Naturally, the pandemic has led to an increased interest in life insurance, leaving the segment to keep up with the recent evolution of consumers mindsets. In the LIMRA 2021 barometer study, 31 percent of consumers surveyed said they are more likely to buy life insurance because of COVID-19.
One in eight North Americans were interested in purchasing life insurance for first time and in the millennial age bracket the number was one in four, making that generation the most likely group to buy life insurance for the first time.
Michael Stocks, VP and chief marking officer at Empire Life and presenting sponsor of Life and Health Advisor of the Year at this year’s Insurance Business Canada Awards (IBCAs) told Insurance Business that prior to the pandemic, millennials were the least likely demographic to purchase life insurance.
“Historically millennials have swayed to taking life insurance into their own hands, but that sentiment has changed,” said Stocks.
Regardless of age, COVID-19 forced Canadians to reflect on their own mortality and for the first time in 10 years, the LIMRA study showed life insurance was of greater financial concern than living expenses.
With an increase in purchasing intent, the industry was not ready to keep up with the demand for life insurance. Processing life insurance was initially hindered but improving electronic applications allowed advisors to meet clients needs.
“Our focus as an organization is on middle-income Canadians, which is where sales started to take off,” Stocks explained. “A number of carriers, including ourselves, increased our no-fluid requirements in order to allow more people to complete sales and because we had digital tools and digital practices in place to complete sales, many advisors came to us because our services were already available.”
According to Stocks, Empire saw its business double in the first half of 2021, and technology enabled strong growth moving into Q4 2021.
“With an increase in demand we had to implement more processes to have service level standards where they were pre-pandemic,” said Stocks. “We did a number of things technologically like implementing automated underwriting and onboarding new talent.”
“From a processing perspective on the customer service side, we introduced automated processing which works around the clock to helps with speed and efficiency so we can do transactions in seconds,” he added.
Empire looks for improvements on a continuous basis and its 3D strategy allows the company’s overall value to be enhanced.
“First we’re focused on distribution and how can we support our partners and meet their needs. The second part is digitization and leveraging technology to improve efficiency for customers, and finally data, zeroing in on how to keep the customer satisfied to grow our business profitably.”
Many Canadians believe life insurance is more costly than it is, and Empire has also been working towards dispelling that myth and providing advisors with educational tools to correct that.
“Our priority is support individual advisors, but we also want to put the tools in place for people who want to do research online,” he said.
“We try to put content on our website for those who immediately want answers when they’re considering life insurance,” Stocks noted. “Meeting expectations to improve the process is critical to help our industry keep up with the times.”
Find out who went above and beyond for their clients at IBCA’s virtual ceremony on November 17 and 18.