A column in Forbes this week offers some interesting insights about millennials -- well, interesting for baby boomers, maybe. This generation, born between 1980 and 2000, does not know a life without the Internet. The Internet and all the technology that has sprung from being more easily connected is just the way things are for millennials. There's nothing shiny and new about it, the columnist says, the way there's nothing new about electricity for boomers. As a result, selling to millennials takes a completely different mindset.
Insurance companies may not have caught on yet, or they may simply be stymied by the prospect of revising both their messages and their media. The column made us wonder if the poll we were discussing in our last post was about millennials and insurance or about insurance and millennials.
Armed with the knowledge that millennials tend to rent their homes rather than buy them, Nationwide Insurance and Harris Interactive polled 1,000 renters from Gen Y about renters insurance. The results were not good news for insurers -- or for millennials, really: 56 percent of the respondents did not have renters insurance.
From the results it doesn't look as if they don't value their belongings or even that they don't have anything of value. Perhaps millennials may not realize what triggers a renters insurance claim. For example, 40 percent were not aware that a renters policy might cover stolen property, but one-third said that theft was a major concern.
There are a lot of millennials out there -- an estimated 86 million in the U.S. alone -- and insurance companies are anxious to tap into their buying power. And if they aren't buying homeowners insurance, insurance companies are likely feeling uneasy about their bottom lines. And, according to an AARP article on the difference between baby boomers and millennials, millennials aren't driving as much either. That means they aren't buying auto insurance, another problem for insurance companies.
Nationwide is running a series of ads targeting the demographic, as we assume other insurers are. If those ads don't succeed in reeling millennials into the insurance pools, the rest of us could be paying more. And then that 3 percent of the respondents who listed a zombie apocalypse as their number one fear may really have something to worry about.
Carrier Management, "Majority of Young Renters Not Protected From Loss: Nationwide," Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co., April 10, 2014
Forbes, "Millennials, The Biggest Generation Of Customers Ever, Don't Care About The Internet," Micah Solomon, April 21, 2014