Managing the Market
Marketing plays an essential role in the success of AU products, SI products, and everything in between. When insurers manage the pool of people aware of and seeking the product, they boost their chances of attracting healthier lives even before any underwriting happens. There are a variety of approaches to influence this. Some are quite simple, such as ensuring marketing language that emphasizes speed and convenience rather than a lack of particular testing or evidence. Other, more complex options are explored in more detail below.
However, in a direct-to-consumer world where anyone could stumble upon a product marketed to a certain group, insurers cannot actively prevent people from applying. Affinity groups or affiliate marketing is one avenue for insurers to align products with demographic groups that are well-suited to their risk profile.
Savvy direct-to-consumer marketing boosts visibility among those aligned with the product’s risk tolerance while minimizing the likelihood of others accidentally happening upon it.
Product pricing requires a delicate balance; insurers need to cover their mortality risk while not chasing away healthier lives. People may be willing to pay a certain upcharge for a convenient process, but there is likely a price at which they are prompted to look elsewhere. Risk class structure can help on this front. The potential of a lower preferred rate, enabled by stringent requirements and reduced qualification rates, may help balance attractive marketing with sustainable product pricing. Additionally, insurers focused on SI and AU products should not leave out customers who would normally be attracted to full underwriting products. Products that fall in between AU and SI can be designed to attract these good-risk customers, who may perceive an additional premium charge as worthwhile for a fast and convenient process.
The industry still struggles with consumer perceptions about the cost of life insurance. To single out just one demographic, LIMRA’s 2023 Insurance Barometer Survey found that the number one reason millennials have not purchased life insurance is because they think the cost is prohibitive. Here are two marketing strategies that hold promise in this area.
- Price anchoring sets a price point that customers can refer to when making decisions and can be an effective approach for insurers. In their marketing, insurers can “anchor” the cost of life insurance among regular consumer purchases like auto insurance, mobile phone service, or even monthly Starbucks expenses. In this way, insurers can position insurance products among other expenses that people perceive as reasonable. Through price anchoring, a higher price point may still attract desirable customers, providing more underwriting freedom. For example, $500,000 or more in life insurance may cost less than half of a family’s typical monthly mobile phone bill.
- Embedded insurance is another strong approach where insurers partner with established consumer brands to bundle insurance coverage into the purchasing journey for other products and services. Life and health insurers have been slower to adopt embedded products when compared to our property and casualty counterparts, but the sector is catching up fast.
Conclusion: Minding the Gap
On the complex spectrum between traditional SI and AU, many strategies can increase the speed of underwriting decisions while finding a comfortable place within the mortality gap. Small steps toward a seamless application process can go a long way toward increasing customer satisfaction, attracting the right risks, and maintaining low mortality. As our underwriting paradigms evolve, insurers don’t have to force themselves into one end of the spectrum or even into the expectations of traditional underwriting. Instead, we may discover a middle ground that gets us closer to the “just right” blend of price and process.
RGA’s teams have unique insights into how products are designed and marketed and can provide candid assessments of current offerings and prospective products. Contact us to learn more about how we can advise insurers on the development of AU and SI products.