Millennials get a lot of stick. Your average millennial is often accused of being lazy, of not working as hard as past generations, of lacking loyalty, and having the attention span of a gnat. In insurance, this translates into the widespread assumption that younger insurance buyers don’t want to spend time researching their insurance options and would rather buy the cheapest product in the easiest way possible.
In true myth-buster fashion, Liberty Mutual Insurance and Safeco Insurance have published a research study that contradicts the majority of these widely held assumptions about the millennial generation’s insurance patterns and preferences, especially when it comes to the independent agent channel. The research study shows that millennial insurance consumers’ views of insurance are largely aligned with older generations. Furthermore, the study suggests that millennials are not more price-focused than previous generations and that they want the ease, choice and advice that independent agents provide.
“There’s a lot of misconceptions about millennials in the market. Our research showed us that price is a key purchasing factor for consumers of all ages, not just millennials,” said Tyler Asher, president of independent agent distribution, Liberty Mutual Business Lines and Safeco Insurance. “In fact, 52% of millennials said they want the most comprehensive coverage for a good price. That’s a pretty common misconception that we dispelled through the survey – millennials are looking for good coverage and are trusting the advice that independent agents can provide.
“That leads into our second big finding which is that millennials want help to become better-informed insurance consumers. The survey found overall that millennials want to be well-informed and they want to understand all the coverages they have and how to use them. This desire stems from millennials tending to get married later, having deferred home ownership, and so having generally less experience with insurance. To highlight that, 52% of baby boomers described themselves as insurance savvy compared to only 34% of millennials, which means there’s a great opportunity for agents to really drive consumer education through this demographic.”
The millennials who responded in Liberty Mutual and Safeco’s research study were generally more worried about future risks and ‘what if’ insurance scenarios than the baby boomer respondents. This once again plays into agents’ hands, according to Asher, because it enables them to act out their true value proposition, which is to listen to concerns, talk through ‘what if’ scenarios, and explain how the whole insurance process works.
“When it comes to the ‘what if’ scenarios, we think that’s a great opportunity for agents to communicate with real-life claim examples,” said Asher. “Using a major hailstorm as an example, an agent can walk a client through their coverage, explain how the claims process would work, and talk them through some really tangible examples of things that could happen. Obviously, agents don’t want the conversation to be too negative, but if a client is concerned about those ‘what if’ worst-case scenarios, it’s a great opportunity for agents to step through specific examples.”
Another myth the Liberty Mutual and Safeco study breaks is the idea that millennials only want to work with other millennials or people similar to their age group. In fact, only 9% of respondents said they wanted their insurance agent to be close to them in age. When asked to describe their ideal agent, most said they wanted “someone who inspires trust” and is a “seasoned insurance professional,” Asher explained.
“Millennials are really looking for that expert advice given their relative insurance inexperience,” he added. “From my standpoint, to attract younger consumers, an agent’s ability to really listen, educate, and talk through some of those ‘what if’ stressful scenarios is a great opportunity.”