Why Don’t Millennial Women Engage with Life Insurance?
Kate Lyons, Head of RGAX, UK
Female millennials are often left out of the insurance conversation. In a world striving for financial equality, solving this problem is critical, and from a commercial perspective, addressing this problem enables our industry to unlock a currently underserved market segment. For reference, there are approximately 8.5 million millennial women in the UK. We believe that by developing a holistic understanding of the consumer and by working with partners to incorporate diverse perspectives and specialized expertise, there is an opportunity to increase life insurance sales among millennial women.
Our intention is to demonstrate that this approach can effectively
- Increase customer conversions in the d2c space
- Decrease the cost of acquisition for this channel
- Enable our partners to grow new markets
Proving the model for experimentation is the first step in unlocking new growth for our partners. When we set out to increase female millennials’ access to and interest in life insurance products, we knew we had to start by fully understanding the problem before attempting to build a solution. This is the approach we take with any digital distribution experiment we are working on.
To do this effectively, we considered the problem from three different perspectives – the customer, the insurer, and the distributor.
The existing market
It is fair to say that across the protection market, there are products designed specifically for women, but the messaging lacks broad appeal. For example, customers told us they felt some were “pink and a little patronizing.” Others were designed for women, but only if they had children. And we found that ‘ungendered’ insurance propositions often speak more to men than women, either through language or imagery.
Your audience’s perception of your message is important to understand because, as multiple RGAX initiatives have shown, high bounce rates are one of the main challenges with digital distribution. Customers land on a website, either through an organic search or by clicking on an ad, but then leave because the message doesn’t appeal to them. Tailoring your proposition to your audience is one way to increase the stickiness of your message and entice visitors to your website to take the next step.
Why won’t women engage: The customer POV
Initiatives with only a high-level understanding of audience perspectives are likelier to fail because it’s too easy to make assumptions about what types of products your market needs and what messages are appealing.
To help increase our chances of success and depth of learning, we ran a survey of 1,000 women in Spain and set up a working group of 150 women in the UK. The objective was to identify the barriers women experience when they try to engage with protection products.
The first problem we identified was a lack of confidence. Women felt they lacked the knowledge to make a decision, and that others probably knew more than they did. The data indicated the imposter syndrome that many researchers on women’s issues have talked about recently. For instance, one woman gave herself a 2 out of 10 for financial literacy despite owning her own home and paying for her master’s degree up front. The fact that many of these types of women pre-screened themselves out of the market tells us that a successful proposition for millennial-aged women has to inspire confidence.
The second problem was that millennial women did not connect longer-term health and wellness spending, such as insurance, with self-care. However, we know this group takes self-care seriously, spending approximately 8% of their income on short-term investments, such as gym memberships and supplements. The data suggests an opportunity exists to reposition protection as a form of long-term self-care.
Finally, millennial women told us they could not anchor on an amount of insurance. Part of this “problem” is that they understand their value is more than just their financial contribution to the household. There’s also the unpaid care they provide to their family, as well as their value to friends and society. Insurers hoping to reach this market need to tap into the worth these women have on an emotional level while helping them accurately evaluate the hard costs of replacing their financial and non-financial contributions to the family.
First, let’s consider the insurer’s objectives.
Why won’t women engage: The insurer POV
In testing, our working group of millennial women told us that they weren’t worried about having protection for death or about conditions that more frequently strike older people, such as strokes and heart attacks. However, they were worried about cancer. Many of these women knew someone who had been impacted by cancer and could relate emotionally to the risk.
Our Behavioural Science team will tell you this is half the battle – solving the problem of psychological distance. That is, insurance is an abstract concept, and in the direct-to-consumer space, it is incredibly important to help customers relate to a product if you want them to buy it.
However, this creates a challenge for insurers looking to leverage digital channels. While the life-only market continues to grow, with over half of all Level Term Assurance products sold in the non-advised space, the same cannot be said for the Critical Illness (CI) market. Furthermore, CI is complex and thus unsuited to the non-advised space, so insurers wanting to grow this segment must take a different approach.
This is one of the challenges we sought to address with Plan V Care, a cancer-only product targeting millennial women. I’ll provide more details on this experiment in my next article.
Why won’t women engage: The distributor POV
Insurance distributors operate in a crowded market, making it challenging to cut through all the noise. Digital marketing channels such as Facebook run thousands of ads, and click-through rates have been dropping year-over-year across all markets, not just insurance. This decrease makes it more expensive to acquire customers through digital channels. For example, our research shows that the cost of acquiring customers through Facebook ranges from £600 to £1,300 per buyer.
To reach your target market, your digital proposition must be distinct and tailored to your buyer so that it stands out from the crowd and resonates with your audience. Insurers can look to other markets, such as FinTech, for role models.
Think of Monzo and Revolut as examples. These two start-ups have done an excellent job of breaking into the British banking market because they tailor their messages and products to the needs of the digital buyer.
From problem identification to prototyping
In this article, I talked about the challenges that keep millennial-aged women out of the insurance market as well as the challenges insurers and distributors face when trying to reach them. In my next article, I will share more about how we leveraged the lessons learned from our research to create Plan V Care, a digitally distributed, cancer-only solution tailored to female millennials.
The work RGAX is doing with Plan V Care to better serve millennial women is just one example of how we use market segmentation to reach untapped markets. There are many, many more markets that present an opportunity for growth-oriented insurers, including parents, new mortgage owners, grandparents, and diabetics. As I mentioned earlier, proving the model for experimentation is the first step in unlocking new growth for our partners.
As important as this first step is, it doesn’t need to take months. Our Life Design Sprints are engineered to take our partners from problem identification to prototypes in a matter of days. To learn more, download our e-book How to Accelerate Innovation in Life Insurance. Of course, if you have an idea you’d like to explore, we’d love to hear from you. Feel free to reach out to me directly or to my colleague Charlie Mathews.