This Lowdown provides you with a perspective on the report Insuring Millennials: The Most Underinsured Generation, a report added to the Carrier Management Research & Trends site this week. This report was written for the insurance carrier audience, addressing the unique characteristics of the Millennials and marketing challenges being faced, but the advice has obvious implications for agents as well.
This report talks of “destruction in the distribution channel” and offers the following advice:
“…insurers should think about strategic ways to strengthen and re-purpose their human capital, turning agents or field reps into higher-level consultants who can provide new kinds of value to the end-customer…”
In order to gather some insights into this ‘new kind of value’ and how best to reach your Millennial clients, I reached out to the lead research analyst on the report, Nick Chadwick of Fuel Cycle.
Here are the highlights:
(Question 1) What information would you extend to the Agent Audience that can help them identify their continued value in this process and how can they evolve with the changing trend and ‘destruction of the distribution channel?’
(Answer) When it comes to Millennials, engagement is key. This is a generation who has grown up with cell phones in their hands since high school, and are plugged into social media continuously throughout the day. It’s paramount to test out the social media market, see which platforms work, and always evaluate why they work or not with your customers. Working in market research, we uncover many insights in Millennial market pertaining to the insurance industry, where findings are often unexpected. Never underestimate the value you can get from engaging with your clients, and continuing research on what makes them tick.
(Question 2) If you could suggest one form of social media that an agent should focus on in order to better engage with Millennials, which would it be and why?
(Answer) Although this varies, I think Facebook and Twitter are generally the social media platforms that perform better with insurance content. Instagram and Snapchat lend themselves more to entertainment purposes, whereas Facebook and Twitter tend to include more informational material. The main goal of using social media is to engage with your Millennial clients. Although different forms of insurance may require different platforms depending on the types of content being shared.
(Question 3) If you could suggest one activity for an agent to ‘create a customer experience’ for a Millennial, what would you advise? What type of ‘event’ would engage them? ( i.e. a sponsored social event; a sports event, an educational experience etc.)
(Answer) I think any event that brings a group together informing them of the importance of insurance would be successful, whether in-person or online. The bulk of the Millennial generation is just entering professional careers and likely don’t understand the importance of insurance and retirement funds for their future. As we shared in this white paper, Millennials are also prone to wanting all information at their fingertips – or their smartphones. Combining information sessions that alert Millennials via their smartphones would see the most traction. For example, agents should set up educational experiences or sponsored events while engaging Millennials on their smartphones through text or mobile app usage.
According to a 2017 study by Eventbrite, Millennials are event goers, and the trend is rapidly increasing. Specifically, 9 out of 10 surveyed said they had attended at least one paid event in the last year, up 82% over the last 3 years and generally prefer ‘experiences over things.’ They seek engagement and face to face experiences to validate that which they have learned. The study reported Millennials say live events help them gain perspective beyond what they read online (74%) — and help make more of an impact, too (75%).
Consider how you can engage your Millennials in an event that allows you to convey your authenticity, professionalism and expertise (qualities they value) while embracing their community. Where are they gathering? What are they doing? Check out your local MeetUps for outings and groups with specialized interests where you can concentrate your efforts. You need only search ‘trivia night’ to find a group of Millennials somewhere (okay, that might only work in my neck of the woods).
In closing, despite the market research which stereotypes the buying behaviors and tendencies of the Millennials, I encourage you to do your own research to determine what works best for each individual you encounter, regardless of the generation to which they are assigned. From discussions with the Millennial I have raised, she would never buy insurance off of an app or a website. She would use the internet to learn as much as possible, but would sit down with a professional she trusted to determine her needs.
How would she use social media? She would validate that you were authentic by cross referencing your LinkedIn to your website and seek you out on other social platforms to see how you represented yourself. She’d strongly suggest you add Instagram to your social media, so that you can portray yourself to her with images that reflect your values and interests. Yes, that is only one Millennial’s opinion, but I’m guessing each one sees things a bit differently and it’s worth having those face to face moments of engagement to find out.
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