Baby boomers, Generation X, and millennials offer three very different perspectives existing in the workplace right now. Each group has been widely studied, and their generational stereotypes regarding their work-life attitude and general disposition on life are well known. Generational tension and frustration is not a new concept to hit the nine-to-five world, though. It just so happens that millennials are now the largest generation in the US workforce. 

Bryan yackulic, millennial speaker

In this video, Bryan Yackulic, millennial speaker and Adjunct Professor of Management at The American College of Financial Services, discusses popular myths about millennials.

A survey by Life Happens and LIMRA revealed that "60 percent of millennials said it was more important to pay for expenses like internet access, cable, and cell phones than purchase some or more life insurance." While such studies highlight a significant gap in the market – indicative of a tremendous prospecting opportunity for insurance agents and financial advisors – the challenge lies in convincing millennials to prioritize funding an insurance policy. So how can advisors appeal to this growing audience, who isn’t exactly seeking out life insurance?

Step 1: Understanding How to Approach Millennials

Think back to your 20s. What was on your mind then? Unless you began your career in life insurance, chances are you weren’t thinking about which policy would best support your family. If you’re not a millennial, imagine yourself as one. Millennials grew up amid the rush of the technology age. As a result, at all hours of the day and night, they’re connected to technology, social media, friends, and work. The thought of mortality, pre-insurance medical exams, and conversations with an advisor are generally not concepts at the forefront of their mind. Framed within the context of preparing for death, life insurance conjures thoughts of mortality that most younger individuals would rather avoid.

The conversation can be reframed for your audience by building it around happier, more fulfilling life events and ideas for  achieving or securing a happy future. With millennials, a population documented as placing highest value on purpose, inspiration, and fulfillment over money and success, this approach will likely be more effective than conversations about preparing for their inevitable demise.

Step 2: Discussing the Bottom Line Value

Many millennials delay life insurance simply because they think it costs too much. Their estimates, however, are typically much higher than actual costs. Convince millennials that insurance fits into their lifestyle by outlining the real return on even just a minimal investment in life insurance. While much has been written about millennials as an “entitled” generation, they are actually a giving and caring generation. Protecting their current or future loved ones from potentially crippling debt for the price of a few cups of coffee a month can be a compelling reason to act for this widely altruistic audience.

This generation, notoriously enamored by good deals and discounts, may also enjoy hearing about the value obtained when buying insurance at a relatively young age and in better than average health. Getting more value based on their youth makes life insurance feel more like a smart buying decision, a reward that may compensate for the logistical annoyance of going through the insurance process.  

Step 3: Addressing the Issue of Student Debt

As of 2018, the top of the millennial age range (those born between 1982-2004 according to Investopedia) is 36 years old and the youngest is 14. Mortality and end-of-life planning discussions can be difficult with this group because a) death is less than optimal to think about, and b) imminent demise feels far off and even irrelevant to such a young audience. Insurance may seem like an unnecessary or less-prioritized expense than their other debt, bills or lifestyle demands.

Forbes notes that the mentality of this generation is: "I'm young and healthy, so I'll wait until I'm older." What this younger group might not know is that student loan debt is not always forgiven if the student dies. Federal loans are typically discharged upon proof of student death, but many private lenders will not forgive student loans even after death. In other words, a significant debt could transfer to their loved ones should they die, including a parental co-signer or spouse. Debt responsibility is dictated by the individual terms of each private lender, and supersede community property rules.

By the year 2020, half of the workforce will be millennials. Securing business and developing lasting relationships with millennials is an effective way to make your insurance business or services even stronger. In addition to appropriately addressing the modern and evolving needs of this younger generation just entering the world of financial investments, you must also keep up with emerging trends, statistics and dynamic cultural factors to appear and remain relevant among the millennial generation.

Be effective in your profession and stay on top of trends with the expertise gained from a Chartered Life Underwriter® (CLU®) education. Thorough knowledge of insurance plans derived through the CLU® designation can help you convince price-conscious millennials on the merit of insurance. You will learn to develop and refine the rhetoric necessary to have meaningful conversations that resonate with their internal motivators.

Editor's note: This post was originally published in July 2016. This version has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

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