How Millennials Are Changing the Insurance Industry
Millennials are revolutionizing the insurance industry. Whether working as an insurance agent or buying insurance, the attitudes and preferences of millennials are having a profound effect on how insurance agencies will operate in the future.
The millennial generation is a tech-driven group raised on the internet. These young people have a distinctive way of viewing the world that differs greatly from older generations. By understanding who millennials are, how they behave, what they want and how they engage with people, the insurance industry will be in a better position to hire and retain these young people in the workplace – while also selling them insurance products. On the flip side, this will help keep young insurance agents happy and productive in their careers.
Who Are the Millennials?
The millennial generation generally refers to people who became adults beginning in 2000. More specifically:
- Millennials were born between 1980 and 1996 according to some sources, like the New York Times.
- Time magazine puts the millennial dates of birth between 1980 and 2000, while Newsweek reports the dates as between 1977 and 1994.
- Millennials, according to Forbes, had birth years between 1982 and 2004.
Regardless of the exact birth years range, millennials are also known as Generation Y. They are a group of people who grew up in the internet age and have different worldviews and priorities than previous generations.
According to Goldman Sachs, millennials are the largest generation in the United States, with 92 million people. Of the entire workforce, about 33 percent are millennials. This generation will grow to dominate the market in the coming decades. Wired reports that by 2030, the “hyper-connected, tech-savvy generation” known as millennials will comprise 75 percent of the workforce.
This is why it's so important that companies, including those in the insurance industry, understand the millennial generation.
Millennials have different outlooks when it comes to lifestyle beliefs, views and activities.
- Getting married and having children. Unlike older generations, millennials are reluctant to become homeowners. Instead, many prefer to live at home with their parents. This group is also delaying marriage and children, with the median age for first marriage being 29 for men and 27 for women. The number of people under 31 who are married and living on their own has dropped significantly since 1968.
- Purchasing of goods. Millennials are also not buying cars or other luxury goods in record numbers. Instead, they prefer to pay for access to products and services that they want or need. This is called a sharing economy. One example is car sharing.
As a generation as a whole, it's not important to millennials to own a house, car or even a television. However, millennials are comparison shoppers. They look for brand names and value, but still want the best prices available. Millennials take user reviews and social proof seriously when making a buying decision.
- Becoming and remaining fit. Good health is also important to millennials. They exercise, eat healthy foods, maintain a healthy weight and smoke less than other generations. Because of an affinity for technology, they also use apps to track, record and maintain their fitness training and levels.
To put it simply, millennials are tech-dependent. They grew up in the technology age with computers and the internet readily available. These digital nomads were – and still are – constantly being bombarded with ads, commercials and marketing materials from every corner.
A few statistics highlights the close-knit relationship between technology and millennials:
- NBCUniversal Media says an average millennial may spend as much as 18 hours a day on any type of digital media.
- The average millennial touches his smartphone 45 times each day.
- An overwhelming majority – 90 percent – believe technology fuels greater opportunity.
- More than 50 percent of millennials say they won’t take a job if the company has a “no social media at work” policy.
How Millennials Working in Insurance Are Changing the Insurance World
The millennial generation is changing the face of the insurance industry through its penchant for technology and social media. Young insurance agents want to see changes in how the insurance industry operates in terms of being more tech-driven.
Millennials also want to work for agencies that get on the list of best companies to work for. This means insurance companies have to make the improvements needed to attract young agents. Companies that can understand the needs and talents – and implement changes based upon these needs and talents – of millennials are in a much better position to get these young adults to work for them.
- Virtual Insurance Agency
Many millennials see the value of becoming a virtual insurance agent. This means they have the flexibility and convenience to work out of their homes instead of a storefront. Some virtual agents don't do any traditional marketing, such as direct mail or paper advertising, phone calls and face-to-face meetings.
Millennial agents depend mostly on website, email and social media sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter to connect with people and to generate new customers and business. As millennials grew up using the internet and devices for almost everything, they are adept and comfortable at using technology strategically – and often utilize technology as a means to conduct business above all us.
- Virtual Agency Startup
For the millennial who wants to learn how to be an insurance agent, there are a few options. Some millennials start their own virtual agency, while others seek jobs at agencies that allow telecommuting.
Still other companies help millennials set up a virtual insurance agency. When necessary, these companies also help millennials get their insurance licenses and maintain continuing education (CE) credits. These types of companies want self-motivated individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit. These millennials have control over their time and schedules with low overhead.
For the young insurance agent, technology is the catalyst for change. Millennials know technology helps people stay connected through online communities. The communities of consumers and agents go beyond the traditional 9-to-5 workweek.
Young agents also feel that using technology provides convenience, opportunity and business growth. Prospective customers have access to websites, social media and emails 24/7, so they can learn about an insurance company and its policies whenever they want. These younger independent agents are taking hold of the industry and forging changes so they can do exactly what they want to become successful.
Millennials are also finding innovative ways to use technology to push forward in the industry. Insurance companies can attract and keep millennials by redefining how people work. Millennials want flexibility in terms of how they work, where they work and when they work. Millennials are looking for the opportunity to create policies that affect the future of the company. They also want to help create new marketing plans.
That said, it can be difficult to find qualified millennials to be independent agents because many view the insurance industry as not very techno-centric yet. Many young adults don't feel the insurance industry uses technology very well.
For this reason, some millennials don’t see insurance as a viable career choice. However, aware insurance agencies try to change this by accommodating millennials in the workplace with technology and flexibility.
- Social Media
Millennials use social media a great deal and often enjoy having an online public life. The young agents are good at self-promotion and creating connections online. Social media is another method that millennials use to foster change as independent agents.
According to the 2012 Insurance Journal Young Agents Survey, these independent agents use social media in the workplace to build communities and relationships. The 512 respondents reported the following:
- 75.2 percent have a Facebook page
- 73.7 percent use LinkedIn
- 28.5 percent use Twitter
- 84.7 percent use an iPhone or other smartphone
- 44 percent use an iPad or other tablet device
- 10 percent write a blog
- Relationship Building
All successful insurance agents need to build relationships. However, younger agents view relationship building in newer ways. For example, many insurance agencies have a FAQ (frequently asked questions) page. However, younger agents are turning that same content into infographics, blog posts or videos to engage potential customers.
Another way to build relationships is by branding the agent in addition to the insurance agency. Young agents often have their own websites outside of the company website.
Some agents also started blogs focusing on some aspect of the insurance industry. These methods help to establish the agent's brand and set him apart from other agents. A blog is a great way to add a personal touch to an insurance niche, while also helping solve problems for customers. Blogs also build trust and credibility with potential customers who read them more likely to buy.
Many millennials understand how valuable a blog can be in building online relationships. These methods of branding allow prospective customers to see young agents as individuals and not just as employees of an insurance agency.
How Millennials View and Buy Insurance Is Changing the Insurance World
The insurance industry is changing as a whole due to millennials. The way this younger generation buys insurance affects insurance companies in three distinct ways: Millennials aren't very engaged, they rely on their family with the insurer and they primarily purchase their insurance policies online.
- Millennials Are Disengaged With Insurers
When a generation is engaged, its members often have a primary insurance company. They are less fixated on price, purchase more insurance and buy a wider variety of insurance products than those who are not engaged. These older generations are usually long-term customers and even recommend the insurance agency to family and friends. This is all good news for insurance companies.
However, because millennials are often disengaged, insurers have to find ways to engage with the younger generation to continue the agency's future growth.
Millennials grew up surrounded by advertising and promotions, so they are more skeptical of them. This means that this generation often looks to others for recommendations, whether it is from family, friends or social media.
- Millennials Purchase Insurance Policies Online
According to a Gallup Panel, millennials are twice as likely – 27 percent vs. 11 percent – to purchase an insurance policy online than are other generations. If this trend continues, insurance company will have to change the way they interact with younger customers.
However, there is a problem with online insurance purchases. Millennials as a group are least satisfied with their online experiences. This means insurance agencies have to improve the user experience to keep millennials engaged. By taking these steps, insurance agencies can build better relationships with the millennial generation.
- Millennials Rely on Family Ties
Many millennials are more likely to choose an insurance agency that their family uses. The young people grew up being covered under a family member's policy, so they often choose their family's agency when it comes to finding an insurance company. Because of customer loyalty, insurance agencies can reach millennials through their parents. Families influence the choices millennials make when buying insurance.
How Millennials View Insurance
Most millennials are delaying buying homes, so there is little need for homeowner's insurance. The same is true of car insurance, because many millennials aren't purchasing cars in record numbers either. However, renters' insurance is important to have and many see the value in it, especially since it's often affordable.
Another important area of insurance is life insurance. According to a 2015 study conducted by Limra, an insurance consulting and research firm, less than 20 percent of adults aged 18 to 34 said they were likely to buy life insurance. Because millennials are getting married, buying homes and having children later than previous generations, they are also postponing purchasing several types of insurance products, including life insurance.
How Insurance Agencies Attract Millennials
Insurance agencies need to understand what millennials are looking for, and how they are different from the current customer base. Once agencies acquire this understanding, they can uncover effective ways to approach the younger generation.
Many employers are growing on the idea of bring your own device, because so many millennials are tethered to their smartphones, tablets and laptops. Because young agents care about a good workplace environment, are less likely to tolerate hostile workplaces and are more likely to share their displeasure across social media outlets, insurance companies are striving to improve the work culture to keep these young agents.
The vast majority of millennials feel insurance companies will evolve by creating a work culture that is conducive to attracting younger agents. They are looking for positions in agencies that provide a variety of benefits that have an impact on their lives. Millennials care about a work/life balance more than previous generations.
The insurance companies of the future have to make the effort to provide what millennials need as employees, including being a fun, but professional place to work. In addition to using technology to improve productivity and efficiency in the workplace, many insurance agencies now offer the following benefits that make them some of the best agencies to work for millennials.
These benefits include:
- educational courses about insurance
- promotion of continuing education insurance credits online
- paid time off for volunteering
- maternity packages
- 401(k) plan
- child care centers
- tuition reimbursement
- unlimited sick days
- various workplace amenities
A few ways insurance agencies can improve engagement with millennials include:
- keeping private information safe online
- making it easy to find answers to questions
- offering the online services millennials want
- ease of website navigation
- ease of online payment
- ease of making account changes
- easy access to insurance policies.
As the largest generation, the behavior of millennials has an impact on the insurance industry. It's essential for insurance agencies to invest in new ways to pursue millennials both as customers and as employees. As time passes, this generation will be the main source of insurance buyers. Insurance agencies have to embrace the changes that are taking place and expand on them to keep millennials engaged.
Choose StateCE as Your Insurance CE Program Provider
Whether you are an agency looking for insurance continuing education classes to offer your agents or are an insurance agent looking to obtain continuing education credits to maintain your license, be sure to check into StateCE’s insurance CE classes.
StateCE’s insurance CE classes are written by insurance industry experts who know the unique licensing and educational requirements for your state. Classes are also conveniently available online, allowing you to study at home, at the office or virtually anywhere.