Why talk to millennials about life insurance?

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Employees can benefit from life insurance at all stages of life, whether they’re fresh-faced newbies or nearing retirement.

Though many protect their cars, homes and electronics with benefits, too many don’t say “yes” to the important coverage that protects their loved ones. It’s not from lack of need. One in three Americans are concerned about leaving the people who count on them in a difficult financial situation, according to LIMRA’s 2017 Insurance Barometer study. It’s clear the need to protect the people and things employees care about transcends generation gaps.

Still, human resources professionals paying attention know millennials are a critical group to consider when deciding what benefits to offer. Most are in hot pursuit of ways to attract and retain this group, which now makes up most of the workforce. But the good news is most of these employees’ needs are the same as their predecessors regarding traditional benefits, at least from my perspective as a product specialist in the field — and as a millennial.

The group prioritizes savings and emergency funds, for example, according LIMRA’s report. They are looking for opportunities to invest in large purchases such as a car or home, or for ways to build cash value. With that in mind, employers should consider touting the cash-building options in a whole life policy. It may very well entice savings-savvy employees. And the opportunity to lock in premiums may prove appealing one, too, especially with a healthcare landscape in limbo. After all, millennials can always buy more coverage later, but their insurability might change over time.

The added protection provided by term life during a specific stage of life is also a variable that may be of interest to employees. That may be especially true for “older millennials” who find it difficult to identify with some of the all-too-broad assumptions about the group. Many are lumped in with single twenty-somethings but are well into their careers and may have people depending on them — kids, roommates, parents, even siblings.

Employers shouldn’t just stop at what to offer, though. They should be careful to clearly demonstrate the value of this coverage for their employees, as well.

Half of millennials haven’t been approached about life insurance, according to LIMRA. So they may consider it a benefit for far-away time. Or they might just need basic education about the products — many believe they wouldn’t quality even though they are, on average, more likely to. Likewise, and in step with other generations, they consistently overestimate the premiums associated with life insurance.

To better educate employees, consider tips from my colleague, Richard Shaffer, who runs the Enrollment Center for Unum. He recommends employers use at least three different mediums — such as printed materials, web-based tools and in-person meetings — to help employees process information before enrollment. That’s for any product, not just life insurance. It will likely boost participation and help ensure your employees know what they’re leaving on the table if they do pass on the coverage or more of it.

See also: 3 ways to boost open enrollment

Finally, regardless of what millennials at the company claim on their tax returns, those caring for parents, siblings or with live-in partners know there are people who do depend on them. As you develop tools and communications for enrollment, ask them to consider who it is that would be at risk if something were to happen to them, and make the decision based on what will serve their loved ones in the long run.

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Life insurance Benefit management Voluntary benefits Benefit strategies Benefit communication