28. October 2021 By Barbara Häuser
What demands does Generation Alpha place on insurers?
A view of the young new customer in five to ten years and their demands on the insurer
In my previous blog post, I described what the persona of a new customer might look like in five to ten years. This way, we can begin to identify the demands customers will place on insurance companies in the future. Generation Alpha describes all children born between 2010 and 2025. This will be the first generation to grow up completely in the 21st century and live in a world that is increasingly volatile.
Generation Alpha is digitally savvy
The children of Generation Alpha are familiar with digital products and have used them as a matter of course from an early age. This is what separates this generation from previous generations. Various studies (such as ViacomCBS Global, Institut für Generationenforschung (Institute for Generational Research)) have shown that the more naturally digital products are used, the more (personal) data is disclosed. This can already be measured today on the basis of Google. Google services allow me to easily log in to many apps or websites. Insurers can start to derive initial approaches for their customer journeys from this.
Thanks to this natural approach to the digital world, Generation Alpha is likely to be a very technology-driven generation. All over the world, Generation Alpha already spends about 15 hours per week with digital devices. This is significantly more than the generations before.
The Covid-19 pandemic has also played a key role here, as digital home schooling and independent learning have increased the use of the Internet. However, it is clear that pupils only use the Internet more intensively at secondary school.
Outside of school, Generation Alpha students tend to currently use the Internet primarily as a source of information. In the German KIM (Kinder, Internet, Medien: Childhood, Internet, Media) study carried out, one third of young people say they search online for things they want to buy. Almost 50 per cent of these young people also search the Internet for information on homework or school.
Due to the influence of school, it makes sense as an insurer to start to focus on new technical solutions today. In countries such as Sweden, it has become normal to make cashless payments using a credit card or app. In restaurants, food is ordered via app and paid for automatically. Here, all selection options can be found clearly and easily in one system.
This is by no means a new idea in the insurance sector. Brokers, such as Clark, for example, are pioneers in this area.
Communication and contact with Generation Alpha
Generation Alpha already uses smartphones to communicate – primarily to exchange messages with friends throughout the day. It would probably therefore not occur to many people to send a damage report by fax. Here, it is also important for insurers to develop digital communication across various channels.
Digital channels are not only used for communication purposes; they are also used for seeking out information.
On TikTok, users receive the information they require summarised concisely in short video sequences. The company ‘Insurance with Head’ already explains clearly and vividly on Instagram and YouTube which insurance cover makes sense (including why and/or for which case).
CosmosDirekt, for example, promoted its liability insurance on TikTok with a branded hashtag challenge. The #CosmicFail challenge called on the community to share its ‘best’ fails.
There were 1.1 million views and 230,000 posts using the hashtag – this can definitely be considered a success. We can assume that this result will be higher in a few years, as some participants belonging to this generation have not yet been born.
The challenges this generation brings
Earlier generations did not have to think about the digital footprint that parents leave of their children while they are still underage. Every picture and word posted online about a child will be a part of their online portfolio. While Generation X worried about their permanent files, Generation Alpha may need to feel concerned about Instagram and even their parents’ old Facebook page.
This will increase the demand for digital estate management and make deleting accounts without prior regulation a challenge. As an insurer, why not use this with a death benefit or term life insurance policy. Descendants and heirs will then not only be certain that funeral costs will be covered, but will also know that the digital estate will be managed.
Even outside the World Wide Web, many options are open to members of this generation: from favourite sports and career choices to the way in which they obtain information – the latest generation has more options than ever before. Insurers need to position themselves accordingly while ensuring that the variety of offers does not lead to overload. This means that companies are already present for children via the various platforms. For example, an insurer can show their presence with a short upstream clip on YouTube and unconsciously draw children’s attention to the brand. A sponsored football or tennis camp is mostly not perceived as advertising by parents and children alike.
Outside the Internet, Generation Alpha is increasingly confronted with environmental disasters and this increasingly puts the focus on sustainability. We have already witnessed such an environmental disaster this year in the catastrophic flood in the Ahr valley in Germany, for example. The Fridays for Future movement, whose activities are shining a spotlight on climate change – not only socially but also politically – is testament to the fact that future generations are not left unaffected by these disasters. Future generations will also take this into account when choosing their products.
In this context, initial surveys have shown that the sharing economy is growing, underlining not only sustainability but also the requirement for flexibility. Insurance concepts need to be found for this requirement of the Alpha Generation.
What we can do today to win Generation Alpha as customers
Although Generation Alpha children are not yet able to enter into contracts themselves, their parents can. In addition to products such as liability, household contents and car insurance, products or additional services for children can also be offered here. Since the parents are Millennials or members of Generation X, they often lack the affinity for technology or the self-awareness that allows them to use the technology. An information evening – for example, on social media, and a subsequent reference to the Internet protection component in private liability or household contents insurance – can help to reach the parents’ generation today and also boost sales.
After taking a close look at the persona and requirements of Generation Alpha, I will provide an insight into a possible customer journey in my next blog post. In addition to the individual phases, the requirements and demands of Generation Alpha also play a role.
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