Strategies

Talking to millennials about insurance

By Beatrice Paez |

Life insurance is often far from a top priority for a millennials who have few financial obligations such as mortgages and families. Although many millennials are hitting the stages of adulthood – such as marriage, parenthood and home ownership — later than previous generations have, talking about life insurance early on can enhance your understanding of your young clients' financial circumstances.

When you're discussing plans to tackle student debt or to start a business, there's an opportunity to educate millennial clients about their potential insurance needs.

For Adam Schacter, financial advisor at Mandeville Private Clinic in Ottawa, assessing a client's insurance needs is a key part of the financial planning process — regardless age.

"It's my responsibility to identify shortfalls, any holes in their financial plan," Schacter says.

To help you educate millennials about life insurance, here are some ways you can get the conversation started: 

> Perform a "needs analysis"
Many millennials are wary of insurance agents trying to sell them products they don't need. One way Schacter cuts through this skepticism is by conducting an insurance "needs analysis" to help his clients understand when — or if — there is a need for coverage.

If a client has dependents, for example, Schacter provides an estimate of the income replacement needed should he or she pass away. To get a detailed assessment of how much coverage is needed, Schacter asks clients to list projected monthly expenses along with debt load, government benefits, employer insurance benefits and the kind of legacy they hope to leave.

Going through this exercise with millennials opens the dialogue and makes your process more transparent.

> Use social media
One way to get millennials to think about life insurance is to leverage social media, says Samuel Waxman, managing partner and financial advisor at Millennial Financial Group in Toronto. Don't assume that they can tell the difference between whole life, universal life and term-100 insurance, he says.

"People don't think about insurance until it's too late," Waxman says. "There's a lot of education involved."

Use infographics to help decode the various insurance products and explain to millennials how they might relate to their circumstances. To reach millennials with this information, post it on social media and in blog posts.

Waxman's firm released several graphics that aim to dispel the idea that insurance is extremely expensive. For example, one graphic highlights the monthly cost of critical illness insurance for a healthy 30-year-old.

Read: CLHIA aims to make young people pay attention to insurance

> Partner with student organizations
Consider offering to run a free workshop on financial planning and insurance planning at a university club. With paying off loans a top priority for students, there's an opportunity to build awareness about ways of managing their finances after university.

For example, Waxman says, his firm holds talks with graduating students to help them understand the planning process.

Even if the students don't immediately get on board as clients, talking to them builds your reputation as a firm that can address the experiences of millennials. When the time comes for them to start a business, buy a house or get married, they will remember where they can seek advice.

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