Positioning Life Insurance For A Multigenerational Client Base: Why The Same Song Won’t Resonate With Younger Clients

Music has the power to entertain us, unite us and move us. Music can also give brokers some interesting insights about selling to different generations. From disco to rock n’ roll to the latest TikTok, music illustrates how different messages and delivery styles appeal to different generations—an important observation for today’s brokers who interact with members of the Baby Boomer, Gen X, and Millennial generations. Understanding what each generation looks for in a purchase experience and the context of their generation can help you better understand and connect with current and future clients.

What’s Best for Baby Boomers

  • Age Range: Late Fifties to Late Seventies

Who They Are: Perhaps more than any other group, those in their late fifties to late seventies are finding that the current economic climate is shifting their financial perspectives and priorities. Baby Boomer clients whose savings have been compromised by a challenging market environment might be interested in a life insurance policy as a way to diversify their financial portfolio.

How They Think/Behave: With the average 64 to 75 year-old American 94 percent wealthier than the average 35 year-old, Baby Boomers might view life insurance as a way to pass on generational wealth. When dealing with Baby Boomer clients, it’s important to highlight that life insurance can be one of the most financially stable ways to guarantee their life’s work carries over to future generations. Generational wealth can be an inheritance but the payout of a life insurance policy can protect loved ones and their dependents from a sudden loss of income and financial recovery. A policy can also safeguard from uncertainty and bolster an inheritance as traditional assets like real estate and stocks decrease in value.

What You Can Do: In an age of dwindling assets and bank collapses, older Americans might find comfort in the time-honored expectation of purchasing a life insurance policy, especially one backed by a company with a positive reputation and a long history of financial stability. Reliability is a key component of building relationships with clients that might span generations. When speaking with Baby Boomer clients, you will often find a strong appreciation for the sense of stability and security a life insurance policy offers.

What Gen X Expects

  • Age Range: Late Forties to Early Fifties

Who They Are: Gen X is sometimes referred to as the “sandwich generation,” meaning many members find themselves in the difficult position of caring for their teenage children and aging parents at the same time. Unpaid caregivers are subject to emotional and financial stress. In addition to providing their children and aging parents with food, clothing and shelter, some might leave their jobs or pursue part-time work to care for elderly loved ones. Unsurprisingly, a 2023 study found 56 percent of family caregivers say caregiving is a financial burden. Gen Xers looking for a way to afford both college tuition and elder care might view a life insurance policy as a secure financial investment that removes some of the stress of providing in this dual capacity.

How They Think/Behave: Caring for loved ones in two very different stages of life has made members of Gen X flexible, a quality that informs their attitudes towards finances. For example, an Ameriprise survey found nine out of 10 Gen Xers anticipate a nontraditional retirement during which they remain partially engaged in the workforce for social and intellectual stimulation.

What You Can Do: You’ll want to consider this vision of retirement when advising Gen X clients on life insurance. You’ll also want to connect them with an array of policy options so they can select the one that suits their unique situation. Though they may have more financial experience than their Millennial counterparts, Gen X clients might need your help in identifying where life insurance fits into their overall plan. A survey found 42 percent of Gen Xers said the most important thing they needed financially was help creating a roadmap. Gen Xers are likely to appreciate a broker who offers a blend of traditional guidance and digitally enabled convenience as they explore policies.

What Matters to Millennials

  • Age Range: Late Twenties to Early Forties

Who They Are: Most people buy a life insurance policy after a major life event, such as marriage, the purchase of a home or the birth of a child. This makes members of the Millennial generation— who are key drivers of a recent marriage and baby boom and around the age when many purchase their first home (36)—prime candidates for a life insurance policy.

How They Think/Behave: Millennials are the first generation that sociologists refer to as digital natives, meaning they grew up using digital devices. Millennials’ comfort with the digital realm is integral to their approach to finances. Whereas their parents might schedule an in-person meeting with a broker, Millennials tend to favor personalized customer experiences that they can engage with directly, from wherever and whenever they want. Nearly all Millennials (98 percent) use a mobile app for banking, and Millennials are also open to alternative assets. Brokers that want to appeal to Millennial clients can connect them to a digital life insurance policy application option that cuts processing timelines to meet their elevated standard of convenience.

What You Can Do: There’s also Millennials’ comfort to consider. Millennials just embarking on their personal finance journey might be insecure about their lack of financial knowledge. A recent Haven Life survey of working men and women found 29 percent of respondents admit they have “somewhat” or “no” understanding of the life insurance benefits their company provides and nearly 20 percent admit they don’t even know if their company offers life insurance benefits or not. Younger clients with limited financial experience might appreciate the level of anonymity a digital application process provides, turning to the Internet for answers to basic questions. After all, they grew up performing research independently online. If questions do arise, they can connect with you, their trusted broker, or one of the digital provider’s knowledgeable representatives.

How Brokers Benefit
Brokers sit at the intersection of multiple generations looking to secure their financial futures and that of their family. When considering life insurance carriers, you’ll want to prioritize ones that strike a balance between traditional experiences and innovative platforms. In either case, look for providers that offer clients easy access to a streamlined application process. This level of flexibility can help you navigate relationships with clients from all walks of life.

Singing a Different Tune
Whether you’re a veteran life insurance broker who is beginning conversations with the children of your longtime clients or a relative newcomer to this career, your goal is to help members of multiple generations navigate a key element of their financial health and to bring peace of mind as they seek to protect their loved ones. Partnering with a digitally-enabled life insurance provider gives you the flexibility to meet each generation’s needs in a way that feels most comfortable, familiar and relatable to them–just like a favorite song.

Josh Millman, head of Partnership Strategy, Haven Life, is leading the pursuit to financially protect more people with simple and affordable life insurance solutions. Haven Life is a wholly-owned subsidiary of MassMutual, a 172 year old life insurance company with superior financial strength to deliver on its long term commitments.

Millman leads a seasoned team of business development and relationship management professionals. Whether a partner is coming to Haven Life from a life insurance background and is seeking technology, or from a technology background seeking life insurance know-how, his team is committed to creating reliable and innovative solutions to help scale businesses while making insurance more accessible to all.

With nearly 20 years of experience working for some of the industry’s biggest names such as AXA, iPipeline and MassMutual’s Haven Life, Millman has a passion for driving results. He holds a BA from the University of Michigan and a JD/MBA from Boston College.