Tag Archives: millennials

Ned Ryerson and the Future of Insurance

Does the name Ned Ryerson sound familiar? Perhaps just vaguely familiar, but you can’t quite remember where you’ve seen or heard the name? I’ll give you a hint: BING! How about now? Still don’t remember? Did you see the Harold Ramis film, “Groundhog Day”? BING!! Remember the annoying insurance salesman who torments Bill Murray’s character, Phil Connors, every morning, claiming to have attended the same high school when they were kids? BING!!! Remember how he shouted his cheesy, personalized catch-word as he badgered Phil to buy nearly every type of insurance known to man? BING!!!! “Needlenose Ned”? “Ned the Head”? BING!!!!! That was Ned Ryerson. (I’ll spare you the catch-word this last time.)

For the five people on the planet who have not yet seen this comedy classic, a supernatural event forces a self-absorbed TV weatherman covering the annual Groundhog Day event in Punxsutawney, PA, to repeat the same day over and over again. Each morning, weatherman Phil Connors awakes on Feb. 2 and re-lives the same set of events, interacting with the same people, including the cringe-worthy Ned Ryerson. The first three or four times Phil encounters Ned, he does his best to avoid him. By their fourth encounter in the movie, Phil flattens Ned with a vicious punch before he can once again launch into his déjà vu sales pitch.

After repeating the same day for the hundredth, thousandth or possibly millionth time, Phil Connors undergoes a personal transformation from egotistical jerk to a kind, caring person, thus allowing the calendar to finally turn to Feb. 3. And, yes, part of that penance included a purchase of insurance coverage from Ned Ryerson. After all, what greater demonstration of humanity is there than to be nice to an insurance salesman?

Houston, We Have an Image Problem

Ned Ryerson is the fictional embodiment of nearly every insurance stereotype in a single person. Unable to turn his “whistling belly button trick” from the high school talent show into a professional career, he did the next best thing; insurance. He’s creepy. He’s annoying. He tells bad jokes that only he finds funny. He never takes a hint. He’s relentless. He displays many of the worst traits perceived in our industry, and, sadly, he is one of the more positive depictions of the insurance industry that has appeared on the big screen.

Consider the alternatives. In the Denzel Washington movie “John Q,” a desperate father holds a hospital wing hostage and forces doctors to perform a potentially life-saving surgery on his dying child because his insurance company will not authorize the procedure. “The Rainmaker,” a screen adaptation of the John Grisham novel, follows a lawyer suing an insurance company for denying a bone marrow transplant to a young man who later dies as a result of the company’s “deny all claims” directive. “Sicko” offers a scathing (albeit slanted) view of the American health insurance system that takes billions of dollars from individuals and then refuses to provide them coverage.

If we are to believe Hollywood, the insurance industry steals hard-earned money from people who can least afford to lose it, seizes every opportunity to deny benefits to those in need and condemns children to death to protect profits. By contrast, Ned Ryerson is practically the patron saint of the industry.

See also: Future of Insurance Looks Very Different  

So what does Ned Ryerson have to do with the future of insurance? The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects the insurance industry will need to add nearly 200,000 jobs in the next five to six years to match projected demand. Brokerage firm Guy Carpenter projects that as much as 25% of the insurance industry will have reached retirement age by 2018. With so many stable, well-paying insurance careers available, it would seem the insurance industry should have no issues filling its employment coffers. And yet we do. In fact, we may be approaching a crisis-level talent gap. Why? Perhaps it’s because so few young people have had a positive introduction to the insurance industry. Maybe it’s because there are only a handful of universities offering insurance programs. Or just maybe, college students simply don’t want to envision their future selves as Ned Ryerson.

No Degrees of Separation

Insurance is one of the only major industries in the world that does not require or even encourage prospective employees to have an educational background in the field. There are insurance professionals who hold diplomas in English, finance, economics, liberal arts and a myriad of other disciplines but virtually no insurance degrees. When people learn that some universities offer insurance as a degree program, their reactions usually fall into one of two categories:

  1. Sasquatch sighting: I’ve heard rumors such things exist, but I’ve never actually seen one in person.
  2. Unstable personality concern: You mean people actually WANT to do this for a living? Perhaps these lost souls should consider seeking professional treatment for this condition….

Why is it so surprising that an insurance professional would have an insurance degree when it’s commonplace for others to hold degrees in their chosen fields? Attorneys attend law schools. Mechanics go to technical training schools. Doctors go to medical school. Why wouldn’t an underwriter or broker study insurance? Think about it. How would a patient react if he learned his neurosurgeon attended culinary school? Would an accounting firm hire someone who studied ballet? What if the electrician re-wiring your home offered his undergraduate degree in physical therapy as proof of qualification? Wouldn’t that be strange and possibly a little unsettling? Yet this is how most of the insurance industry operates.

Professionals with educational backgrounds outside of insurance aren’t necessarily less qualified than those with insurance degrees. There are many exceptional people in our industry who did not pursue insurance as a course of study but still found their way to an insurance career. Yet how many talented young people do we miss every year simply because insurance is not offered as a career choice at the schools they attend?

If we are to solve the long-term issue of youth and talent acquisition facing our industry, we will need to make insurance a more desirable and available option for college students. To do so, we need to help more colleges and universities across the country develop meaningful insurance programs. Unless the insurance industry supports college degree programs, students aren’t likely to consider insurance as a career path worthy of their time and talents

A Bridge Under Troubled Waters

According to a 2015 study published by Business Insurance, Temple University hosted the largest insurance program in the country with 475 undergraduate students in 2014. On the surface, this number may seem impressive but when compared with the enrollment in other courses of study and the projected needs of the insurance industry over the next few years, a very different picture emerges.

Of the nearly 28,000 undergraduate students attending this university in 2014, less than 2% chose insurance as a potential career; fewer than those pursuing music and dance. If we assume half of the undergraduates studying insurance would be graduating in any given year, this particular program would fill fewer than 1,200 positions over the next five years.

Gamma Iota Sigma, the insurance industry’s lone national professional fraternity, has active local chapters in just 50 of the 3,000 or so higher education institutions in the U.S. offering four-year degree programs. This means insurance is available as a course of study in just one out of every 60 colleges and universities across the country. In 2014, the top 20 schools offering insurance as a major had roughly 3,400 undergraduate students enrolled in those programs collectively. If the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ projections are correct and our industry will have about 200,000 jobs to fill within five years, there won’t be enough insurance graduates to fill the job vacancies left by those who are retiring, let alone the new positions.

To bridge this impending employment gap, our industry will need to look to other non-insurance graduates to fill the void. For some of these individuals, insurance will provide a challenging and rewarding career, but for others it will be an option of last resort. The best and brightest of those pursuing other fields of study will likely have found homes in their chosen career paths. Insurance will get the leftovers. If the insurance industry is to continue to evolve and improve at the same rate as those we insure, something will need to change.

The Lesser of Two Evils

In recent years, a great number of studies have been published on the attitudes, values and work ethics of millennials. A 2011 report issued by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Millennials at Work; Reshaping the Workplace, indicates personal development opportunities, organization reputation, work/life balance and opportunity to make a difference are some of the key factors millennials consider when choosing a job. Compensation was also a factor but was not among the top three criteria millennials used to make career choices.

The insurance industry would seem to meet most, if not all, of the essential criteria millennials use to judge prospective employers. There is an enormous opportunity for personal development and advancement for young people entering the insurance industry over the next few years. Likewise, many employers in the insurance industry have moved toward flexible working hours and work-from-home arrangements to accommodate a better work/life balance for their employees. Lastly, the insurance industry undoubtedly makes a difference for many people. Insurance allows people to buy homes, operate businesses and recover from life-threatening injuries without fear of possible financial ruin. It even helps people care for their families after they die.

If not for one glaring exception noted in the PwC study, the insurance industry would appear to be a nearly perfect fit for millennials seeking professional employment opportunities. But to quote the great sage Ned Ryerson, that one exception is a DOOOZY. When asked if there were any specific industries millennials would not consider based on reputation alone, insurance ranked second behind only the oil & natural gas industry. Even Ned would have a tough time spinning that one to a prospective millennial. You may hate us, but our carbon footprint is really small… How’s that for a rebuttal and recruiting pitch?

School is Back in Session

The reality for most insurance industry recruiters is that the battle for millennial talent historically was lost before it even began. Not only do we not have an extensive network of colleges and universities providing insurance as a course of study for incoming students but most prospective millennial candidates decided against insurance as a potential career option long before they even chose a college to attend. If the insurance industry is to reverse this trend and attract talented youth, we will need to develop a strategy to engage young people before they begin pursuing a profession.

Traditional career days and fairs at most high schools and colleges generate a relatively high attendance but typically offer little in the way of meaningful interaction with individual students. The likelihood of convincing someone to consider an insurance career in a two or three minute conversation is minimal. A guest lecture lasting 30 minutes (or more) provides much better odds. Many high schools now offer business classes as electives to their students. Some of these schools will occasionally invite guest lecturers from local businesses to speak in their classrooms. A guest lecture that presents an insurance career as a positive and challenging opportunity could be the first introduction to a rewarding career path for some students.

See also: Future of Insurance: Risk Pools of One  

Not sure if your local high school offers business classes as part of the curriculum or if they allow guest lecturers into their classrooms? Why not pick up the phone and ask? We call on prospective clients nearly every day asking them to place their business with us. Shouldn’t we put forth the same effort to secure the future of our industry?

Supporting existing college insurance programs will also be a critical component to securing top notch talent in the future. For companies that want to participate in scholarship and grant programs without the administrative responsibilities of operating those programs, there are options available. Organizations like the Spencer Educational Foundation provide scholarships from donor companies and individuals to students pursuing careers in risk management and insurance. These scholarships provide real incentives for talented students to choose insurance as a career. Individuals can likewise help aspiring college graduates by participating in mentorship programs that pair graduating students with experienced professionals. Having a mentor available may make the transition from college to professional life easier and possibly improve the chances of those students remaining in the industry for the long term.

Lastly, while there are only about 50 colleges and universities with established insurance programs nationwide, that leaves about 3,000 opportunities to develop new insurance degree programs. It is likely that at least a handful of the multitude of retiring insurance professionals may simply be looking for a change of scenery rather than a complete departure from the working world. A new career as a college professor could be an option for some. If just one college in every state were to create a small staff of adjunct professors from the pool of retiring insurance professionals, the number of colleges in the United States offering insurance as a degree program would nearly double. This wouldn’t eliminate the talent gap on its own, but as Ned Ryerson would likely agree, it sure as heckfire would be a step in the right direction. Am I right or am I right?

4 Firms That Understand Millennials

It’s no secret that millennials don’t care much for insurance companies. In fact, recent Bain & Co. research found that 80% of millennials say they would move their insurance business to new entrants that are capable of creating and delivering more value than incumbent insurers, leaving incumbents especially vulnerable to insurtech startups. But when it comes to millennials, what exactly is value, and how do insurance companies make good on it?

Over the last year, Cake & Arrow has been conducting research with millennials to help the industry better understand this elusive demographic, and in doing so to answer precisely this question. In our research, we found that when it comes to insurance, creating and delivering value for millennials goes far beyond price and convenience–the two areas where insurance companies have been especially focused as they invest in their digital transformation efforts. 2016 research (also by Bain & Co.) suggests that value exists in a hierarchy, and falls into four distinct categories: functional, emotional, life-changing and social impact. Price and convenience both fall into the functional category, the lowest level of the hierarchy, meaning that, while they are important (and, according to the hierarchy, prerequisite for delivering higher-level value), they fail to deliver the highest-impact value–emotional, life-changing and social impact.

When we studied millennials, one of our research hypotheses was that to deliver value at the highest levels means resonating with millennial values, that is, the important and lasting beliefs that influence their behaviors, attitudes and priorities. Our research identified three key values driving millennials: Community & Authentic Connect, Interdependency & Social Good, Transparency & Autonomy. Through a sequence of ideation, design and user testing, we were able to validate that insurance products that resonate with these values ultimately deliver more value (and higher-level value) to millennials than traditional insurance products, fundamentally changing the way they think about insurance.

See also: Overcoming Concerns by Millennials  

Looking at the industry at large, we found that there are a handful of insurance companies, mostly startups, that are taking these values to heart and designing solutions that not only address millennial needs and concerns but also resonate with their values to deliver value at the highest levels.

1. Eusoh

Eusoh actually isn’t insurance at all. It’s community-based cost sharing, offering an alternative to insurance. A small, little-known startup, Eusoh has built a cost-sharing platform for pet-related veterinary expenses. Unlike traditional insurance, Eusoh customers don’t pay monthly premiums. Instead, they pay a $10-a-month subscription fee to join a cost-sharing community group with like-minded pet owners (there are currently groups for Jewish Dog Lovers, Urban Dog Owners, Large Cats, LGBTQ+ Cat Lovers and more). Community members pay for their vet visits up front and submit veterinary expenses; these costs are then shared among the group, and members get reimbursed. Members are also able to see how their funds are being distributed among the group through a dashboard that displays all the different expenses submitted for different pets and how much money each member was reimbursed. Eusoh also promises significant savings to its members, with the average cost of traditional pet insurance being around $800 for 10 months and Eusoh averaging only $133.

What we like about Eusoh:

Traditional insurance isn’t all that different from Eusoh’s cost-sharing model. At the fundamental level, both are about distributing expenses and risks among a group of people to lower costs for everyone. The big difference is that, in traditional insurance, customers pay their monthly premiums, and, if they themselves don’t have a claim, they have no idea where their money goes. What we like about the Eusoh model is the way it surfaces the community aspect of insurance so that customers can see how their contributions are going to help others. In our research with millennials, we learned that being able to see and understand how the money they were paying to their insurance company was being used to help other members of their community made insurance feel more valuable to millennials, and more worth the money. By charging a subscription fee, and then only billing members for the actual costs incurred by the community, Eusoh is able to resist a problem that has long plagued the industry–customers feeling like their insurance companies are just trying to rip them off.

2. Life by Spot

Life by Spot offers flexible, short-term life insurance with one- to 30-day policies starting at as low as $7 a day. The insurance is geared toward travelers, athletes and other risk-takers. Life By Spot applicants are instantly approved, and there are few exclusions (Spot is like your cool older brother who “approves of the activities your mom wouldn’t”). While short-term life insurance might seem gimmicky at first, the founders see orienting life insurance around experiences (like skydiving or a surf trip to Brazil) rather than more traditional major life events (i.e., marriage and children) as a means of introducing millennials (who are increasingly prone to delaying traditional life events) to life insurance earlier on in their journey, creating a funnel for bigger life insurance policies down the road. Life by Spot also has plans to deepen its ties to outdoor and athletic communities with a new injury protection policy starting at $5 a day that would cover policy holders with high-deductible insurance plans who are injured up to the amount when their health insurance kicks in. Set to officially launch later this summer, the new product has already proved promising. The company recently soft-launched the product with the Austin Marathon with impressive results, offering the policy as an add-on to runners when registering for the marathon. While supplemental coverage like this is nothing new, the distribution approach is fresh and highly relevant to its target consumer.

What we like about Life by Spot:

Our research showed that people are more open to sharing costs and risks (as well as data and other information) when it is with a community of people they identify with. While Spot may seem niche, this is precisely what we like about it. We like that Spot takes a traditional product and spins it for a specific community, one with unique values, risks and behaviors. The spin on life insurance is more than just a marketing message (millennials can see right through this, according to our research); there is a change at the product level that corresponds with the values, risks and behaviors of this particular community, creating a sense of authenticity and trust in an industry where these things are increasingly difficult to come by. By making policy holders feel like they are involved in protecting a like-minded community and the kind of lifestyle this community values, Spot is able to create more value for millennial consumers, beyond what traditional insurers currently offer.

3. Toggle Insurance

Toggle is a new, millennial-focused insurance brand launched by Farmers Insurance late last year. Currently a renters insurance product, with adds-on like credit building and coverage for pets and side hustles, Toggle has plans to expand its insurance offering to create an entire ecosystem of modern insurance products geared toward millennials. The name Toggle refers to the customer’s ability to “toggle” different coverages on and off, and coverage levels up and down, to create completely customizable insurance that befits the individual customer’s budget, lifestyle and coverage needs.

What we like about Toggle:

One of the mistakes we see players in the insurance industry make is to assume that simply having a digital product is enough to capture millennial consumers. For these players, innovation often ends here – at direct-to-consumer digital products that, while making buying insurance simpler and easier, fail to deliver value at the highest levels. What we like about Toggle is that they understand that a digital product is simply a foundation. To deliver value to millennials requires going beyond digital. In fact, our research found that in the age of Facebook, data breaches and digital burnout, millennials are increasingly wary of new digital products, and autonomy and transparency are more important than ever to securing their loyalty and trust. Toggle takes both autonomy and transparency to the next level. Rather than simply packaging various coverages at different price points for customers to choose from, Toggle provides consumers with true autonomy, allowing them to select exactly which coverages they want to include (and those they don’t), and giving them control over precisely how much coverage they want. As far as transparency goes, the product goes above and beyond to ensure that customers are never caught off guard by any “gotcha moments.” Rather than burying limits and exclusions in the fine print, Toggle calls them out from the get-go and allows customers to “toggle” on more coverage where it might be needed.

See also: The Great Millennial Shift  

4. Jetty

Jetty is just one of a handful of new renters insurance startups geared toward millennials. Founded in 2015, Jetty has set out to not only make renters insurance easier, faster and more affordable, but to make the overall experience of renting simpler, safer and more accessible for everyone. What makes Jetty unique from other startups in the renters space is the way the company is going beyond insurance to solve the most pressing problems for renters. In addition to a renters insurance product, the company also offers Jetty Deposit, a way for renters to bypass the financial burden of coming up with a security deposit by paying a one-time percentage fee of the would-be deposit amount, and Jetty Lease Guarantee, a service by which Jetty will act as a renter’s guarantor, for a small percentage of the yearly rent. In May, the company launched Student Housing Express, which enables student housing properties to “instantly approve qualifying students who aren’t able to get a traditional guarantor.” While Jetty may not be the cheapest renters insurance on the market (most policies start around $9-10 a month compared with Lemonade’s $5), the company’s service offerings beyond insurance demonstrate an understanding of the more holistic experience of being a renter, building loyalty with renters before they even start thinking about insurance.

What we like about Jetty:

Jetty first caught our attention a little over a year ago when we learned about Jetty Deposit and Jetty Lease Guarantee. To us, these products appeared to be novel solutions to the significant financial hurdles facing millennials (about 70% of whom are renters) and unlike anything other players in the industry were doing. At the time, a lot of the millennial-related insurance products we saw on the market seemed to ignore the financial realities of millennials, many of whom are burdened with student debt, have little money saved (millennials under 35 have a median savings of just $1,500 ) and haven’t had opportunities to build credit. While many of these insurance products were catering to elite millennials with disposable income, when we surveyed millennials last summer, we found that the two greatest challenges they face are financial security and stability and uncertainty in the future. While insurance products can certainly help create more certainty, Jetty’s supplementary products truly address the challenge of financial security and stability in a way that few other insurance products are able to do, freeing up capital that might otherwise be spent on a security deposit to help millennials do things like build up their savings, pay down debt or save for a major life purchase.

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While all of these products boast seamless digital experiences that make buying insurance faster, easier and more convenient, what makes these four companies special isn’t fancy technology, low prices or convenience, but the way they connect with higher-order millennial values to offer tangible solutions to real-life problems, ultimately cutting through the digital din to deliver more value to millennial consumers.

To learn more about the insights from our millennial research, download our report, Millennials & Modern Insurance.

The article was originally published here.

Overcoming Concerns by Millennials

According to a recent article by Policy Genius, “The cost of college has skyrocketed over the last decade, resulting in $1.4 trillion of outstanding student loan debt. The burden of educational debt weighs greatest on millennials — those born between 1981 and 1996.

Not surprisingly, college debt is influencing their behavior and spending habits. Research shows millennials are holding back on buying homes and making other big-ticket purchases because they are afraid of taking on more debt. Millennial families are also postponing other financial outlays, such as life insurance, because of debt concerns, according to a recent survey by SE2.

Marriage and kids continue to be the life-changing events that trigger purchases of life insurance. As millennials buck the trend, insurers have to be versatile to adapt to their consumer tastes and lifestyles to capture this vastly untapped market segment.

Start with technology

Speed and convenience are increasingly critical to a good brand experience. Those raised as digital natives do not want to wait for several weeks for underwriting to size up an applicant’s risk. To be sure, a number of insurers have leveraged technology to accelerate the cycle time, but there is still far more we have to do. According to a recent report from Celent, cycle times for modest face amount carriers has dropped from 33 to 26 days, which is a solid improvement but still almost four weeks.

See also: The Great Millennial Shift  

Insurers rely on a mountain of public information — from motor-vehicle records to credit information to property records — to properly assess risk and price premiums. One late monthly payment on college debt can cause a credit score to drop, which could drive up premiums. What if price-sensitive millennials could offset the negative of a low credit score by sharing data from their Fitbit exercise app?

New York’s top financial regulator is taking a step in this direction by allowing life insurers to use data from social media and other nontraditional sources when setting premium rates. Through leveraging data available through electronic medical records and health claims data, more and more carriers are able to provide a fluidless underwriting experience without an APS (Attending Physician’s Statement). In the digital era, many of these digital natives are tracking everything from the food they eat to the number of steps they take every day. Our research shows that millennials might be more willing to buy insurance if their real-time health data could reduce premiums.

Create an authentic experience

Millennials are increasingly more discriminating about the firms they choose to do business with, showing a preference for companies that are authentic, ethical and committed to social good.

This partiality stems in part from the 2008 financial crisis when a shortage of jobs affected the employment opportunities for older millennials. Younger millennials witnessed the pain of parents losing their jobs or their homes, or both. The scary economic news sowed a pessimism about the future and increased their desire for transparency.

See also: Why Financial Wellness Is Elusive  

Big companies have had to scramble to adjust to shifting attitudes. Mass marketing through TV advertising is proving less effective. Companies that target millennials with creative experiential campaigns are finding greater success. The engagement can be online, too, through gamification, loyalty programs and reporting on daily activities and life events. Some of the more innovative insurance carriers have seem immense success partnering with financial technology startup such as Life.io and Vitality to create customer engagement programs that has led to reduction in lapse rates and opened up new cross-sell and up-sell opportunities.

Despite their financial concerns, we found that millennials value insurance and the peace of mind it provides. It falls upon the insurance industry to meet this generation where they are by creating tailored products, tools and processes that connect with how they live and consume today.

Life Insurance and Millennials

Recent research conducted by LIMRA found there is a $16 trillion gap in U.S. life insurance coverage – a good majority of which can be attributed to millennials. Millennials, anyone born between 1981 and 1996 (ages 23-38), are the least likely to carry life insurance – even if they are married and have children.

To investigate the discrepancy further, Hyland recently conducted a survey of more than 300 millennials from across the U.S. to learn more about millennials’ life insurance purchasing decisions, or lack thereof, by asking what compels them to engage with a life insurer. Our survey uncovered some interesting insights – most importantly, that millennials don’t exactly know where to start when it comes to life insurance.

Millennials are looking for help, and that’s good news. The bad news is they expect help via the channels they are already accustomed to – digital and social channels – which most life insurers haven’t adopted yet.

For life insurers, millennials are an untapped market, and they’re looking for innovative, digital-first experiences. Here are some tips life insurers can implement to help better position themselves.

Be a trusted adviser

Only 38% of the millennials surveyed said they carried a life insurance policy that covered all major expenses. Roughly 62% said they were uninsured or only carried life insurance through their employer.

Although we live in a world where information is readily available at the tap of the screen, millennials still seek experts to help them make the right purchasing decision. Some of the more innovative life insurers are at an advantage because they already have the right technology in place to offer information and fully digital experiences.

See also: How to Resuscitate Life Insurance  

So how can you set yourself up for success with the millennial market? Success first involves assessing your current processes and product offerings – and seeing how you can evolve them digitally. Many insurers are investing in technologies, like content services platforms, to digitize information and processes, streamline operations and offer the best service possible. Many of these systems integrate directly with core line-of-business processes to ensure a digital experience from the initial request for information through policy acceptance.

Expedite the process

The survey found that 45% of respondents prioritize other financial goals over life insurance. Of that, nearly 25% said they haven’t even considered purchasing a life insurance policy, and 6% think the process is outdated and intrusive. Additionally, millennials believe life insurance premiums are far more expensive than they actually are – up to five times more expensive, according to a Life Happens report.

It’s clear that many millennials are uninformed about life insurance, although they know it is important and can give their loved ones peace of mind and financial protection. Insurers can help millennials by meeting them where they are. This means reimagining current business processes and designing a digital model by harnessing the right technologies.

An important aspect of digital transformation isn’t just to recreate a paper process in digital form. Map the process and imagine how you can transform it with electronic workflow and automated notifications to keep the process moving. This will meet millennials’ expectations for quick access to information and even quicker processes.

Eliminate complexity

One respondent said, “Life insurance feels very complicated and difficult to learn. If they could ‘dumb it down’ and show how policies/payments/industry worked, it would be so helpful.” Education was another major theme that came through the survey. Becoming a modern life insurer means becoming both more engaging and more informative. Life insurers need to move beyond old tactics, like cold calls and mailers, and start using technology like chatbots driven by AI.

See also: Digital Distribution in Life Insurance  

Content services platforms help support additional digital transformation goals by fueling life insurers’ ability to engage with the customer, learn about their needs and provide them with products and services they want – faster than ever. Capabilities like intelligent automation technology can anticipate the needs of both users and customers to drive automated processes – helping employees focus on high-value tasks and develop more meaningful conversations.

Millennials are a largely untapped market for life insurers. Hyland’s recent survey found that millennials need a better guide to help them along the way – from education through policy selection. Insurers that are adaptive, flexible and innovative are at an advantage over competitors that are stuck in their ways. By embracing and investing in digital transformation technologies, like content services, life insurers can fill the gap and better reach millennials. Providing them with easy, secure and complete access to information, anytime and anywhere, will facilitate more responsive and meaningful interactions. In turn, these technologies streamline processes, lower costs and improve overall experiences for customers – traits that are appealing to every market.

The Great Millennial Shift

Until recently, the typical insurance customer was a baby boomer or Gen Xer, but that is changing. As these two generations mature, millennials – those born between 1981 and 1996 – are rising to take their place.

This emergence of a new consumer cohort comes just at the right time for insurers. The free flow of capital and technology has created a Darwinian Economy where survival depends on an insurer’s ability to adapt. Insurers have been feeling the squeeze as deal volume declines and renewals shrink. Regulatory barriers and the push to modernize the customer experience only add to the pressure.

In this fierce battle for market share, millennials present a new source of growth. Millennial businesses, homes and families need insurance. In fact, millennials already account for 16% of vehicle insurance spending, 12% of health insurance spending and 6.9% of personal and life insurance. Those numbers will grow as millennials enter their peak earning years.

As more millennials are ready to purchase insurance products, what will they be looking for, and how can insurers capture their share of the millennial wallet?

Shaped by the Great Recession

To better understand millennials, consider the economic climate in which they were raised. Millennials grew up as the tech bubble burst and the Great Recession hit. Along the way, they amassed huge student loan debts. When they graduated, finding good secure employment was difficult.

The Federal Reserve Bank has summed up millennials’ economic position compared with prior generations. They have lower real incomes than earlier generations did at a similar age, fewer assets and a greater debt load.

While millennials may appear to be a poor target for insurers today, their fortunes will change over the next 10 years. According to Deloitte, total U.S. wealth is expected to balloon to $120 trillion by 2030. As the Silent Generation and baby boomer share shrinks from more than 80% to just over half, millennials will see a fourfold share increase.

How can insurers prepare to serve this new market? Millennials are frugal and savvy shoppers. They do their research before buying. Insurance for this generation needs to be transparent and economical. Provide plenty of information on your website, and consider pay-as-you-go, usage-based insurance.

See also: Millennials Demand Modern Experience  

Millennials at Work

Millennials have been tagged as lazy and entitled but are more likely just misunderstood. They have a better work ethic than they are given credit for and are more financially aware than prior generations. As children of the tech boom and the Great Recession, they value entrepreneurship and the need to prepare for disaster. These experiences, above others, will drive their future insurance preferences.

In the small business world, millennials may be the most insurance-needy generation ever. Morgan Stanley and the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) estimate that, by 2020, millennials and Gen Xers will collectively own more than 60% of U.S small businesses, up from 38% in 2016. Millennials are emerging as a new source of growth for small business insurers.

What will attract millennial business owners to an insurer? Start with a digital customer experience. Morgan Stanley and BCG project digitally underwritten insurance will grow from $4 billion to $33 billion by 2020. They say, “going digital may be expensive and painful at first, but in the long run it will save time, cut costs and allow insurers to better tap the dynamic and growing opportunities in the small-business market.”

Millennials also value simplicity. Morgan Stanley suggests making “products less complex, with easier-to-understand terms and a less cumbersome claims process.”

The Tech-Native Generation

Millennials are the generation of instantaneous chat, purchase and socialize. From research to communicating, they are fundamentally different than their generational predecessors. Texting and smartphones are second nature.

For insurers, this means traditional channels may not be enough to engage millennials. They are online consumers and are more likely than any prior generation to purchase through a connected device. A recent study found that 85% of millennials own a smartphone, and 53% prefer to use it to shop online.

The mobile experience you provide is critical. One study found that perceived mobile usefulness and ease-of-use influence shopping attitude and purchase intent among millennials.

A final factor to consider is transparency. Millennials are savvy shoppers and will expect to understand a product before they buy. In a study from Label Insight, transparency ranks at the top of customer loyalty factors for millennials, with 78% valuing it.

See also: 3 Reasons Millennials Should Join Industry  

Explain coverages visually and complement your online experience with easy access to agents for complex questions.

Concluding Thoughts

Millennials are the first tech-native generation. They grew up accustomed to online transactions and instant response. They expect all the services they use to act this way. They are frugal, smart shoppers and very brand loyal when they establish a preference. Responsiveness, transparency and economy are essential if you wish to address this market. Offer products that are easy to understand, priced fairly and sold digitally, and you will capture your fair share of this new growth opportunity.

Excerpted, with permission, from “The Insurer’s Millennial Playbook.” Request a copy of the complete e-book at https://www.instec-corp.com/millennial-insurance-form.