Baby Boomers and Insurance Technology – Gradual Adoption

Navigating Generational Technology Gaps

The last 30 years have brought incredible technological changes to the average persons’ daily life. The home computer expanded the use of the internet from only the most tech savvy to the entire populace. Digital music toppled all previous forms of physical distribution, leaving us all pondering “Do I really have to buy ‘Allman Brothers’ Greatest Hits’ again?” Social media has connected (as well as divided) us with our global neighbors. Then came the smartphone- a persistent tether to the digital world that we carry in our pocket, wherever we go.

However, as the world becomes more digital with each passing day, there are still those who remain uncertain of these massive changes. In LexisNexis’ recent “Future of Claims 2021 Report”, they conducted a number of polls on the generational differences in how the public feels about automated self service in insurance claims. Their conclusion:

“(While) 79% of Millenials and 64% of Gen Xers are now comfortable with automated claims processes...the majority of Baby Boomers are still uncomfortable...”

In the interest of helping assuage some of these fears, we wanted to take the opportunity to showcase how Livegenic has accounted for many of these concerns and applied them towards the development of our tools.

The Numbers

In the LexisNexis report, responders were asked about their thoughts on automated claims processing; with the answers then divided by generation. Here are a few figures:

  • When it came to filing an auto insurance claim online, 49% (NEARLY HALF) of all Baby Boomers surveyed that they were not at all comfortable with the process.
  • Whereas 79% of Millennials and 64% of Gen Xers polled were comfortable with automated claims, only 42% of Boomers felt positively about them.
  • And while this group grew since 2019 (a 19% increase for Millennials, 9% for Gen Xers), Boomers were the only group where their positivity towards automated claims decreased (down 8% in the same period).

Though the common adage may be: “People will become more comfortable as they gain experience”, these numbers indicate that older clients have been building experience with automated claims and are even less satisfied with the process.

What can we do about this generational technology gap? To get some answers, I spoke with Livegenic’s SVP of Technology Partnerships, Dave Grever - who has nearly 40 years in the insurance industry.

“I think that saying ‘The Boomer generation is hesitant to new technology’ is a gross oversimplification,” Dave says. “Some older generation individuals are great with new technology. It just comes down to the individual. Young people aren’t necessarily more technologically advanced just because they’re using social media.”

It’s true, it may not be an aversion to technology that is driving process distrust among the generations. Dave points out that this is not the first time such a thing has happened before. Several decades ago, customers purchased insurance through an independent agent who’d have an office in their neighborhood. It wasn’t a matter of “Calling the insurance company”, it was closer to “I need to go talk to Fred about the roof”. Now that direct sales rule the day, the odds are slim you will ever talk to the same person twice at your insurer.

Dave sees this as the true root of generational discomfort, and one that Livegenic addresses through live collaboration.

“Everybody hates the push button menu. ‘Press 1 for claims, Press 5 for payment’. Companies have to keep human interaction. It’s about human connection, I don’t care what your age is.”

“Here’s a major aspect people forget; if you’re filing a claim, it’s because something damaging has happened. Filing a claim is often happening immediately after a traumatic event. Without the human component, automated claims can be just another hassle piled onto an already stressful event. It’s not just the filing of the claim; I think clients are missing that reassuring human touch.”

But Dave believes that innovation doesn’t necessarily mean that a connection is impossible.

Technology can support the real need: human connection, interaction, empathy, compassion that chatbots and automation can’t provide. Filing a claim can be a traumatic event. Having someone walk you through it goes a long way towards making them comfortable.

So how should carriers address these concerns? The general consensus seems to be:

– Maintain the option for live human connection

When not given the option of speaking with a live person, 55% of Boomers said they are uncomfortable with that process. Given the option of access to a live assistant, that uncomfortable percentage shrinks to just 17%.

– Prioritize “Ease of Use” In Development

Baby Boomers place more importance on ease-of-use than the option to file unassisted. The majority are still uncomfortable with new technology in these processes and have adopted a “wait-and-see” attitude.

– Ask Questions

Future of Claims 2021 Study
(src: LexisNexis “Future of Claims 2021 Study”)

When asked amongst generations whether they were asked too many questions on a recently processed claim, 46% of Millennials said no, 61% of Gen X said no, and a whopping 87% of Boomers said no. That’s 26% higher than Gen X and an incredible 41% (nearly double) than that of Millennials. This shows a clear preference amongst Boomers for a thorough discussion, ensuring nothing has been left out or missed.

– Gradual Change

Dave says, “Technological change needs to be gradual or customers will revolt, and the technology needs to support that model.” The surveys back him up: Different generations will have different expectations of their carriers, and Boomers are unlikely to change their preference to full automation.

People tend to have preferences that align with their age group, and it’s up to those of us in the industry to ensure that everyone’s needs are respected and accounted for. Livegenic doesn’t just provide ways to virtually inspect claims, we give insurers a completely new way to establish and maintain that critical human connection during some of the most challenging times in a customer’s life.

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