Grow your Insurance Agency with Online Insurance Shoppers

Fran Majidi November 15, 2018
selling insurance to multiple generations

Selling Life, Home and Auto Insurance to Millennials, Gen Xers and Baby Boomers

Consumers are now conditioned to purchase many of the things they use in their day-to-day activities online. They go to Amazon and comparison shop for clothes, books, electronics, phones and more. They visit a variety of travel sites to find the best deals on hotels, rental cars and airline tickets. They download music, shop for furniture and mattresses, do their banking and pay their bills online. Consumers access apps and websites via mobile phone, tablet or desktop computer. When selling consumers insurance, it is important to understand generational differences and similarities among Millennials, Gen X-ers and Baby Boomers so you can continue to profitably grow your book of business.

Millennials only know the ‘Internet of things’. They came of age with iPhones and Androids. Amazon is synonymous with shopping while paper currency and coins are something to be avoided. They use online chat, texts and email for customer service and prefer to get things done almost entirely online. They own one or more phones and tablets and are comfortable typing a long email or message with their thumbs rather than a traditional keyboard. Speed and convenience are utmost importance to millennials, who are short on patience and want things yesterday. To them, next day delivery with Amazon Prime is too slow, because they are the ‘NOW’ generation. They came of age during the financial/housing crises, are burdened with student loans and are looking to enjoy life today.

Gen Xers came of age with IBM compatible computers and Macs. They use computers and mobile phones in their daily life but still use their phone to make voice calls in addition to texting and accessing the internet. They have a desktop computer or laptop at home and work. Gen Xers sometimes carry cash and will still go to Best Buy, Costco and Target to check out a new phone or gadget. In general, they go directly to a well known brand’s website when they know what they are looking for. Gen Xers came of age during the dot com boom and bust and many were hurt during the financial and housing crises. They have lived through several financial highs and lows and as a result are wary of big promises and claims.

Baby Boomers were born post WWII and are now at the beginning of retirement or very close to retiring. Many Baby Boomers are going online more often out of necessity more than anything else. They still have one or more “landline” phones in their home, they write checks and only started to text as a means of communicating with their children and grandchildren. They still check their mailbox to see what mail they receive on a daily basis. They go shopping at the mall and reluctantly go online to find a size or product that isn’t available in the store. They use their mobile phone to talk with their family and for “emergencies.” Many baby boomers lived through economic downturns and place a high value on saving money and protecting what they worked hard to earn. Their parents lived through the Great Depression and WWII, the turbulence of the '60s and the oil crises of the '70s. They don’t fully trust financial institutions and still value having a pocket full of cash.

When looking at how to sell to these various groups, one common theme becomes evident: trust. Trust comes in a number of forms, such as allowing the consumer to work and communicate with you in a manner in which they are most comfortable. You never want to force the consumer to work with you in a way that you are most comfortable. If a consumer emails you, you should do your best to answer their questions in writing, rather than reply back encouraging them to come into your office or to call you. If they send you a text, you should reply back with a text.

The second is more about how you interact and communicate with the insurance shoppers. All of the aforementioned groups have experienced financial ups and downs to varying degrees and expect someone they are doing business with to answer all their questions. They also want that person to provide as little or as much information as they want.

The third thing is to have an online presence. Comparison shopping websites, like SmartFinancial, helps consumers compare insurance quotes from a large number of carriers to find the best rate. Working with companies like this is essential for selling to Gen Xers and Millenials. For Baby Boomers, it is less important.

Allowing insurance buyers to purchase their insurance with a variety of forms of payment is essential. You should accept credit and debit cards, bill pay, Apple/Google or Amazon pay, Paypal, checks and more. The easier you are able to do business with, the more insurance buyers will want to work with you.

The last issue related to trust is having a “live” person to speak with, if they want or need it. Some companies are now offering the ability to buy insurance end-to-end without speaking with a live agent or insurance expert. This is important for some Millennials but for most Gen Xers and Baby Boomers, who want to be able to speak with an agent. They may have questions or concerns about being adequately covered, how they can minimize their premium or a whole host of other questions. They don’t want to be directed to some online Q&A that doesn’t allow for follow-up questions and they don’t want to be on hold forever to get a simple question answered.

Understanding the differences and similarities of the 3 largest generational groups will help you to be more successful in selling insurance. Implement these strategies and tactics and you will find greater success selling home, life and auto insurance.