10 things I learned at the LIMRA Life Insurance Conference…

I had the chance to attend the LIMRA Life Insurance Conference in Chicago last week. I picked up lots of information on consumer attitudes toward financial services, automation and robotics, genetic underwriting regulation, and a host of other topics. I also had the chance to see and speak with a few fraternal folks in the audience. And I met with LIMRA executives to discuss a potential educational partnership with the Alliance to get more fraternals to this dynamic event. Here are 10 things that I learned last week:

  1. Only about 20% of millennials say they want financial advisors – but that’s still 25 million consumers! 54% of millennials use social media to find an advisor and will check an advisor’s social media presence to verify that they’re “legit.” 40% of millennials want to communicate with an agent through social media.
  2. The level of angst over financial issues has dropped in past two years. That’s good news for the insurance industry because people are calmer and may be willing to address more non-emergency, long term planning issues. However, of the four major financial issues, life insurance is the lowest priority, behind health insurance, savings goals and living expenses. Agents should try to explain to consumers how life insurance can address those other three issues.
  3. When it comes to shopping for life insurance the trend is for consumers to do their research online and purchase through an agent. Simplified underwriting is becoming increasingly popular with younger consumers because it’s “fast and easy.” Remember, these folks are used to ordering an item from Amazon and having it shipped to them the next day!
  4. “Self-directed shoppers” (i.e. consumers willing to purchase online) look a lot like other shoppers, but they really want to be left alone while they shop. Conversations with family and friends are the number one reason they began to shop for life insurance. Many come prepared to shop after having talked to an agent, and there is a 50/50 split between use of a company-specific website and a site with multiple companies.
  5. These consumers view the Internet as being nearly twice as valuable a source of information as a financial professional. 50% of these consumers read online reviews of insurers and agents and 75% of shoppers bought from a company they knew, verifying that your brand is critically important.
  6. Online buyers enjoy the convenience and lack of sales pressure, and are younger, ethnically diverse, and comfortable with technology. They want to buy life insurance – but only 25% have a positive view of the industry, while 50% have a “not positive” view.
  7. Insurers have to use automation or we’re not going to make customers happy – it’s a “gotta have” to compete.
  8. Are your IT investments aimed at being a faster, cheaper company or a company that better serves its customers/improves customer experience? Better be both.
  9. Millennial consumers want the companies they deal with and the products they buy to be RELEVANT!!! Focus on earlier life events rather than waiting for them to buy a home and have kids. They have a need to save and pay off student debt.
  10. What millennials want is basically the same. How they want it delivered is different:
      • Be transparent — how advisors get paid, etc.
      • Be welcoming — they are afraid of meeting with an advisor
      • Be interactive — they want to be part of the process
      • Be conversational — no jargon
      • Be educational — help bring them along in an area they don’t know much about
      • Be clear with the ask — teach millennials to take action

 

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Comments

  1. Bill O'Toole : April 16, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Well said Joe!

  2. Thank you President Joe for the ten point review. As a REALTOR, primarily in residential listing and sales, you’ve hit on many of the same issues and points with which we in the real estate industry take serious interest. You’ve been a wonderful spokesperson and advocate for fraternal benefit societies, and I, as a Director on the International Board of Directors for Sons of Norway, appreciate your work very much.

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