Keeping Pace with Society and Technology

Jun 26, 2024

Only 36% of Americans aged 27 or younger have life insurance, compared to 57% of those 60 and older.  

How can the insurance industry better engage with young people? Several ideas were discussed while I participated on a recent panel during the Insurance Europe International Conference in Helsinki, Finland.

To kick off the panel we watched short videos where young adults on the streets of Helsinki were asked questions about insurance. The respondents acknowledged they knew very little about various insurance products, which echoes research from LIMRA that shows most young people think life insurance is way more expensive than it actually is.

One of the panelists in Helsinki was Anya Suprunenko, executive director of the European Youth Parliament. She noted that the average age of her staff is about 27 or 28 years old. Before the conference, she asked them to search online for insurance. Interestingly, they didn’t go to a search engine like Google. They went to TikTok.

Education and engagement are essential to reaching young consumers. But like Anya demonstrated, we need to reach them where they are. 

We also need our regulations to keep pace with evolving technology and consumer preferences.

One example is artificial intelligence. If it’s used constructively, AI can lower the cost and increase the accessibility of life insurance products. But there have been genuine concerns over how this new technology could be used. 

During the panel I noted how regulators and industry have worked together in a public-private partnership to address these concerns. In a recent example, the NAIC approved a model bulletin that will help ensure AI can be used wisely, fairly and safely. 

I also cited an example where we can do better. During the pandemic, our industry evolved and tried to conduct business electronically wherever possible. Still, some regulators raise legitimate concerns that older consumers and those without Internet access will not be able to take advantage of these services. But that’s not a reason to deter access for the next generation of consumers. We think innovation can provide consumer-friendly benefits, and we look forward to working with regulators to review insurance laws and regulations with a view toward promoting the responsible use of technology.

It’s already hard enough to break through to younger customers. In order for us to be able to continue delivering products and services to the next generation of families’ financial security, it is essential that regulations are modernized and keep pace with technology and society.

Susan K. Neely

Susan K. Neely is the President and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), the nation’s leading trade association determined to help families live better lives by achieving financial security and certainty. As president and CEO, Neely drives public policy and advocacy on behalf of ACLI’s member companies that represent 93 percent of industry assets and serve 90 million families.