What’s the deal with millennials?

Smartphone-loving, social media-savvy millennials live and breathe on the web.

From movies to music and pizzas to taxis – a constant connection and living life on demand is part of everyday life. Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, Snapchat, Instagram, Uber, Spotify… the list’s endless.

As millennials become increasingly tech savvy they’re a hugely influential demographic force in dictating and shaping digital innovation.

Advancements in technology aren’t showing any signs of a slowdown and as the internet of things starts to take hold, the net’s going to reach every corner of our lives.

If insurers want to survive in today’s competitive market it’s time to embrace the generation many love to hate.

Why should we treat millennials different to any other group?

Older generations were targeted through cold-calling, newspaper advertisements and TV ads and direct mail. But those methods aren’t effective enough for today’s connected generation which is spoilt for choice.

Millennials don’t buy insurance like their parents or grandparents did, they have different needs. The internet’s changed how millennials purchase digital and physical goods or services.

Forget the brand loyalty parents and grandparents had – brands must now be tech-friendly in order to build trust with millennials.

Their shopping habits are disrupting and defining the industry – if a millennial can’t find what they’re looking for on a site or app right away they’ll move on to a rival.

A company that has considered their needs and provides clear information and top customer service.

Optimising sites for mobile goes without saying as the increased usage of smartphones means the brand experience on every device must be perfect.

What do we need to do?

To start with, embrace social media with open arms. Like it or loathe it, it’s not going away.

Millennials want quick answers to their questions in order to complete a purchase. Quick answers to customer service queries sent via Facebook or Twitter.

Insurers can make the most of opportunities to add a personal touch into interaction and sway millennials with a great personal service.

Investing in social media for added customer support to connect with millennials should be a priority. Reviewing content strategy should also be high on your list. Some text alongside a pretty image won’t cut it with millennials.

Those companies who focus on blogs, YouTube tutorials, Facebook Live and podcasting are the ones who capture millennial minds.

Making your content useful and appealing to emotions and be useful and you’ll likely find they’ll share it with their peers. Provide them with the information they need to make well-informed choices on insurance.

How about technology and millennials?

In most aspects of everyday living, whether it’s travel, communicating or shopping, digital technology plays a part. Yet the insurance sector’s playing catch-up.

Who can forget Kodak or Blockbuster?

The brands were decimated for one reason: They didn’t adapt to capitalise on emerging technology.

Kodak was ruined by digital photography and Instagram. Blockbuster was hit by pirating but dealt a killer blow by legal streaming services from the likes of Netflix and Amazon.

Future-proofing your business model is a must to remain a market leader.

Millennials change and adapt easily with the times, whereas the majority of baby boomers are slower to adapt as the world of technology evolves.

That’s why UBI (usage based insurance) is proving popular with the younger generation.

Telematics technology collects data about a policyholder’s driving habits to help improve driving through feedback and potentially reducing premiums by encouraging safer driving.

Perhaps older generations see it as snooping, but millennials are particularly enthusiastic about using this evolving technology to share information with their insurers.

It’s not just that they’re keen on the new technology, they’re willing to drive more safely if it means they’ll get a discount.

But in 10 years time, what impact will autonomous vehicles have had on the insurance? Millennials might not want to spend a large percentage of their income on owning their own car.

Uber and other ride-sharing services have clearly been a massive success, but soon we might be calling driverless cabs on demand .

RSA VIEW

Michael Russell, Partnerships Manager

Businesses in general have been reluctant to embrace social media as a way to communicate B2B.

However, this is changing as millennials join the business and use social media as part of their everyday communication.

They’re using social media as we did with email, which replaced handwritten letters and memos.

The impact of this is to drive businesses to develop strategies to both harness and control the power of social media in theirs B2B space.

Luke Robbins, Broker Manager

Engaging with millennials is of vital importance to insurance companies if they want to safeguard their future, as they are a dominant segment of the population who tend to be less engaged when it comes to traditional insurance models.

Research suggests that the best way to engage with millennials is via the internet and in particular via social media.

Millennials also present opportunities to innovate, through new ways of working, like the recent development of the ‘sharing culture’ –  think Uber, AirBnB and Spotify.