InsuranceNewsNet Magazine February 2012 : 28
The New Kitchen Table Prospects ready to hear about life insurance — where they live By Clark Wooten ho’s to blame for life insur-ance ownership falling to a 50-year low? Implicate the economy, which has hurt the housing market, incomes and retirement funds and provided a new set of rules for what job security really is and means to people. And point fingers solely at consumers. It’s possible that today’s consumers are bred to be more narcissistic than in years-past or perhaps believe they are immortal. Blame the Twilight series for the latter and reality TV for the for-mer. But the debate about life insur-ance or the lack thereof— something so beneficial in protecting against the 28 InsuranceNewsNet Magazine February 2012 inevitable — can be caused by a mul-titude of reasons. Regardless the var-ied reasons, whether business is blos-soming or taking a major hit, life insur-ance carriers must adopt new practices, lingo and channels to sustain success or acquire it—just like other businesses. According to Acxiom’s “Life Insur-ance Consumer Dynamics Study,” four out of 10 adults have no coverage. And one of 10 relies solely on policies from others, including employers. Nearly half of adults fall into one of two categories: uninsured or underinsured. Unlike auto insurance, life insur-ance is a discretionary purchase. But since death is inevitable, why is there a consumer disconnect between it and the importance of life insurance? It seems to be an issue of communication, at least in part. Are today’s life insurance marketers truly leveraging all the tools available to them to engage their customers or pros-pects? A key finding in Acxiom’s sur-vey is that many life insurance market-ers may simply be underutilizing digi-tal media channels as a supplement to engaging with today’s consumer. Rather, they are relying on traditional market-ing practices that still work for some consumers but fail to leverage oppor-tunities offered by the newer online options.