Getting into the heads of Generation Y consumers could be a scary thing, but it is necessary to ensure a successful future for insurers, as Gen Y has become an active group in the insurance industry.According to the J.D. Power and Associates 2008 Insurance Retention/Defection Study, more than 45% of Gen Y customers (18 to 23 years old) shopped for a new carrier in the past 12 months, compared with 38% of Gen X customers (24 to 44 years old) and only 31% of baby boomers (45 to 62 years old).Like every generation before it, Gen Y will have vast and varied insurance needs as it matures. By creating a customer service model geared toward Gen Ys needs today, insurers will take an important step toward industry modernization, and better overall customer experience for all generations, in addition to tapping this new revenue base, according to Deloittes Insuring the Catalyst-Customer: Gen Y and the Insurance Industry.Deloitte identifies seven attributes of Gen Y that may provide insurers with insights into product and product delivery preferences:1. As financial freshmen, Gen Y has easier access to, and more information about, financial products and services than earlier generations did at this stage of life. However, when it comes to implementation, they are still novices.2. Being independently dependent, Gen Y consumers are self-directed and resourceful in conducting research on financial services products, but often seek recommendations from, and validation of, their decisions from family, friends and financial advisors.3. Gen Y is practically motivated at this stage in life, and is naturally concerned with obtaining products and services at an affordable price.4. Tech-savvy Gen Yers grew up as technology natives, and view technology as an extension of themselves, compared to baby boomers, who view it more as a tool.5. Gen Ys entrepreneurial spirit presents an opportunity for insurers to consider outreach about group and commercial insurance at an early age.6. The consumer world is becoming increasingly diverse on many fronts and Gen Y embodies this diversity.7. Socially mindful Gen Yers show a propensity for being altruistic and environmentally conscious or green.The key to building a Gen Y customer platform is to first understand these seven unique attributes, says Rick Berry, head of Deloittes Insurance Distribution practice. These characteristics are already beginning to manifest themselves in the groups rising expectations of customer experience, delivered substantially through product offerings, marketing and distribution.The report recommends insurers focus on new and existing products that meet a need in the broader context of a relationship. And to attract and retain the loyalty of Gen Y, insurers and their distribution partners will need to develop and effectively spread marketing messages that are personally relevant. For Gen Y, the customer experience and customer relationship are embodied in a combination of seamlessly integrated channels built on best-in-class technological capabilities that provide flexibility to obtain the advice and support it needs.Gen Yers occupy the leading edge of technology and customer experience; and they are continuously raising their expectations of underlying technological capabilities that drive insurers product offerings, marketing and distribution, according to the report.Gen Y seeks flexible and customized customer experiencesa trend that is already influencing older demographics, says Rebecca Amoroso, head of Deloittes U.S. Insurance practice.
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