Millennials are taking over the world! (Insert ominous blockbuster movie theme song here.)
No, really, they are. The largest generation (those born between approximately 1982 and 2004) in history is entering the workplace in record numbers. Millennials comprise more than one in three of America’s workers, making them the largest generation in the workforce at 53.5 million. But here’s the surprise: Millennials are just like other employees in more ways than you might think.
To tap into this huge market successfully, take a moment to learn more about what millennials think, prefer and need when it comes to financial protection for themselves and their families. See how many of these myths about millennials and life insurance you believe — then keep reading for the real story.
Myth 1: Benefits aren’t important to them.
Even though they’re the youngest generation in the workplace, millennials value benefits as much as their older colleagues, according to LIMRA research. Like other employees, nearly all millennials — 94 percent — say having health insurance through their workplace is important or very important, with dental insurance and vision care not far behind. But they also value life insurance in increasing numbers.
The majority of millennials — 54 percent — own life insurance, up from 47 percent in 2010, LIMRA reports. You can reach this growing market with workplace-sponsored individual life insurance coverage provided by your voluntary benefits partner.
Myth 2: They don’t need life insurance.
Many millennials have postponed marriage, children and home ownership — some of the key triggers for buying life insurance. However, many also are carrying staggering amounts of college loans and credit card debt. According to the finance website Make Lemonade, the average student in the class of 2016 has more than $37,000 in student loan debt. Anyone who co-signed a college loan would be responsible for paying that debt if the borrower died unexpectedly.
Even if they don’t have a family or mortgage payment to protect now, millennials most likely will in the future. Buying life insurance while they’re young and healthy is smart in two ways: First, the younger they are when they buy life insurance, the more affordable it generally is. And second, having life insurance means they have protection when they need it, without worrying about the ability to qualify for it in the future if, for example, they developed a health condition that made it difficult or costly to get coverage.
Myth 3: They can’t afford life insurance.
This myth is more about life insurance than it is about millennials. The fact is, most people far overestimate the cost of life insurance, but millennials are further off base than are other employees. LIMRA’s 2017 Insurance Barometer study asked adults of all ages how much a $250,000 term life policy for a healthy 30-year-old would cost. The median estimate was $500 — more than three times the actual cost. Millennials were the most likely over those of other age groups to speculate the cost was $1,000 or more.
Life insurance offered through the workplace can be very affordable, and paying premiums through payroll deduction makes it convenient while keeping monthly costs lower.
Myth 4: They prefer to shop online.
Millennials have an online-all-the-time reputation, but we need to define “shop.” Millennials do like to research online, including seeking information about life insurance. They’re significantly more likely to visit a life insurance company’s website than even slightly older employees are, and are much more likely to visit a website than much older employees are — 64 percent for millennials compared with 56 percent of Gen Xers and 47 percent of baby boomers, according to the Insurance Barometer study. The same is true for seeking information about life insurance online: 64 percent of millennials say they’ve done that, compared with only 36 percent of seniors.
But millennials are more likely than any other generation is to say being able to talk to someone when buying life insurance is very important to them. When the same study asked about the top three most important factors when purchasing life insurance, 68 percent of millennials cited the ability to chat with a person. That compares with 64 percent of Gen Xers, 66 percent of boomers and 62 percent of seniors.
Whether it’s face-to-face, on the phone or an online chat, millennials crave a personal connection to help them make the right choices.
Myth 5: They’re not concerned about financial security.
OK, this one actually is partly true. Financial security doesn’t resonate with millennials the way it does with baby boomers and older generations. And who can blame them? These 20- and 30-somethings aren’t yet in their prime earning years, and retirement is a vague concept decades in the future.
Instead, research shows millennials are highly interested in peace of mind. Burdening dependents because of a premature death is millennials’ No. 2 financial concern, according to LIMRA, following their top concern of paying monthly bills. Show your millennial clients how life insurance can help them achieve peace of mind by protecting the financial security of their families and loved ones.
Millennials are just like other workers — only a little different. Taking time to understand their unique needs and preferences, and partnering with a voluntary benefits provider that can offer the options and communication preferences that meet those needs, can help you successfully tap into this tremendous market.