Paying attention to the LGBTQ+ community is simply good business and should matter to any independent insurance agency seeking to do better.
The LGBTQ+ alphabet soup may be overwhelming, and lots of people may consider the acronym and related terms overly “politically correct." The reality, however, is that young people—your future and current client base—are increasingly identifying as not exclusively heterosexual and not exclusively male or female. In fact, 1 in 6 adult members of Generation Z and 1 in 10 millennials identify as LGBT, according to a February Gallup poll.
Paying attention to these folks is simply good business and should matter to any company seeking to do better by doing good.
Being LGBTQ-inclusive is easier than you may think. Here are five tips you can implement today:
1) Make it obvious. Without using lots of rainbows, make it clear through your marketing that you welcome LGBTQ+ customers. One way is to create an anti-discrimination and equality statement and add it to your organization's website. For example, “X Agency does not discriminate on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc."
If you have a storefront, go to Opentoall.com and sign the pledge that you welcome LGBTQ+ customers. They'll send you a window decal you can display in your storefront.
2) Educate your team on LGBTQ+ inclusion. After you've made it obvious that you welcome LGBTQ+ customers, fulfill that promise. Make sure each member of your team gets trained on LGBTQ+ issues, including what it means to be transgender and nonbinary. More folks are identifying outside the male and female boxes, and it's important not to ask unnecessary personal questions or make assumptions about someone's gender identity.
If your business pledged to welcome customers, but then has a team member who offends someone who is LGBTQ+, you haven't kept your word.
3) Never make assumptions about a person. For example, if you're meeting a prospective customer who's a man and he has a wedding ring, don't assume he's married to a woman. Keep your questions open-ended and follow your customer's lead.
4) Include pronoun identification. In non-governmental forms, such as registration forms, offer options for third gender and gender-neutral honorifics, such as Mx.
If your customers fill out any forms, including contact forms on your website, consider asking folks to share their pronouns. If you have any forms that collect gender information and that are not governmental, consider adding a third gender option. This is a proactive approach to being inclusive and sends a signal to LGBTQ+ customers that you proudly welcome them.
5) Vet your resource list for LGBTQ+ openness. As an insurance agent, you may refer your customers to mortgage brokers, home inspectors, plumbers, electricians and more. Have honest conversations with those business owners to verify their receptiveness to serving your LGBTQ+ customers so that you can pass referrals that are fully vetted. It would reflect negatively on you if you referred a same-sex couple to a realtor who then showed prejudice toward them.
These tips will help you authentically build trust with LGBTQ+ customers. If you follow them carefully, you'll build loyal LGBTQ+ customers for life—customers who know you have their back and will take good care of them and their families.
Bernadette Smith is the CEO of Equality Institute.
Is your business LGBTQ+ inclusive? Take the Equality Institute's quiz today.