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Engaging the Future: Guiding the Next Generation of Small Business Owners

by Philip Charles-Pierre on

It’s the age of the entrepreneur. Many who were laid off or furloughed because of the coronavirus pandemic used it as a chance to pursue their passions and start their own businesses. While more small business owners means more opportunities for agents, they also need to be prepared for the growing number of millennial and Generation Z business owners and their insurance service expectations, which differ from older generations.

Younger small business owners want more—more service, more options and more communication, according to Semsee’s Small Business Snapshot. Overall, 81% of millennials and Gen Zers want agents to shop for coverage before it renews, compared to just 63% of their baby boomer counterparts. And while once-a-year communication might have been enough for baby boomer small business owners (67%), less than a quarter of millennials and Gen Zers said it was sufficient. The majority prefer to speak twice a year, quarterly or even monthly.

Younger business owners also require more counsel and are not as familiar with different insurance coverages. Half of millennial and Gen Z small business owners were surprised to find that something wasn’t covered by their policies that they expected to be, compared to just 21% of baby boomers.

The good news is that younger small business owners are turning to agents to help with their insurance needs. However, agents will have to adapt their processes to meet their expectations. Here are three steps you can take to serve millennial and Gen Z customers:

1.) Advise, don’t sell. Baby boomers might have been happy to be given a single coverage option to purchase. Millennials and Gen Zers, on the other hand, don’t want to be pressured into buying a particular policy and want the information to make their own decisions. Present them with different coverage options. Also, find ways to share information with them via newsletters, social media and even videoconferencing to help keep them informed.

2.) Utilize technology to free up more time to spend with clients. Younger customers want more value for their dollars. They want an advisor to help with the purchasing process. Implementing technologies that can handle routine tasks will enable agents to give clients the experience they require. Automated quoting solutions allow agents to retrieve multiple quotes from a single form rather than going to each carrier portal. Automated email solutions can regularly send out messages and important information without requiring the agent to handle each email individually.

3.) Be prepared for a more informed customer. Millennials and Gen Zers might not have an initial understanding about insurance, but they will do their research. This is the Google generation, and most will have done some online searching to get an understanding of the basic coverage they need.

They will be armed with internet information – but of course, not everything on the internet is accurate. Be prepared to re-educate and clear up misunderstandings. Younger owners also want detailed information about their policy coverages, so be ready to dive into specifics. If you can make complex insurance language digestible, you can create long-lasting relationships.

Millennials and Gen Z small business owners are not like their older counterparts. They are looking for agents to guide and equip them with the information they need to make the right insurance decisions. By embracing the role of trusted advisor, agents can gain an advantage with the next big segment of insurance customers.

This article originally appeared in Independent Agent Magazine.