Health Insurers Ignoring Generation X, Y?

Aug. 2.09 | About: iShares U.S. (IYH)

Health and life insurance providers are much more likely to market to Baby Boomers than to younger consumers who fall into Generation X and Generation Y age groups, according to research from Mintel Comperemedia.

In the 12 months ending June 2009, a study found that Gen Xers (those born in the mid 1960s to the early 1980s) received 15% fewer health insurance marketing direct mail pieces than Boomers. Gen Y (those born in the mid 1980s to late 1990s) saw even fewer offers: 25% less than their parents’ generation.

For life insurance, the younger generations are equally ignored: Gen X and Gen Y got 18% and 23% fewer mailings, respectively, than Baby Boomers in the past year, Mintel said.

Despite this lack of attention from insurers, consumer data from Mintel shows Generation X is very interested in health and life insurance. Gen Xers are less likely than average to say they own non-employer based life or health insurance, but they’re more likely to say they’ll purchase these products in the near future (17% more likely for health insurance, 23% for life insurance).

Moreover, 63% of Gen-X adults in a recent Mintel survey said it is “very important to be well-insured when it comes to life insurance,” vs. just 58% of the general population agreeing with that same statement.

“Generation X is under-served and over-interested in life and health insurance, making them the perfect target market,” said Daniel Hayes, VP of insurance services at Mintel Comperemedia. Hayes added that this generation’s concern about providing for both young children and aging parents will make insurance even more important in the future.

Mintel said Gen Xers are 72% more likely than the average American to say they’re currently saving for a child’s education. But at the same time, they’re preparing to support their parents: 53% of Gen Xers say they expect to be the primary caregiver for a parent or other relative.

“Health and life insurers seem to favor marketing to older adults, but in doing so they’re missing vast market opportunities,” added Hayes. “All generations can benefit from health and life insurance coverage, so age shouldn’t dictate insurers’ direct marketing strategy.”