Recognize the varying needs of different generations of consumers to take a tailored approach.
The sudden and catastrophic nature of the coronavirus pandemic jolted consumers awake to the crucial importance of life insurance and a holistic financial plan. With many Americans experiencing the financial implications that traumatic life events can bring, nearly half are without any or an appropriate level of life insurance.
However, it's crucial for the insurance industry to help close this growing protection gap by recognizing the varying needs of different generations of consumers—from millennials to baby boomers—and understanding how to serve them in different ways to ensure they're covered for life.
Closing the protection gap requires educating consumers and taking a tailored approach. Different generations' misconceptions about life insurance can discourage individuals and families from purchasing policies. While some individuals may think they're too young to consider coverage, others may believe that life insurance is too expensive or that policy terms are too rigid.
To set the record straight with clients, agents must explain how each type of life insurance aligns with their specific needs and create a plan for the best path forward. Once this is established, advisors and agents must also cater their service model to meet their clients' preferences and expectations.
Here are a few tips to consider when working with specific client groups:
Millennials: Use digital tools. Deliver instant gratification and take a hands-off approach. In general, millennials tend to prefer independence, sourcing information on products digitally and adapt to new technology quickly. Educate them using online calculators, checklists and quoting tools, but also guide them through the process to ensure they are using the correct tools and looking in the right places.
Generation X: Use data. Offer multiple scenarios, including a worst-case, and provide information and research based on facts and statistics. Gen Xers appreciate full disclosure when weighing options, which ultimately gives them a sense of maximum control. Stay connected after the sale because they also value trusting relationships.
Baby boomers: Make it personal. Create face-to-face opportunities and get to know them personally—remember their family's interests, birthdays and hobbies. Boomers appreciate professionalism, experience and accreditations, and prefer to envision a holistic, big picture long-term life plan.
The agent of the future is a proactive advisor in a digital world with less paperwork, better sales tools and simpler processes. Advisers who can use digital tools, build trusted relationships and cater to different generations' needs will be well-positioned to boost consumer confidence in purchasing life insurance.
The life insurance industry plays a vital role for families and individuals. Through education, consumers will better understand the value coverage provides. Agents and advisers can help close the protection gap by making sure consumers are properly aware of how they can be protected.
Tim Heslin is president of AIG Life US.
This material is general in nature, was developed for educational use only, and is not intended to provide financial, legal, fiduciary, accounting or tax advice, nor is it intended to make any recommendations. Applicable laws and regulations are complex and subject to change. Please consult with your financial professional regarding your situation. For legal, accounting or tax advice, consult the appropriate professional.