Brokers and agents face a unique set of market dynamics, many of which pose a threat to their financial livelihood. As the industry waits for 2014 to arrive, when the bulk of the health care reform legislation will take effect, now is a good time for brokers to embrace new market opportunities and put their sales and prospecting efforts into overdrive.
One approach to consider is looking at segments of the population that are both under-tapped and in a position to appreciate and pursue insurance options to protect their family. Take, for example, an often-overlooked segment, Generation X, and how their demographic situation and unique mentality make them ideal candidates for life insurance protection.
The Proof is in the Numbers
Far from being saturated, the market for life insurance among Generation Xers, those workers typically born between 1965 and 1980, boasts opportunity. According to the 2011 Aflac WorkForces Report, only 53 percent of Generation X workers currently have life insurance.1
Furthermore, despite being overshadowed by their bigger counterparts on both ends - the Millenials and Boomers - Generation X is still 34 million strong and commands a healthy annual buying power.
Demographic Factors at Play
A large number of Generation X families also now have children of their own, and a good portion rely on dual incomes to meet daily needs. This makes them particularly vulnerable in the event one dies prematurely by an illness or accident. Particularly when you consider the fact that a child born in 2009 will cost nearly one-quarter of a million dollars, or about $222,360 to raise to maturity,2 and that doesn't take into account college tuition.
Members of Generation X were the first "latch-key" children, making them highly responsible as a whole. Most place a high degree of importance on protecting their standard of living and that of their spouse. Yet, nearly one-third (30 percent) of Gen Xers have less than $500 right now to pay for out-of-pocket expenses associated with an unexpected illness or accident,1 making the possibility of bankruptcy if one spouse dies is very real without life insurance.
Generation X consumers are among the most technologically-savvy in our society, having grown up with computers, PDAs, cellphones, email, Blackberrys, and the like. They generally thrive on interactive electronic communication. For research and obtaining information on a policy or product, these employees will generally turn to the Internet and electronic venues.
However, when it comes to considering and applying for insurance products, Generation X prefers the high-touch approach. According to Aflac research, 64 percent of Generation X workers said their preferred method of communication about employee benefit options is through a broker or benefits professional.1
After these employees arm themselves with the basic information and research they need via the web, they much prefer a person to actually close the deal.Generation X employees saw their workaholic parents lose their well-deserved jobs during tough economic times.
Therefore, they are often reluctant to spend their hard-earned cash on items that aren't considered enjoyable. This makes lower-cost insurance options that are easy to obtain an attractive solution for Generation X.
Voluntary Life Insurance Fits the Bill for Gen X and their Employers As employers begin to adapt to health reform mandates and an economic recovery, many are decreasing life insurance policies or removing them entirely. These changes can leave Generation X workers with gaps in coverage, often unbeknown to them. It is not uncommon for workers to believe their employer has provided them life insurance coverage, when they really have not.
Or, even if their employer has provided some level of coverage, it is typically not enough to protect their standard of living.For these reasons and more, voluntary life insurance products are growing in popularity among employers and their employees. And, over the past several years, products have become much more attractive.
For example, Aflac now offers up to $250,000 of whole, 10-year term, 20-year term and 30-year term life products for policyholders between the ages of 18 and 50. Also, Aflac offers a variety of life insurance policies including group life insurance up to age 70 to suit every need and income.
Voluntary policies are budget-friendly, and are portable, even if policyholders change jobs or retire, with no increase in premiums - a feature many Generation X workers appreciate.
Generation X Could be Your X-Factor
The challenges facing the broker and agent community are well-known. Protecting their own income has become a pressing issue as commissions are being cut more every day. Identifying attractive prospect pools may help with this issue.
Generation X workers are one such opportunity for new business, and life insurance has emerged as a growing need among these consumers.
1. "The 2011 Aflac WorkForces Report," a study conducted by Harris Interactive for Aflac, September 2010.
2. "Expenditures on Children by Families," 2010 annual report by the Agriculture Department, released June 9, 2011.
About The Author
Tom Morey, a 16-year insurance industry veteran, is Aflac's vice president of Product Development. He oversees designs, pricing and execution to include product development, product positioning and corporate bids. Visit aflacforbrokers.com, call 1-888-861-0251 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.