Chris's Note: I asked Clara Stahl, RiskGenius Marketing Analyst, to write about how she views insurance. While there are many articles claiming to understand millennials and insurance, I thought it would be helpful to hear directly from a millennial. Her message is simple: the traditional manner of selling insurance won't work anymore. Make sure you read to the end, where Clara provides tips for all insurance agents selling to millennials.
As a person in my twenties, I do not have many insurance needs. I have my health insurance plan, my renters insurance, and soon I will be needing an auto-insurance policy. Despite my current needs, I cannot tell you the countless times I have gotten unsolicited phone calls and emails from agents and insurance companies (my current providers and others) about things that I am not yet ready to buy.
My renters insurance agent sends me Christmas cards, and a card on my birthday, he also calls me to see if I need any other type of insurance, which I always respond "no" to (or dodge his call). My insurance agent is a really nice person and is extremely helpful. However, I am not at a stage where I feel I need life insurance or to buy a house, which would mean I need homeowners insurance. The only thing that I am really wanting from my agent is my policy-renewal information once a year.
I usually pay and view my account details online, so I would prefer our correspondence to be through email or online, but that is not usually the case. As a millennial with multiple jobs and a full-class load, I feel that the current style of selling insurance and communicating is a out-dated.
Often-times the main focus of agents can be to grow sales, which is not a bad thing. However, the way that you go about growing sales, can be very important to the success of your business. The traditional sales model of pushing generally follows this process: "push" a large number of contacts or leads through a sales funnel, lose some along the way, and finally a few remainders come out the end and generate revenue. This sales model is rapidly becoming obsolete, particularly as insurance agents try to apply it on my generation.
Current insurance buyers today do not want to be "sold." Instead they want to do their research, and when they find a suitable company whom they trust, then they will engage in a sale. This is especially true for the younger generation of insurance buyers, who want to be engaged in the selling process. Millennials are extremely well-connected with use of social media, apps, and the internet. Due to these connections, a bad experience or perceived inaccuracy can sometimes be magnified on a large scale through these channels. When building a relationship with the younger generation it is much more important to say you can't do something and apologize than to promise on something you won't be able to deliver later on.
“Many other buyers – especially younger ones – want an approach that is more self-directed, independent and flexible.”
This self-directed independence means that it is very important for insurance companies and agents to have a good online presence that is readily available for users to access. Millennials want value that is useful to them when solving their specific problems, presenting new ideas, and sharing new information. By building knowledge, trust, dependability, and credibility, these consumers are more likely to use agent's advice in future buying processes.
With current user's unlimited access to all types of different platforms, and information, the traditional sales model is transformed into something that looks like the labyrinth below.
The push model is a small part of the current consumer’s buying process. Most buyers “pull” information from multiple sources of information, such as, web sites, personal connections and social media. These interactions usually involve the provider, through channels like the contact center, email, internet, and retail. Providers need to ensure that the history of a customer’s needs and relationship is passed on to every point of contact to create a seamless experience. This requires the implementation of a distribution management platform, that takes into account all of the user’s previous interactions across all channels, and recommends what actions to take based on all of this information in real-time.
It is imperative that provider’s use this platform because often-times, customers do not want sales and product offers that do not highly correlate to their needs and wants. Selling products that correlate to consumer's needs and wants are the core of the pull model, and one that is necessary to keep up with present-day consumers.
It is also important for providers to have value-added services, such as, advice about planning for the future of the client with their insurance needs. This can open a door that can increase sales. Cross-selling is how you might be able to build a relationship with a client while, based on your information about their needs, sell the the right kind of products for their current and future needs.
There are usually two types of cross-selling situations. Prospects who already own the product, and those who do not already own the product. For those who already own the product, it is important to follow-up and make sure they understand the benefits of switching to your agency. If you have a prospect that doesn’t already have this type of coverage, it is important to educate the consumer on why he/she might need the product based on current and future needs specific to the customer.
What I want from my insurance agent:
- I want an easier way to understand what my policy means because I don't understand insurance jargon.
- I want to know how much it really is going to cost me when I go to the doctor.
- I don't like it when I get personal phone calls from my agent about the same thing every few months. Please just email me if you have a question or if you are trying to sell me something else.
- Sell me insurance that others in my age group actually have purchased, and tell me why they bought it.