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Have Insurance Agents Forgotten About Generation X?

by Precise Leads

March 17, 2016

GenerationXInsuranceIn the scramble to capitalize on the emerging millennial generation and aging baby boomers, a third demographic has been pushed aside. Agents shouldn’t forget that Generation X provides them with major opportunities as well.

It’s tough being caught in the middle. Just ask members of Generation X, the demographic group of people born between the 1960s and the early 1980s, as Pew Reserach explains. Currently, its members are hitting middle age and more likely to be leading lives with more established careers, family relations, and financial situations than at any other point.

Despite all that (or perhaps because of it), they’re stuck playing the role of the neglected middle child in today’s market. Members of the massive baby boomer generation ahead of them are at the tail end of their professional lives and seeking out everything from post-retirement health insurance to final expense insurance. Behind them are the millennials, who are quickly emerging as every industry’s most sought-out audience.

While it makes sense to capture the attentions of the bigger groups (especially millennials, with their outsized influence and future potential), Gen X is filled with high earners and stable wealth. And even though it was hit harder than other groups by the 2008 recession, it still holds major market power, according to U.S. News. As a group, the generation has disproportionately more investable assets than the millennials or baby boomers, with an estimated $7.2 trillion on hand, according to Think Advisor — and with a wealth of assets comes the need for insurance coverage. Yeah

It’s time to pay Gen X the attention it’s due and make insurance sales strategies specifically tailored for its members.

The Gen X Gap

Gen X should be a particular focus for agents in one key sales vertical: life insurance. In 2013, USA Today reported that there was a huge chasm between the amount of life insurance Gen Xers said they needed and the amount they actually held, an average difference of nearly half a million dollars.

What’s more, a full 20% of the group had no life insurance coverage at all. In the financial crunch, people often had to choose between keeping their lives afloat in the short term or making sacrifices for their long term security — in most cases, clearly, the present moment won out.

Some time has passed since these alarming numbers were released, and market conditions have by and large improved. Those in the financial services, retirement, and insurance industries are finally taking notice of the Gen X life insurance gap.

A study conducted by Weber Shandwick honed in on the group and its preferences, specifically with regard to financial issues. While some of the findings don’t directly translate to the insurance industry, the results reveal enough to give life insurance agents an edge when approaching Gen Xers with policy information.

Selling to Gen X

While engaging members of Generation X, insurance salespeople should keep a few key concepts in mind, says Senior Vice President at Weber Shandwick Brooke Worden, who led the study, according to LifeHealthPro. It’s important to use the proper messaging to reach Gen X — these are largely professionals with busy lives and families, and your approach should keep this value on family and stability in mind. The need for insurance should be focused on future security in light of the concerns of the present.

It’s also important to remember the gaps even within the generation itself: “Older Gen Xers tend to prefer in-person meetings with a[n] advisor,” she said, “whereas younger Gen Xers are more comfortable using technology to facilitate meetings and information-sharing remotely.” To address this schism, agents should be using a hybrid approach to connect with the target audience. Both old and new school marketing methods will prove useful — a local presence in print can be just as important as a localized SEM presence online.

The sales call will be a great equalizer for Gen X, as both tech-averse and -adept Gen Xers feel comfortable on the phone (probably a whole lot more comfortable than the average millennial). The key is finding the best ways to get them on the line — digital marketing techniques, such as optimizing for local search, targeted social campaigns, and enlisting the help of an internet leads service and/or a good pay-per-call provider, will help agents generate more actionable Gen X leads and tap into some of the demographic’s serious spending power.

No matter what vertical of insurance you’re in, ignoring Gen Xers means passing up a healthy, untapped revenue stream. This is an audience that has been neglected lately, so once you focus on them, you’ll be rewarded with a serious uptick in sales numbers.

(Main image credits: Brooklyn Morgan/Unsplash)

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