Old-style life insurance —agent-driven, product-centric, monolithic and unchanged—isn’t going to attract today’s digitally savvy buyers. Although they need the protection this insurance offers, these smart shoppers want to use digital services and online comparisons to find what they want.

There’s no doubt about the potential demand for life insurance protection among these consumers. The Gen X demographic group (age 32 to 47), for example, is significantly underpenetrated. In the U.S. alone, the Gen X sector could yield around $7.1 trillion in annual premiums.

Then there’s the Millennial generation, born between 1980 and 2000, which has just eclipsed the Baby Boomers as the US’ largest demographic group at around 80 million. In Europe, there are more than twice as many Millennials. These digital-savvy individuals are ripe for life insurance products.

Aside from these groups, there’s another type of customer with huge potential for life insurers. They are the “non-stop” customers who use digital channels to constantly consider and evaluate products and services.

This is Generation D. Often just termed Gen D. It is a multi-generation group united by their use of online, mobile and social technology. Digital services permeate every facet of their lives, including the creation and protection of wealth.

Gen D is prevalent in every mature economy. Accenture tracked Gen D in the U.S. where it comprises more than 75 million people with nearly $27 trillion in assets. The U.S. is the world’s largest life insurance market and is expected to grow to $766 billion by 2020; although its per capita penetration is lower than the U.K. and Japan. Accenture’s findings provide important insight into this newly-defined market sector that can be applied by life insurers in developed economies throughout the world.

It’s important to note that Gen D isn’t defined by age—in the Accenture study Gen D comprised 26 percent Millennials, 4 percent Gen Xers, and 25 percent Baby Boomers. Rather, the Gen D demographic is united by higher education levels, earnings potential, and pervasive use of online, mobile and social technology.

Accenture uncovered three key traits of Gen D:

Gen D is a vitally important group of investors. Gen D typically uses multiple devices to manage financial accounts, look up investments, and pay bills.

Gen D has eroding confidence in financial advisors. Although most actively seek financial advice, only 40 percent looked to their financial advisors for this advice. Most preferred to educate themselves elsewhere.

Gen D is seeking information to mitigate risk. The 2008 economic crash made Gen D, especially Millennials, conservative investors. They’re a perfect fit for life insurance products.

In my next blog I’ll highlight some of other big opportunities for life insurers in the new digital economy.

In the meantime, further information on Gen D and why they are important to life insurers can be found on these links:

Generation D: An emerging and important investor segment.

Changing the Distribution Dynamic: Strategies for Increasing the Value of Distribution in Life Insurance.

Beyond Insurance: Embracing Innovation to Monetize Disruption.

Stand on the Sidelines or Boost Competitiveness? How to make Bold  Moves on the New Insurance Playing Field. 

2015 Global Risk Management Study: Insurance Report.

Digital Insurance Era: Stretch your Boundaries.

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