Millennials, also known as Gen Y, represents the generation of people born fromthe early 1980s to mid-1990s. Members of this demographic cohort are considered the next generation of insurance consumers as a majority of them have entered into their thirties by 2020. Since this age group has always been a key target audience of the insurance sector, the focus should be on attracting this generation into the insurance industry, both as customers as well as employees of insurance companies.
The millennials express diverse characteristics from their predecessors, as they are mostly known for coming of age and being comfortable with digital technology and social media. Most of them prefer are into digital interaction in contrast to face-to-face conversations and are present in most of social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, Viber and Linkedin. They are highly dependant on the information available to them on the internet and do their own research before purchase of any product or service.
To cater to this audience, the insurance industry needs to be active where the millennials are present. Information regarding insurance and its services needs to be fully digitalised and mobile-friendly. Millennials tend to search every item in Google before they purchase it, so all insurance policy information needs to be there. Not just that, since insurance can be quite technical and particular to the individual’s needs, the policy information needs to be made simpler and understandable in a digital format. Use of jargon and technical language should be discouraged. The language should be such that a person without any knowledge of insurance should be able to understand it at first read. In addition, it is very important for companies to increase their presence in social media. Based on their brand identity and direction, various social media platforms can be chosen by companies to communicate and interact with the millennial consumers so as to assist them in understanding their insurance needs.
Additionally, all basic insurance services should be digitalised. Starting from identifying needs and searching insurance policies, to calculating premiums and coverage value, making premium payments, intimation of claims and other basic customer services. The insurance websites and apps need to be informative and easy to navigate. Companies need to have interactive and prompt customer service via the web, from various social media platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp and Viber. They also need to vastly improve the telephone and SMS services. Online premium payment facilities, claims application and submission of documents digitally needs to be easy and very secure. Millenials are a generation that is accustomed to being able to transactly digitally with minimal effort. So we need to make it as simple for them as possible. Purchasing a basic insurance policy or availaing its services should be within the grasp of their fingertips.
As the insurance sector is growing over at a yearly rate of 20 percent in Nepal over the past couple of years, as reported by the Insurance Board, there needs to be an equal influx of talent in the industry as well. The younger generation is not just the next big customer base, but also the next big talent pool for the insurance industry. Basic insurance knowledge should be provided from higher school levels and specialised courses need to be increased in the undergraduate level. Currently very few universities provide specialised curriculum in insurance. This needs to be increased as insurance specialists are scarce in the Nepali market.
To attract more young people to work in the industry, companies are playing a role in training and upskilling of new recruits by enrolling employees in specialised insurance courses to improve their knowledge and expertise. Regular trainings and workshops related to different topics of insurance will also help existing employees and agents improve not just the services companies offers, but the entire industry as a whole. As millennials strongly value personal developemt and growth in sight, they can commit for a long term career in insurance. With their full commitment to the insurance industry, we can expect better innovation and improvement in the years to come.
Insurance is considered as ‘important but boring’ and somewhat obtuse for younger people who are just beginning to establish families and fulfill their financial protection needs. As representatives of the insurance industry, it should be our duty to simplify and make insurance easy for everyone to understand. The content of our marketing materials which includes advertisements, brochures etc. and the various services we provide in the life-cycle of a policy holder needs to be simplified and digitalised. In this way, as we head into the era of the millennials, we can encourge consumers into insurance as early as their mid twenties and not wait for them to turn into their mid thirties. We can better equip a generation to build and protect their financial wellbeing.
Rajbhandari is the Head of Marketing & Communications of MetLife Nepal.