Since 2016, the Millennial generation (aged 25 to 40) has outnumbered Gen X (aged 41-56) and Baby Boomers (aged 57 to 75) as the largest percentage of the U.S. workforce.
Millennials are driving the future of the property and casualty insurance industry. Carriers with growth goals need to understand what inspires this key demographic to write business with one carrier over another.
Recently, I participated in a panel discussion where the following question was asked. “Millennials and Gen Zs have vastly different expectations than older generations. How can P&C carriers better compete for their business?”
In preparation for this discussion, we dug into DCC’s data on which factors most influence placement decisions for different generations of property and casualty agents. I must admit surprise at what we learned.
It seemed inevitable that agents under 40 would value Technology as the most important factor driving ease of placing business. We expected them to rate the importance of technology higher than any “relationship” factor.
Further, we expected the opposite for Baby Boomers. We Boomers (OK, I admit it, I am at the tail end of the Boomer generation) did not grow up using online and mobile technology in our daily lives to communicate and make decisions. We used things like rotary telephones, snail mail and face-to-face meetings to communicate with others. We used sharpened pencils, grid paper, giant calculators and these things called “slide rules” to help us analyze. However, people under 40 grew up using modern technology for most of these activities.
It just seemed natural to assume that technology would be of primary importance to this younger group of agents.
WRONG! THE DATA SAYS…
It turns out that my assumption was not correct. Here is what we learned from the data.
Technology was indeed slightly more important to agents 40 and under than it is to agents 60 and over.
This comment from a young agent represents the average Millennial’s expectation related to carrier technology:
“Quote, bind, and issue without needing an underwriter.”
But that’s far from the whole picture. This same agent goes on to specify another factor that is important to their placement decisions:
“Having an underwriter that responds timely to questions and submissions.”
This second part of the comment indicates that strong technology alone is not sufficient to earn their business. They also need a responsive experience with underwriting.
This desire for underwriting responsiveness is supported by the quantitative data as well. Technology is less important to Millennial agents than the key relationship factor of Underwriting Responsiveness.
In fact, agents 40 and under indicated Underwriting Responsiveness is even more important to them than it is to agents 60 and over.
Here is another representative quote from an agent under 40 describing a carrier that they place business with.
“Quick customer service when you call. They have underwriters that are willing to help and educate you in the products. They do not talk down to you. They provide educated answers to billing issues and claims.”
In a previous article, Super Charge Your Technology Investment, we made the point that the answer to success when distributing through independent agents lies not just in technology, but also in people. This is the case for all generations of agents.
Both Millennial and Baby Boom agents want effective technology tools to help them close business. However, technology itself is not enough. Carriers must also be responsive if they want to earn the loyalty of Millennial agents.