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How gen­er­a­tional dif­fer­ences shape cov­er­age choices 

Guest: Ginger Bates, Director of Research Services, Eastbridge Consulting Group

America’s fastest-growing small carrier has partnered with Eastbridge Consulting Group to bring you a new podcast series, Focus on Voluntary Benefits. In episode 3, Director of Research Services Ginger Bates discusses the similarities and differences between generations, as well as other factors brokers should consider when planning for enrollments.

Want to hear more? Listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

How can an awareness and understanding of generational demographics help brokers guide employers when deciding which products they should offer their workforce?

Ginger: Let’s start by defining what a generation is: a group of people born within a certain timeframe that have experienced key historical events that shaped their lives. They have a lot in common, but they are also very diverse in regard to what’s going on in their lives – and that impacts their specific needs and purchase behaviors. I would say that generational demographics are a good place to start in terms of understanding general trends and preferences, but to better understand benefit needs and purchasing decisions, we need to delve deeper.

For instance, a millennial who is married with children is going to make far different benefit decisions than a fellow millennial who's 10 years younger and single. A Gen Xer who makes $60,000 and is married but with no kids at home is going to have different needs than a fellow Gen Xer who makes $150,000 and is remarried with a second family. So, I think knowing the makeup of the account at a more detailed level can help a broker’s plan and approach.

It can be easy to make assumptions about one generation or another, but that can be dangerous. What are some common misconceptions about certain generations that Eastbridge data has proven incorrect?

Ginger: One that immediately comes to mind is the role of technology in the enrollment process. From a generational standpoint, we might expect baby boomers and Gen Xers to be less tech savvy and more interested in talking to someone to enroll versus using a self-service method. Based on our data, that doesn’t really pan out. Boomers have the highest percentage preference for enrolling online, followed by Gen Xers and then millennials. They also express less interest in enrolling with a representative or on the phone than do Gen Xers and millennials. That’s a bit different than what we might assume.

What should brokers keep in mind as they create voluntary benefit strategies for their clients?

When it comes to preparing for enrollments this fall: First, be flexible and provide options. You need to be able to offer multiple messages and communication methods for employers to use. And the same applies to offering multiple enrollment methods. If you don't have the capability to provide live support via phone, I would suggest looking into it. If you don't currently have an online platform to offer to those smaller employers who don't have their own, you need to find one to include in your offering.

My second thought is to keep it simple. Make sure the benefits needs assessment tool used in the enrollment process begins with assessing the three key demographics that drive purchases: income level, marital status, and children under 18 in the household.

Subscribe to Focus on Voluntary Benefits on Apple Podcasts and Spotify to hear more episodes.

America’s fastest-growing small carrier has partnered with Eastbridge Consulting Group to bring you a new podcast series, Focus on Voluntary Benefits. In episode 3, Director of Research Services Ginger Bates discusses the similarities and differences between generations, as well as other factors brokers should consider when planning for enrollments.

Want to hear more? Listen to the full episode on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

How can an awareness and understanding of generational demographics help brokers guide employers when deciding which products they should offer their workforce?

Ginger: Let’s start by defining what a generation is: a group of people born within a certain timeframe that have experienced key historical events that shaped their lives. They have a lot in common, but they are also very diverse in regard to what’s going on in their lives – and that impacts their specific needs and purchase behaviors. I would say that generational demographics are a good place to start in terms of understanding general trends and preferences, but to better understand benefit needs and purchasing decisions, we need to delve deeper.

For instance, a millennial who is married with children is going to make far different benefit decisions than a fellow millennial who's 10 years younger and single. A Gen Xer who makes $60,000 and is married but with no kids at home is going to have different needs than a fellow Gen Xer who makes $150,000 and is remarried with a second family. So, I think knowing the makeup of the account at a more detailed level can help a broker’s plan and approach.

It can be easy to make assumptions about one generation or another, but that can be dangerous. What are some common misconceptions about certain generations that Eastbridge data has proven incorrect?

Ginger: One that immediately comes to mind is the role of technology in the enrollment process. From a generational standpoint, we might expect baby boomers and Gen Xers to be less tech savvy and more interested in talking to someone to enroll versus using a self-service method. Based on our data, that doesn’t really pan out. Boomers have the highest percentage preference for enrolling online, followed by Gen Xers and then millennials. They also express less interest in enrolling with a representative or on the phone than do Gen Xers and millennials. That’s a bit different than what we might assume.

What should brokers keep in mind as they create voluntary benefit strategies for their clients?

When it comes to preparing for enrollments this fall: First, be flexible and provide options. You need to be able to offer multiple messages and communication methods for employers to use. And the same applies to offering multiple enrollment methods. If you don't have the capability to provide live support via phone, I would suggest looking into it. If you don't currently have an online platform to offer to those smaller employers who don't have their own, you need to find one to include in your offering.

My second thought is to keep it simple. Make sure the benefits needs assessment tool used in the enrollment process begins with assessing the three key demographics that drive purchases: income level, marital status, and children under 18 in the household.

Subscribe to Focus on Voluntary Benefits on Apple Podcasts and Spotify to hear more episodes.