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3 ways insurers can better market to women

By 2030, an estimated $569 billion to $874 billion will be put into the insurance industry — just by women. (Photo: iStock)
By 2030, an estimated $569 billion to $874 billion will be put into the insurance industry — just by women. (Photo: iStock)

Women make up half the population, but until recent years have been an untapped target market for insurance.

Only 31% of women have protection or savings-oriented life insurance, and women are statistically more unlikely to be uninsured.

But as more women enter the labor force, become entrepreneurs, and take on the decision-maker status in the household, the market is quickly expanding.

Accenture research presumes that the annual premium value of women’s global market will grow from between six to nine times larger than the $98 billion market of 2013. This means that by 2030 an estimated $569 billion to $874 billion will be put into the insurance industry — just by women alone. 

Related: Women's market represents trillion-dollar opportunity

An often underserved market in the industry, insurers are starting to emphasize strategies to bring in female consumers in all insurance types.

Here are three ways that many insurance companies are getting started:

Head of household

More than 40% of households are headed by women. (Photo: iStock)

1. Define the segment

More women are providers and decision-makers today than a decade ago.

From 2007 to 2012, the percentage of women-owned businesses increased 27%, and from 1960 to 2011, the percentage of households with a woman as the sole or primary provider rose to 40.4% from 10.8%.

In order to start a successful campaign to draw in more female consumers, insurance companies can leverage their own data to formulate a high-value prospect model. Insurers must first integrate and cleanse their databases to ensure that their first-party consumer information is up to date and accurate.

They can then segment the database to focus on female consumers and use third-party data services to append missing and additional demographic, psychographic and behavioral characteristics to shed light on the profiles of their most profitable female customers. Modeling their best female customers in their planning will lead to a better understanding of what prospects and current consumers want and need.

Life insurance providers need to particularly take notice as women are more likely than men to be concerned about being a burden to their families, and  a 2014 study by Aegon Retirement and Readiness found that only one in five women surveyed feel that the financial services industry truly understands their needs when it comes to financial planning to secure a future for their families. This leaves a large gap of women looking for security for themselves and their families, but not receiving the offers and information they need to make a plan.

Related: What insurance advisors should know about 80% of American families

 

Woman using tablet

More than 90% of women do research online before bying a product and 30% use mobile devices to make purchases. (Photo: iStock)

2. Optimize for digital and mobile

Although things are changing, it’s still more common for women to handle the majority of child and household care responsibilities along with holding a full-time job.

Among families with working mothers of preschool children, only one in five fathers claimed to be the primary caregiver, according to the Council of Economic Advisors. This makes for women on the go who expect services on the go.

A Marketing Firm Interactions study conducted in 2014 found that 91% of women conduct online research prior to making a purchase and 30% use their mobile device to make purchases.

Between board room meetings, parent teacher conferences, or both, women need insurance information at their fingertips, and companies need to get on board to stay competitive.

Optimize websites for mobile and digital and making forms easy and quick to fill out. One way to accomplish this is to remove cumbersome fields and use third-party data services to fill in the blanks with accurate, updated information. Some companies are also only requiring top level information at first, and then once a relationship has been established, the company can request more in-depth information from prospects.

Related: Fact of the week: How many American wives earn more than their husbands?

Business relationship

Research shows that women tend to be more concerned about relationships when buying insurance. (Photo: iStock)

3. Focus on relationships first

Research by Accenture has found repeatedly that while men are more product- and service-focused, women are more relational- and experience-focused in their insurance conversations. 

In order to attract — and keep — female insurance customers companies must implement ways to ensure positive consumer experiences across all channels.

Accenture suggests services such as regular follow ups, cross-selling of products that could be helpful to them ,and friendly reminders of renewals to amplify the positive customer experience.

Eighty-percent of women surveyed by Retail Perceptions are influenced by positive customer reviews and 67% are less likely to purchase a product or service after viewing negative reviews. Educating sales people and team members in the importance of consumer experience is integral to fostering positive consumer-brand relationships that women expect in their service providers. Women are generally more brand loyal as well, and will take on the role of brand ambassador for companies they feel go above and beyond their expectations.

In a challenging marketplace insurers must continuously find new ways to tap into unaddressed market segments. Using solid data to create consumer profiles, optimizing for quick access on multiple channels, and valuing customer experience are just three of the many ways to bring more women into your customer base. 

Jim Kaiser is vice president of data solutions for Wesley Chapel, Fla.-based data marketing company DataMentors.

Related: Women in insurance and the champions of change

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