The people who came of age at the turn of the millennium are rapidly approaching 40. What does that mean for insurance carriers and brokers?

Plenty. According to Pew Research, millennials have surpassed baby boomers as the largest generation, numbering some 75.4 million members. Defined by Pew as people born between 1981 and 1996, many of them now have homes, families and myriad possessions—making them a ripe and growing market for insurers. They are also “the first generation with a large degree of dual-income households,” says Harley Kaplan, a certified financial planner at Beta Industries in Sherborn, Mass. This means, as a group, millennials might actually have more disposable income than previous generations did.

But how exactly is this population reshaping insurance demand? And how should carriers and brokers alter strategies to address millennials’ needs and lifestyles?

Education

“For millennials, insurance does not have the same meaning it did for prior generations,” says Kaplan. Previous generations, he says, typically planned around cash-value and term life insurance, along with annuities and company pensions. “Most millennials have only a vague concept of what something like whole life is. [They] exercise greater personal control of their financial futures in 401(k)s and individual retirement accounts,” says Kaplan.

Typically, the first step to getting millennials interested in insurance is to educate them. “Millennials need more guidance than their grandparents do,” says Susan Sachatello, a senior vice president at Madison, Wis.-based CUNA Mutual Group. “A wide majority lack a basic understanding of financial services terminology, and many don’t have a solid grasp of how insurance works.”

To help them, Sachatello says it’s “crucial that we incorporate education into the equation, through online channels and by offering interaction with call center representatives who can walk young adults through the process.”

Online channels are important, because millennials tend to do everything online. “We’ve made massive investments to expand the media through which we reach these consumers,” says Sachatello, “amassing billions of digital impressions [and] optimizing the channels by which they interact with us.”

Stress the Advantages

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