end user is kept in mind, and the tech giants and startups that have flooded into the insurtech space to streamline and simplify the shopping and enrollment process have forgotten an important end user: the broker.

See also: Improve Reputations by Digital Risk Profiling  

The way we see it at Wellthie is that the health insurance broker business remains strong, and, for those who have embraced change and technology, it is only getting stronger. Individuals and small businesses aren’t just looking for answers at their fingertips, they are looking for service: a process that is transparent, trustworthy and efficient. However, unlike traditional goods and services, health insurance requires the skillful assistance of an expert. This indicates that unlike industries that have seen a decline in the use of brokers, such as the travel industry, the health insurance broker is an invaluable piece of the complex health care puzzle. Here’s why:

  1. Small businesses are the most reliant on brokers and spend a huge sum on health insurance. There are currently more than 5 million small businesses in the U.S., representing 90% of all U.S. enterprises and a total of 40 million employees. A small business with 10 employees would have to pay on average $50,000 per year for coverage, assuming 70% contribution. This is a large sum, and businesses will want to make sure they are spending their dollars wisely. This is why 74% of small businesses today rely on hundreds of thousands of licensed health insurance brokers.
  2. Regulation and compliance is a big deal. ACA, ERISA, HIPAA are just some of the acronyms of the complex body of regulations that govern what small businesses and individuals must keep in mind when offering coverage. These regulations continue to change and have many state-based nuances that require brokers in a given market who can navigate the waters.
  3. The products are complicated. Health insurance selection is a multivariable decision with many considerations and stakeholders. According to a Harris Poll survey, nearly three out of every four 18- to 34 year-olds said they are often confused about all the benefit options available to them. Although technology can make great strides at improving the process, buyers want to make sure that they didn’t make a mistake. Sellers also rely on brokers to ensure that the buyers follow the appropriate guidelines and underwriting rules of who can and cannot purchase benefits.

See also: 5 Accelerating Trends in Digital Marketing  

In health insurance, where the role of the broker is essential, technology provides the access point to improve the process for buyers, sellers and intermediaries. Brokers of the future who embrace technology will make health insurance more approachable and valued.

Does Everyone Want a Promotion?

Most workers don’t aspire to leadership roles.

That’s the key finding of a study conducted by CareerBuilder and Harris Poll. Based on the responses of more than 3,500 workers across the U.S., only about one-third (34%) aspire to leadership positions.

This is interesting data for organizations and leaders everywhere. First, it might settle the nerves of managers and supervisors because it confirms that not every employee is looking to rise up through the ranks. My research with Beverly Kaye found that one of the key reasons managers don’t engage in career conversations with their employees is fear. Fear that everyone will want a promotion. Fear that they can’t deliver on those expectations. Fear of the disappointment and disengagement that will ensue when these two conditions collide. But the good news is that two out of three employees aren’t coveting the manager’s – or any other leaders’ – job.

At the same time, this data is also unsettling because it demonstrates a fundamental challenge with the way organizations are structured. Unfortunately, some of the 66% of employees who are uninterested in leadership positions will pursue them anyway.  That’s because, in too many organizations, “up” is the only way to develop. Those without a genuine appetite to lead will chase down promotions because it’s their only chance to grow.

So, what’s an organization to do?  Plenty!

  • Distinguish between the 34% and the 66%. Ensuring job satisfaction, engagement and, ultimately, results demands that you understand employees, their motivations and their aspirations.
  • Work with those who possess an authentic desire to lead, finding ways to cultivate these skills and talents – even before opportunities for promotion open up. Leadership isn’t reserved for certain levels. It’s a state of mind and a set of skills that can be practiced regardless of role.
  • Don’t assume that, just because people don’t aspire to leadership, they’re happy where they are. Many aren’t. Many of your 66% are bored, going through the motions and not contributing to their greatest capacity. Figure out what interests them, where their passions lie and what they would like to accomplish. Then work collaboratively to help facilitate opportunities for development and growth in their current roles.
  • Find ways to reward employees for deepening their knowledge and skills… without changing roles. (Let’s be honest, many of the 66% are pursuing leadership because it comes with a pay bump.)
  • Consider treating leadership as a discipline rather than a level. What if advancing to leadership was a lateral rather than vertical move? What if it didn’t come with an automatic raise? What if people moved into leadership because they really wanted to do that kind of work?

Information like that generated in the CareerBuilder study can be a powerful tool for organizations to look differently at leadership, who wants it and why. The information also helps organizations produce better results by ensuring that 100% of employees are doing the work they want to do most.