Strong digital presence vital for advisors in life insurance space: study

Twitter and Facebook are the first point of call for many consumers shopping for life insurance

Strong digital presence vital for advisors in life insurance space: study

Life insurers still have some way to go when it comes to engaging consumers online. That’s the view of Maggie Leyes, the VP of Content Strategy for non-profit educational group Life Happens. Each year, Life Happens and trade association LIMRA collaborate on the Insurance Barometer Study. The 2018 version was recently released, and includes some interesting points on the importance of a strong online presence for both providers and advisors.

“I think life insurers are probably behind other industries in talking about what their products do and what the industry can do for consumers,” says Leyes. “We asked consumers if they would ask their social media connections for recommendations for an advisor. More than a third said that they would, and for millennials it was more than half.”

The research also indicates that many consumers are misinformed about the cost of life insurance. This is especially the case with younger people, and is something the industry needs to work on, believes Leyes.

“People far and away over-estimate the typical cost of life insurance,” she says. “Among millennials, 44% think that an average 20-year term for a healthy 30 year old with $250,000 in coverage is five times its true cost. A plan like that is about $160 per month, but those millennials estimate it as in the $1,000 range.”

To eliminate this information gap, the best way to reach the most people in the fastest time is through social media. Sites like Facebook and Twitter are also important for advisors and how they present their business to the world, outlines Leyes.  

“If consumers are interested in working with an agent or advisor, four in ten will check that advisor’s social media presence,” she says. “So it’s key that agents and advisors are active on social media and doing things that are relevant to what people are looking for.”

Social media is usually the first point of contact when a person is researching a product, provider, or the advisor that connects the two. There’s only so much information a Twitter feed or Facebook page can provide, however, as Leyes explains.

“Even more important than social media is an advisor’s website – 73% of consumers say they use an advisor’s website to educate themselves about insurance,” she says. “That rises to 81% for millennials. So imagine if an advisor has a really outdated website, or no website at all.”

The Insurance Barometer Study also shows a trend towards buying insurance directly through an insurer’s website, particularly with simplified issue products. Faster underwriting and skipping the need for a medical is an obvious draw for some people, but for more complex products, an advisor’s guidance is still highly valued.

“Interestingly, 69% say they want to meet with an agent or advisor before buying life insurance,” says Leyes. “It’s even higher for millennials, 73%, which is startling. They look online to educate themselves, but then they want to sit down with an advisor.”


Related stories: