Life Insurance Awareness Month Through the Eyes of a Marketer, Part 2
This past September was the twelfth year LifeHappens.org sponsored Life Insurance Awareness Month. In my last blog, I talked about how the this year’s themes were addressed. In Part 2, I address the ways on which different media were used to increase awareness.
Information on Life Insurance Awareness Month can be found at https://www.lifehappens.org/industry-resources/agent/awareness-campaigns/life-insurance-awareness-month/introduction/. This link is for agents, producers and carriers. The link for consumers is: http://www.lifehappens.org/. A Google search for life insurance does not provide many links for the consumer to find educational materials. The majority of the search results either led to life insurance quote request sites. There were a few individual carriers who mention Life Insurance Awareness Month, as well as two links to PSA videos from Anthony Anderson.
Ultimately, Life Insurance Awareness Month should be more visible to consumers. At this time, unless the consumer is actively researching Life Insurance, I am not sure that the messaging is reaching them.
Social media will allow carriers and life insurance associations reach the Millennial generation. They are the most under insured for life insurance, as it is not yet a priority for them in their insurance buying lifecycle. Utilizing this media is a great way to engage with the largest generation. However, if the Millennial, or a consumer in any generation, is not looking for life insurance awareness trends in their feeds, they will not see the content. According to Twitter, there are over 10,000 tweets sent per second every day.
A search on Twitter, using #LIAM2015, resulted in approximately 10 tweets a day. The content of the tweets was more informational and educational than submission forms for a quote. This media channel has a more direct form of communication with potential life insurance owners, but still does not have the necessary reach. Searching for Life Insurance Awareness on Twitter has an average of 5 tweets a day. Adding 10 more to the stream does not cut through the clutter.
Twitter and Facebook now offer sponsored posts. LIMRA, LifeHappens and the individual carriers should buy media that reaches the target audience. Carriers should also participate in sponsored social media posts, with a focus on information and education. I understand that using paid media, whether it is digital, print or television, is a costly endeavor. However, this investment made by LIMRA, LifeHappens and the individual carriers will benefit the consumers and the overall life insurance industry. By expanding into paid media, all organizations involved will reach the uninsured and underinsured population. Just as individual agents and brokers need to find new prospects, the life insurance industry must target segments of the population who are not reached through the existing campaigns.
Since insurance is bought, not sold, it is critical to educate the consumer on the product, and explain the benefits. The awareness campaign does a good job in the month of September. However, the education should not stop there. The efforts should be year round. In the fourth quarter of each year, the annual enrollment periods for Medicare and Health Insurance begin and consume the majority of the consumer’s insurance focus. As a marketer, I believe that there is opportunity to cross-sell and take advantage of the heightened awareness and apply it to life insurance. A Google search for the term “insurance quotes” yielded the following results on page 1:
- Organic search: 11 Auto Carriers, 2 Quote Aggregators
- Paid ads: 4 Auto Carriers, 2 Life Carriers, 1 Quote Aggregator, 1 Medicare Supplement
I believe that this will change in the next few days with the start of the Medicare Enrollment Period, when health insurance will dominate the search results. It is important to note that life insurance carriers did not show up until page 5 of the results. If the industry wants to increase overall life insurance awareness and sales, it needs to proactively seek out consumers.
As consumers research and explore their options for health coverage, their other insurance needs should also be addressed. Even though most health carriers do not offer life insurance, reaching consumers as they are reviewing their portfolio is a strong trigger to purchasing insurance. Through our work with new policy holder acquisition for multiple carriers in the agent and direct to consumer sales channel, and primary and supplemental policies, we have found this to be a successful indicator of purchasing propensity.
As I noted in my previous blog, the messaging used for Life Insurance Awareness Month identifies the right concerns. The methods for creating awareness need improvements. When consumers can research, compare and shop 24/7 from anywhere with a mobile device, the opportunities to increase the percentage of consumers who own life insurance are endless.
It is also important that once the consumer has found the information on life insurance, that the carriers do all they can to usher them through the system. As part of a research project we are working on, I was using a life insurance calculator to get to a quote page. Instead of encouraging me through the process and advising me on the different insurance options, this particular carrier’s quote system came back with the following response: “You don’t need life insurance yet.” I’m not sure why any quote system would have that as a final response, but I am going to interpret that statement as a look into my very, very long future. One that includes me owning life insurance.