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Attitude shifts across the generations are changing the conversations we need to have with customers about life insurance

Attitude shifts across the generations are changing the conversations we need to have with customers about life insurance 1

By David Vanek, CEO and co-founder of Anorak

In reaction to the financial uncertainty surrounding the pandemic life insurance has seen a spike in interest from customers across the generations. However, motivations and attitudes fuelling this rising demand vary across the age groups. What’s crucial for distributors is to understand these differing priorities, and how to best connect with audiences across different ages to ensure the right protection is in place for them.

Let’s take a look at how these attitudes differ and how you can boost engagement with life insurance products no matter what age your customers are.

Generation Z are keen but lack knowledge 

Unsurprisingly, Covid-19 and the events of the past year have amplified interest in life insurance products most notably from the younger age groups. There’s been a 60% jump in interest amongst Generation Z, as they show a greater awareness of their own financial liabilities and desire for financial emancipation. Key to connecting with this age group is addressing the overwhelming sense of confusion rife across Gen Z – 63% feel they need help working out how much cover they need and 8% are unsure if they have cover in place already.

Connecting with this audience through online resources is paramount, as they rely heavily on collecting research digitally before making policy decisions, including social media (30%).

Insurance distributors can leverage these connections by creating an engagement pathway online steeped in data, with a content focus on education, whilst incorporating social media elements to better connect with a demographic active on these platforms – such as advertising on Instagram, utilising its capacity for storytelling. Providing access to a personalised assessment and an educational journey also helps limit any confusion from the word go. A combination of relatable, personalised content and a simple-to-use service will not only help to inform Gen Z, but also importantly to reassure them too.

Millennials are engaged and worried about cost 

Millennials are another highly engaged age group for life insurance, with 71% having taken action to learn about financial protection policies in the past 12 months. Events relating to the COVID-19 pandemic is the main driver behind this interest with 58% citing it as their main motivation for getting cover in place, with an anxiety about surviving if work dries up for caring for family members if they fall ill underlying this interest.

Although they are the most likely of all age groups to already have life insurance in place (53%), understanding and education is still a barrier for Millennials.

Similar to Generation Z, they rely on collecting online resources to help find the right cover. However, the uncertainty they feel (59%) is tinged with the impact of significant life events, such as having children or buying a home, leading Millennials to also turn to family and friends for guidance on life insurance. This demonstrates the greater need for clarity around insurance costs and value amid competing financial demands and changing circumstances for customers within this age group.

Distributors should be sensitive to this need for an amalgamation of in-person and online guidance, and focus on how life insurance can help to protect a millennial’s financial well-being as they navigate new chapters of their lives.

Generation X are preoccupied with care 

Generation X are the squeezed middle, preoccupied with caring for their family. Of the 50% with cover, 35% have life insurance to make sure others are cared for, including children (22%) and aging parents.

Reflecting these burgeoning financial responsibilities this generation have to balance, there is a general concern amongst them that life insurance is too expensive: with 36% of people in this age group worrying about the cost of cover, and thus failing to see it as a priority purchase.

It’s key that distributors step up here, to show how life insurance can be a part of a financial plan that provides comprehensive care for the entire family. Advisors should think carefully about how they explain different levels of care to Gen X,  with a personalised assessment to help this age group align more closely with the affordability of any proposed cover.

Cynicism blocks baby boomers from benefits 

Baby Boomers don’t appear to struggle in understanding how life insurance works, but they do lack belief in its benefits: 61% currently have no life insurance in place, and 56% are not interested in finding out about it.

However, with ageing spouses, children and grandchildren to support, it’s unsurprising that 46% of Baby Boomers who do want life insurance, want it to ensure others are cared for (the most of any age category).

With a strong preference for face-to-face advice (57%), it’s likely that baby boomers will want to speak to an adviser before making a purchasing position, even if they have arrived at a certain policy through digital channels.

From a distributor’s perspective, it’s crucial to communicate the broader purpose of life insurance as a means to supporting their family financially when they need it most, to help to dismantle the widely held understanding within this age group that life insurance is unnecessary.

Each demographic has its own anxieties following the COVID-19 pandemic. But being able to anticipate what channels of communication might work best, and even what your audience’s fears, hopes and needs might be at the different stages of their lives will help to foster trust with customers for the long run.

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