Recently, Mintel Comperemedia took part in the LIMRA Marketing and Research Conference in Boston, where marketing and research professionals from the life insurance industry strategized and shared best practices on how to “Bring Learning to Life”. Here are three key takeaways from the show.

Reaching new and emerging markets: speaking effectively to different consumers

Many workshop sessions covered communications with specific target markets.  What are young affluent customers looking for?  What changes when you communicate with multi-cultural segments?  And with women as decision makers in many households, how should companies and agents effectively communicate with them?

Multicultural – A panel of industry leaders from Insights for Action, Prudential, Lincoln Financial and Ameritas spoke to the cultural differences and decision making styles of Hispanic, Asian-American, and African-American consumers.  Many times the best way to reach these consumers is to spend time engaged in the community to gain trust and effective reach consumers.

Women – Lisa DeSimone, SVP of Finance and Strategy at Lincoln Financial wrapped up the Trends in Reaching New and Growing Markets by highlighting the female consumer.  Many women end up firing their financial advisor when their husband passes away because they have little or no relationship with the agent at any point. The industry must remember that willingness to listen is imperative when working with female clients.

Young Affluent – Fred Gaudios from Zeldis Research and Rita Lepore from London Life Insurance took a deep dive into attitudes and behaviors from a sample of Young Affluent consumers.  What they found: Young affluent customers value life insurance and expect an ongoing relationship with their agent or insurance company.

Let’s Get Mobile: App and Website development for Life Insurance

In the latest Innovations in Insurance report from Mintel, we found that health insurance app downloads were double what they were in 2012 (14% in 2014) and nearly one in five consumers had downloaded a renters or auto insurance app.  Still, life insurers continue to look for ways to reach consumers in the mobile space. 

Varun Parekh from Bankers Life and Adam Taylor from Minnesota Life discussed real life solutions to creating mobile technology for their agents and their customers.  Key to this: customers are already mobile, whether or not a website is mobile compatible; therefore, understanding how to effectively create a mobile presence is incredibly important, be it through responsive design or mobile apps.

The selling process: Customers want to be educated not sold

Joseph Coughlin, Director of MIT’s AgeLab and Ed Milano, VP of Marketing from Sun Life financial, observed that the customer is increasingly more self-reliant in finding information regarding complex purchase decisions such as life insurance.  While they may research information themselves, they still look to professionals to validate the information and guide them in their decision.  To that point, they don’t want a hard sell – they are looking for an educator to explain the why behind needing the product – not just the what.

Coughlin outlined the idea that consumers want tools to aid in their research: just as they may look to sources like WebMD or Google before going to a doctor, consumers will utilize the web, friends, and family to gain a better understanding about financial decisions.  Keep it short, informal, and mobile to engage consumers and gain trust as an educator and partner, rather than a “financial planner”.

Milano spoke to Sun Life’s Wake Up campaign which focused on “learning out loud” and sharing that knowledge with stakeholders.  Sun Life held summits on ACA topics such as private exchanges to share their knowledge in hopes of engaging consumers so they would look to Sun Life as a trusted knowledgeable source for future decisions.  Milano also emphasized that engaging customers through entertainment sponsorships and community service serve as a great platform to educate customers face-to-face about financial decisions they may need to consider in the future.

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Stephanie Roy is a Senior Industry Analyst focused 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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