Life Insurance Awareness Month in 2020 has seen a seismic shift in the way consumers think about Life Insurance in the United States. The combined forces of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent government lockdowns found consumers eager to contemplate their life insurance needs in the wake of such uncertainty. A consequential study published by Lincoln Financial details the trends in our industry in this turbulent time. With the advent of new forms of underwriting and digital technology, what these current circumstances mean for client acquisition is profound.
Survey by Lincoln Financial on Covid-19 and the Effects on Life Insurance Shows Tremendous Movement
The Lincoln Financial Covid-19 Life Awareness Survey was conducted in July of 2020 by a third-party market research firm and assessed the year over year impact of Covid-19 on the insurance industry for people 18 years of age and older. Here are some key takeaways to consider:
- Over half of the respondents have life insurance policies in place while half did not
- The majority of policyholders took this time to review their policies and ⅓ of those people made changes to their policy
- New policies purchased for people under age 45 increased 20% compared to last year
- The sale of digitally underwritten term policies also increased
- The greatest obstacle to purchasing insurance was cost, but for younger consumers, lack of knowledge on which policies to purchase was a significant obstacle as well.
What these takeaways tell us is that the younger generation is finally coming around to the point of assessing their life insurance needs due to the pandemic. Additionally, people between ages 45-50 and also those 60 years and older have shown increased interest in purchasing more insurance or address changes to their current policies.
Additionally, the top 2 reasons that people were purchasing life insurance were to cover funeral-related expenses (49%) and to cover lost income for their families in the event of their death (43%). While this is not a significant change to previous years, the backdrop of the pandemic lends itself to more consumers contemplating their own mortality, and therefore, considering first-time purchases of life insurance policies.
What This Means for Your Clients
There is a current trend of policyholders and potential clients to reassess their needs where life insurance is concerned. The fact that half the people surveyed don’t currently hold policies is combined with the fact that more people are considering first-time purchases presents an opportunity to reach out and help educate potential clients on what the best options are for their personal goals and needs.
The Rise of New Underwriting and the Digital Policy for Young Consumers
Millenials (age 24-39) and Gen X’rs (age 40-55) showed increased interest in online policy acquisition. Some 40% of Millenials responded that they would be more likely to purchase insurance if they could do so completely electronically as did 36% of Gen X respondents. Both of these were a larger group than those who said they were not more likely to purchase electronically. The shift in online insurance sales tells us that some age groups are warming up to the idea of doing absolutely everything online. The rise of new term policies that don’t require medical labs and tests is well suited to this group especially when the concerns of Covid-19 are taken into account.
People have been working from home online, their children attending school online, groceries are more often being ordered online, and essentially every aspect of our lives during the lockdowns has been geared towards the internet as a matter of safety. The ramifications of this will likely yield lasting results in terms of how people purchase life insurance.
What this Means for Your Clients
While online policy sales have increased this past year, many young consumers have stated a primary obstacle for purchasing insurance is a lack of knowledge and understanding about what policies are better for them than others. This is an excellent opportunity for advisors to reach out to younger consumers and help them learn more about life insurance and how it could benefit them. Additionally, many consumers expressed the desire for an insurance policy to do more than just cover death expenses and showed an interest in policies that could double as reasonable investments. As you know, these policies are more complex and the education a seasoned advisor could impart on these consumers would be welcomed in the current marketplace.
Policy Review and the Pandemic
55% of policyholders reviewed their policy as a result of Covid-19. Even more surprisingly, 65% of Millenials reviewed their policies during this time. Of the people that reviewed their policy, one-third of them made changes. Of the changes that these policyholders made, the breakdown was as follows:
- 12% Increased their coverage
- 11% Updated contact information
- 9% Changed the type of coverage they own
- 8% Changed the policy’s beneficiaries
- Only 4% decreased their coverage
What This Means for Your Clients
If you have clients that have not requested a policy review, now would be an excellent time to address that with them formally. With changes to jobs, income, and the added sense of urgency that the virus has brought, clients of all ages could benefit from your expertise during a policy review. It is astonishing that during an income downturn due to government lockdown restrictions that consumers who reviewed their policies chose to increase coverage shows that peace of mind outweighed an uncertain market for many policyholders. Now is the time to reach out to your existing book of business and address new needs that have arisen in the past year.
Life Insurance Awareness Month and The Pandemic Have Created New Needs and New Market Opportunities
It’s obvious that the pandemic has had a dramatic impact on the industry and on the minds of consumers. What the data tells us is that now more than ever, consumers are ready to learn more about life insurance. While it is always the right time to reach out to consumers and educate them on the benefits of obtaining a life insurance policy, the current conditions practically mandate this approach. Marketing centered around a pandemic is not easy. We all know that people are better served with a life insurance policy, playing to the fears of the people in order to cash in on the market is a murky proposition.
As always, it is important to listen to the needs of your current clients while reaching out in earnest to new business. Their concerns are already evident. Our job is to bridge the gap between their concerns and outstanding policies that address them directly. This is a fascinating time to be an advisor and a producer. As the data has shown, the need for insurance has increased and we should all up our game to meet this new demand.