Millennial small business owners Millennials are relying on insurance agents for guidance in more areas than other generations, especially boomers. (Photo: Shutterstock)

Cautious millennial business owners are more likely than other generations to work with insurance agents on a wide variety of insurance and financial issues, according to recent survey data.

Related: Comprehensive insurance plans: Strategies for small business owners

According to Nationwide’s fourth annual Business Owner Survey, 69% of millennial business owners work with an insurance agent, followed by boomers at 66% and Gen X at 59%.

The most common reason for working with an insurance agent among all generations is the trust that business owners place on the guidance and expertise from an agent.

Further, millennials are relying on agents for guidance in more areas than other generations, especially boomers. Retirement (37% vs. 26%), banking (25% vs. 4%) and succession planning (21% vs. 9%) show a wide generational gap.

Nationwide Business Owner Survey Infographic.

“Millennial business owners came of age during the 2008 recession — a time of economic crisis marked by uncertainty in financial markets, significant job reductions across the country and a sudden downturn in the real estate market,” said Amy Shore, president of Nationwide’s P&C Sales & Distribution. ”For that reason, it’s not hard to understand why this generation is more motivated than the generations that came before them to proactively take steps that satisfy their need for stability. Seeking professional advice intended to position a business for success over the long-term is exactly what business owners stand to gain by working with an agent.”

Other key findings from the survey show:

Use of insurance agents is widespread among business owners.

  • Over six-in-ten business owners (63%) report having an insurance agent, while almost seven-in-ten millennials have one (69%).
  • Business owners with between 100-299 employees are most likely to work with an insurance agent (80%), those with fewer than 50 employees are least likely (57%).
  • Guidance and expertise (41%) are the driving forces behind the agent relationship, more so than practical considerations like level of coverage (25%) and efficiency (23%).

Price is the top consideration when selecting an insurance agent.

  • Next in line is insurance coverage/offerings, followed by customer service.
  • While trust and guidance are reasons for having an agent, reputation ranks No. 5 on the list of reasons provided by the survey.

Although half of the owners have never filed a claim for their business, 70% of millennials have.

  • Half (51%) admit to reviewing their insurance policy on an annual basis.
  • No universal milestone is driving insurance reviews. Business owners admit to a variety of reasons occurring across various time periods.
  • Part of this reasoning may be that business insurance goes largely unused. Half of owners (53%) have never filed a claim for their business.
  • Boomers have used their coverage to an even lesser extent, as 62% have never filed a claim compared to 30% of millennials.

It’s important for us to provide advice and advocacy to millennial business owners who are increasingly looking for ways to protect their assets, especially as their businesses grow,” said Craig Concklin, president of Concklin Insurance Agency Inc. in Chicago. “Insurance agents are business owners, too, so we can relate and respond to the concerns and questions from business owners who want to protect what matters most to them.”

About the survey

Nationwide commissioned Edelman Intelligence to conduct a 20-minute, online survey between April 9-27, 2018, among a sample of 1,000 U.S. business owners. Business owners are defined as having between 1-499 employees, being 18 years or older and self-reporting as either a sole or partial owner of their business.

The margin of error for this sample was +/-3% at the 95% confidence level. As a member of CASRO in good standing, Edelman Intelligence conducts all research in accordance with Market Research Standards and Guidelines.

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