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Insuring the Millennial Generation

Baby boomers begot Generation X, which in turn produced the Millennials – otherwise known as Gen Y. Every generation gains a new moniker, gleaned from a vast generalization of their traits. For those born between about 1980 and 2000, the term describing them is “Millennial” or, sometimes, “Gen Y.” However, this group seems less about numbers (and ages) and more concerned with personal mindset and philosophy. Millennials make up a huge part of the economy, but their personal economics are quite different from previous generations. They respond to relationships better than they do to informational reports and really seem mostly focused on wanting happiness. So, how does this translate to creating a successful marketing campaign targeting this generation?

What is Up with the Millennial Generation?

Princeton Survey Research Associates International issued a report revealing that almost a quarter of the 18 to 29 year old demographic has no health insurance, compared to those over the age of 30, 88% of whom have health insurance. Millennials also tend to lack other types of insurance, from car insurance to renters or home insurance. Explanations for why this is abound:

There are several explanations for millennial behavior.

  • Over-protected childhoods removed any feelings of fear, which is a major motivator for purchasing insurance.
  • According to Pew Research Center, millennials are low on social trust, and while optimistic about the future, they face serious economic hardships despite high education levels.
  • They are smart, tech-savvy and do not respond to established advertising and marketing methods.

In addition to the countless other possibilities, the fact remains that millennials approach the concept of insurance in their own special way. However, within the group, there are some delineations. A USAToday article quoted psychologist Kit Yarrow as saying that young men feel invincible for a longer period than young women do: "All young people have a sense of invincibility, but women understand earlier than men do that it isn't true."

Approaching the Gen Y Demographic

Selling millennials on the idea of insurance is no easy task. They know their way around technology, and lack the fear of the unknown common in so many other demographic groups. Perhaps it really is because of “cushy” childhoods filled with access to so many amenities, so that they expect that, no matter what happens, everything will all work out. In reality, the reasons for this group’s behavior are much more complicated. On top of this, not all millennials are the same. They have different income levels, different political affiliations, and different levels of financial sophistication. Each person may require a slightly different approach.

Do not sell insurance to millennials by fomenting fear. Instead, providing a little insight into how the real world functions may be the biggest favor you could do for a millennial. Provide real life examples of how purchasing different types of insurance will benefit them and help them be prepared and plan a successful and happy life in all aspects.  

Selling Insurance to Millennials

Convincing a millennial of the need for insurance requires speaking to them in their language. A report put out by VISA notes that this generation is the first that likely will not attain the same economic success as their parents, which influences millennials’ priorities and how they handle finances. Additionally, this group appears not to view money as a status symbol as much as previous generations so that matters such as insurance coverage do not rank as highly as some other expenditures.

There are ways to sell insurance to Millennials:

  1. Make a Connection

    • The best ways to reach Gen Y individuals and relay your message differs from other group. Forget TV and go with other options:
        • Facebook
        • Twitter
        • Other social media outlets
    • Be sure any message sent provides meaningful and useful information. suggests the best types of messages for connecting with Gen Y are short but not dry, and contain correct information, because this group will use technology to fact check.
    • Treat recipients as individuals. Canned, one-size-fits-all messages will not work, and this group spots such messages from a mile away.
    • Make it easy to access information on the product by providing great content on sites.
    • Give them a reason to trust you by helping them realize their future dreams rather than telling them how things were done in the past
  1. Sell the Product

    • Provide information suitable for each individual’s situation.
    • Develop a relationship rather than just courting a potential customer by educating them about insurance.
    • Millennials love free stuff about as much as any other demographic group, so consider throwing in some freebies.
  1. Make the Right Kind of Pitch

    • Emphasize the advantages of youth: the biggest advantage this group has in purchasing life insurance is their age and good health.
        • Explain how young people get into insurance coverage for very low premiums, as opposed older individuals taking out an initial policy when they are older.
        • Point out the power of good health in finding the right policy.


Insurance Needs for Millennials

So many Gen Y-ers feel they have so few assets that there is no need for insurance coverage. The truth is that one bad event could easily wipe them out and encumber loved ones as well. Set forth all the insurable areas of their life:

  • Home owners or renters insurance to cover loss of their belongings
  • Car Insurance to protect themselves (and others) in the event of an accident (and to keep them on the right side of the law)
  • Health insurance, because, no matter what they believe, they will become sick at some point
  • Life insurance, because no one is invincible, and if something happens to them, they should not leave behind any financial burdens (September also happens to be Life Insurance Awareness month, driven by the Life Foundation.)

Perhaps, with a few more years under the belts and a little more financial security, more millennials will seek out ways to buy insurance on their own. For now, they may require a little convincing about the benefits to them before making the decision to purchase different types of insurance coverage.

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