Research shows that having access to information does not necessarily mean more consumers will buy life insurance. In fact, even though information about life insurance is more accessible than ever before, LIMRA research reveals that life insurance ownership is at a record low, with 30 percent of U.S. households uninsured and 50 percent of household saying they need more life insurance.
LIMRA brought together focus groups of Gen X and Gen Y consumers to find out what companies can do to remove barriers and improve the buying experience.
In the report Seeking the Ideal Experience: How Gen X and Y Want to Buy Life Insurance focus group participants talked about their experiences while shopping for and/or purchasing life insurance. Their feedback was both positive and negative on the process and how it can be improved. When asked to discuss what an "ideal experience" would be respondents said:
Educate them … and give them time to decide. No matter how Gen X and Y consumers connect with the company, they want to make sure they have the information they need and the time to make a decision. Participants said they want financial professionals to act as an advisor or counselor rather than take the hard sell approach.
Build trust. While educating consumers goes a long way toward building trust, participants also said they want companies to listen to them. One participant said:
We would like a hybrid … I want to start the process based off of information I just learned [online]… Then I want to talk to someone in-person … You want to get that trust feeling, confirmation face-to-face.
- Gen X male, shopper, Minneapolis
Make buying more convenient. Different participants view different channels as convenient. Completing as much of the process as possible online when it suits the consumer's schedule is the choice for some. Others want to meet with a financial professional when and where they want. Still others prefer to speak with a financial professional on the phone or an online chat agent outside of normal business hours. Some participants, particularly Gen Yers, want to buy online.
Offer connection options. Participants said the type of information or service they want determines how they want to communicate with companies and financial professionals. It is essential to offer information online, by phone, through mail and email, and in-person. With 56 percent of Americans owning smartphones, offering information that is mobile-accessible is also critical. For companies, the online experience must be kept up-to-date and easy to navigate. One participant declared, "I am the customer; I should be able to get service any way I want it."
Create a better message. Participants say companies need to change the way they are selling the product. They suggest more focus on protection for loved ones and less emphasis on morbid and sappy images. Some Gen Yers say companies need messages that are more relevant to their situations:
I think most young people don't think that they need life insurance until they have a kid, but I don't think that should be the case. I have student loans that somebody will have to take care of … There should be some kind of option that is super simple for people who don't need huge life insurance plans.
- Gen Y female, shopper, Seattle
LIMRA held eight focus groups with 70 Gen X and Gen Y consumers who had seriously sought information on or purchased life insurance in the last 24 months. All participants have household incomes of $35,000 or more.