Everything changed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic – except the underlying characteristics of life insurance sales. It’s an overstatement, for sure, but the point is that – despite significant challenge and change – the fundamentals of consumer life insurance purchasing habits are largely the same.

Importantly, advisors remain crucial to the industry – 90% of policies are sold with the help of an advisor, and this statistic has remained largely unchanged for many years. While some aspects of the journey are shifting to digital, consumers typically want advice and guidance when it comes to making such big decisions. 

Consumer Purchasing Behavior

The central drivers of a life insurance purchase haven’t changed – consumers buy insurance in response to a life trigger, whether it’s getting married, having a baby, or protecting the family in the face of a pandemic. What has changed is the movement online to research, compare, and buy policies. The 2018 LIMRA and Life Happens Insurance Barometer Survey found that 55% of millennials, 43% of Gen X, and 38% of Boomer’s research life insurance online before buying from an advisor. Moreover, about a third of consumers start their searches directly on an insurance carriers’ website.

In response to these trends, some insurers have experimented with “robot” advisors but consumers haven’t responded well. They want solid advice, which is hard to digitize, but not a hard sell. Today’s advisors must strike a balance between educating consumers and a softer sell. 

The good news is that all that online research consumers are doing creates data that advisors can use, from anticipating possible questions to ensuring confidence that clients are offered products that suit their needs. An InsurTech distribution platform can help collect this data, analyze it, and make it actionable for advisors. In addition, carriers get valuable insights into consumer behavior that can be used to design new products and support advisor sales.

Customers Online Behavior

As we all know, consumers have become accustomed to 24/7 access to information and a digital buying process, which means that advisors need to be digitally savvy as well. In 2018, 49% of those in the LIMRA survey visited a life insurance company website, 45% of them to seek out information about life insurance. When consumers come to your site, they’re giving you information about their needs. If they read a blog post about term life for new parents or a post about whole life for retirees, you’ve just learned about the probable reasons for their visit.

InsurTech tools track and analyze website visitor data, as well as online applications, gathering the insights that tell an advisor in Iowa that a local couple is interested in increasing their life insurance coverage. If the couple drops out of the online application when reaching the screen to estimate their net worth, that’s probably something they have questions about and the advisor can start her sales outreach offering to help. 

Gathering and Analyzing Data Online

It’s one thing to collect consumer behavioral data and another thing to put that data to good use. An InsurTech partner can not only help gather a wealth of data, but also employ powerful algorithms and AI to turn the data into actionable insights for both advisors and carriers. By leveraging technology, incumbents can begin to really learn about their consumers, what types of products they are interested in buying, and how they want to be engaged.

Breathe Life focuses on providing carriers and their advisors with beautifully designed technology and omnichannel support tools to help in their sales process. Even when someone is buying directly online, they can still talk to an advisor by phone, or they can work directly with an advisor in person or through co-browsing features. Breathe Life helps carriers adapt to changing consumer behavior by supporting the advisors who’ve always been at the core of the insurance buying experience.