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Insurers: Ignore the Millennials at Your Peril

Insurers: Ignore the Millennials at Your Peril

Posté par Mark Mullin le

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After spending decades in the insurance industry on several continents, it never ceases to amaze me how we continuously fail to adapt to change as effectively as other industries around us.

In the past, it has been possible to get by with expedient choices to address immediate needs. What has crept up on the industry is the impact of a whole generation of new customers with different demands - I am, of course, speaking about Millennials.

I am all too familiar with the challenges of satisfying the expectations of this generation. My own two children are Millennials and my experience has been that within this group expectations are incredibly varied. Indeed, Millennials seldom behave homogenously. My favourite example is my daughter, who works in the IT department of a major international company. This creates an added dimension to her expectations regarding interaction with external suppliers or, indeed, any company. She knows what should be possible, so don't try to fool her. Like her brother, she expects to interact when and how she chooses. Unlike her brother, any patience with a process that serves the needs of the company she is interacting with - rather than her needs in that process - is limited to non-existent.

Take her recent experience with insurance. Part of her role requires extensive travel around the world. A few weeks back, she was visiting one of her company's facilities in Hamburg. During that visit, she lost her iPhone, which is both an essential tool of business, and an irreplaceable part of her life. The good news was she also has her company iPhone, so all was not lost.

Two weeks later, she was at her employer's offices in Shanghai. On this trip, it was her iWatch that went missing. Now she was compelled to make a claim under the corporate travel insurance. This is where the fun began.

The insurer in question only offers a completely manual claims process. Fill out a paper form by hand. Send it by post. Wait for a response. It is no surprise that my daughter expects the same kind of interaction she is used to with her Amazon account or her bank's online service. Fill in a form? Make a phone call? She even hates sending an email, unless it is work related. She is more likely to answer an SMS, but prefers you to post something on a social media site that pings on the app on her phone (at least, before she lost it). The result? Two months after losing her iPhone and over a month after losing the iWatch - no claim filed. And don't even ask me her view of insurance after that experience.

How do we provide customised interactions for this new breed of consumer? Their behaviour is more than just demanding; they are also likely to morph their demands much quicker than any other segment of our customer base.

We can't underestimate the influence of this generation of insurance buyer. From my perspective as a supplier to insurers, I also see them as the future leaders of this sector, who will command our attention and expect an ability to deliver customised, omnichannel interactions across all their dealings with us. This is what they get from their bank, from their service partners, and they expect it from their insurer and their broker. Expediency is no longer an option.

Our next challenge is to find a way to attract these same demanding and driven Millennials as the future workforce for our industry. Watch this space...

A version of this blog post previously appeared in Insurance Post.


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