Brokers have a real opportunity to reach the Generation X and African American populations when it comes to life insurance.

The demand is highest for people ages 33-50, says LIMRA Senior Research Director Nilufer Ahmed because “Gen X presents the greatest demand for life insurance for ‘traditional’ reasons, such as marriage, buying a home and having children.”

Nearly 60% of U.S. households with children younger than 18 are headed by a Generation X member, Ahmed says, compared to 20% of households that are headed by a member of Generation Y, people ages 25-32. “This makes Gen X a much larger potential market than Gen Y for life insurance, accumulation products and financial planning,” she says.

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Gen X members are more likely than those in Gen Y to own life insurance, LIMRA data shows. However, the insured Gen X population “are the most likely to indicate that they do not have enough life insurance coverage,” Ahmed says. “Further, among those that do not have any life insurance coverage, Gen Xers are the most likely to say they need to be protected.”

That’s because Generation X members need to save for their children’s college education and their own retirement. This group has the added pressure of “the very real possibility” of having to financially support their aging parents, Ahmed says.

“Gen X is the ultimate ‘sandwich generation,’” she says. “It’s no wonder they’re financially stressed.”

That’s not a surprise, Ahmed says, as just four in 10 Gen X members are saving regularly. Top concerns include paying for their kids’ education, saving for retirement and having debt when they retire, she says.

The recession has hampered Generation X, Ahmed says. “Gen X needs our products, services and support the most,” she says. “They started their adult lives at a disadvantage. Their recovery has started, but they have fewer years ahead of them than Gen Y to plan for their future and save enough. For the financial services industry, now is the time to pay attention to Gen X.”

Saving important to African Americans

Brokers should also pay attention to African Americans. A separate LIMRA study shows 74% of middle-class African Americans are more likely to consider “saving for an emergency fund” than the total middle class population, 62%.

African Americans, which account for 12% of the 52 million middle-market households, are also more likely to own life insurance. LIMRA found that six in 10 middle-class African Americans have life insurance, compared to 46% of American’s total middle market.

“Their higher rates of ownership are in line with their positive attitudes about life insurance,” according to LIMRA, which found that seven in 10 African Americans agree most people need life insurance compared to half of the overall middle class. About half of uninsured African Americans plan to buy life insurance in the next year, LIMRA found, compared to 29% of the total uninsured middle-market population.

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A firm’s reputation for service and paying claims are top characteristics for the middle class when shopping for a provider, the study says. A company’s brand is also a priority for a majority of African Americans, 62%, while less than half of the overall market rank brand as a consideration.

Education, explanation and responsiveness are key qualities the middle class is looking for in an adviser, LIMRA found. “Financial professionals who can show how life insurance fits into a client’s overall financial situation are favored by a much higher proportion of middle-market African Americans compared to the general market.”

The best way to reach African Americans is to give clients strategies to save money and reduce debt, LIMRA says. “Financial professionals also have a clear opportunity to discuss financial protection because African Americans are more likely to own and buy life insurance.”

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