Washington D.C. was the site for this year’s LIMRA Life Insurance conference. Over the course of three days, 35 workshops and four dynamic general sessions, key stakeholders discussed innovation opportunities and offered their predictions for the future of the life insurance industry. Building upon those predictions, Mintel has compiled four important marketing themes that have emerged in the life insurance industry:

SIMPLICITY

Life Insurance products are complex and that is not going away. Complexity provides security and protection, as well as additional features that offer value to consumers. But with an abundance of information available, the ability to simplify the message and overall customer experience is paramount. Part of the challenge is to package the product better – redesign the outside to be simple, keeping the insides complex. It is similar to the idea of a smartphone. Most owners don’t know all the intricacies of how it works, but they know how to use it and the importance of having one. If life insurers could figure out a way to make customers trust and use life insurance like they use technology maybe the same complex ideas of today would become the simple solutions of tomorrow.

RELEVANCY

With a reputation that is synonymous with words like “stagnant,” life insurers need to work to remain relevant in the eyes of the customer. This means embracing digital technology; in all stages of the customer experience. Research shows that smartphone sales have increased by 43% since 2012, with nearly 164 million units sold as of 2014, according to Mintel’s Mobile Phones US 2015 report. Smartphones owned about 80% of the mobile marketplace as of last year, which highlights the need for life insurers to appropriately adapt. Sales tools that are optimized for mobile, underwriting improvements that shorten cycle time, and customer resources that are easy to understand and available on all devices are just a few ways to better integrate digital. Don’t ignore these solutions: without change, an external competitor could come in and disrupt the industry altogether. Big box bookstores, video rental chains, and the music industry were all drastically changed by Amazon, Netflix, and iTunes and the insurance industry is not immune to the possibility of becoming irrelevant.

Life insurance companies decreased their direct mail volume by 14% between 2013-2014 while they increased social media usage by 38% from 2010-2013

LIFESTYLE

Segmentation is important, but are insurance companies approaching it in all the wrong ways? Instead of looking at demographics as in the past, life insurance companies should capitalize on opportunities to market to groups with similar lifestyles. As the number of channels to reach a consumer continues to expand, marketing differently to the digitally connected, the English-as-a-second language, or the on-the-go consumer will change. But these lifestyles don’t necessarily always align with one demographic segment. For instance, Millennials, often affiliated with the use of digital, aren’t the only age group that has embraced the trend. Baby boomers can be just as connected, and Seniors are the fastest growing segment of social media users. In fact, recent research revealed that life insurance companies decreased their direct mail volume by 14% between 2013-2014 while they increased social media usage by 38% from 2010-2013, as stated in Mintel’s Life Insurance US 2014 report. Lifestyle marketing allows insurance companies to demonstrate they understand how the consumer lives and communicates.

THE CUSTOMER

Who exactly is the customer? The life insurance industry has varied and complex distribution systems, and often all of the stakeholders are referred to as a customer of the insurance company. In actuality, these various stakeholders should be treated as business partners, so the focus of the customer experience is the true customer; the policyholder. Why is this important? Because adapting the mentality that agents and other distribution partners are part of the business enables more collaboration and innovation in all stages of the customer experience. It creates a greater sense of trust and dependability when all business partners have a stake in creating an enhanced customer experience.

Mintel’s Senior Industry Analyst, Stephanie focuses on insurance for Mintel Comperemedia. She is responsible for providing internal and external stakeholders with insights and analysis on trends in the Life and Health insurance industries.

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