Shopping. Working. Dating. Smartphones can speed up and simplify our interactions with the outside world no end, and we’re using them to handle an increasing range of our day-to-day needs. And that’s something which is even more true in the case of people under thirty. A 2019 survey of U.S. adults conducted by the Pew Research Center found that more than 90% of millennials – the generational cohort born approximately between 1981 and 2000 – own smartphones, and those phones are now starting to play an important role in the way an entire generation of people are choosing to buy their car insurance.
A recent study of online vehicle insurance purchases by startup Prima Assicurazioni highlights that while 70% of over-50s still elect to use their home PC to buy their car insurance, four out of every ten people under thirty prefers to use their phone. The fact is even more surprising in light of the lockdowns and restrictions triggered since March by the Covid-19 pandemic, which have forced many of us to spend much more time at home than usual, and points to the preference many younger people have for phone-based services.
Perhaps spurred on by the feelings of insecurity and instability which the pandemic has intensified, Millennials are beginning to take an interest in all kinds of insurance: a year ago only one Millennial in five said that they would consider buying an insurance policy for anything other than their vehicle – today, one in two say they would. But although the number of Millennials seeking home, life and health insurance is growing, insurance companies are still responding with outdated languages and interfaces.
A study of the online acquisition of policies by Milanese crowdtesting company AppQuality highlights just how much insurance companies need to improve on this front: while some policies allow you to sign up on your smartphone with only three or four clicks, others require more than 25 clicks – a difference dictated by a dearth of investment in insurtech technology and a lack of understanding of Millennial preferences for simple and intuitive policies and interfaces.
So while new opportunities are certainly presenting themselves, as ever, it will be the companies keeping abreast of technological and social developments who will be best-placed to take advantage of them. Millennials – and presumably even more so the younger generational cohorts of pure digital natives like Generation Z and Generation Alpha who will be coming after them – see the world they live in as unstable and insurance as a way of providing stability, but they want companies to offer them ways of purchasing policies which speak to their preferred ways of interacting, and will gravitate towards the ones which do. This means that to attract them as customers, insurance companies must first learn to understand their needs, and then invest in the insurtech capable of delivering the kind of services they demand.