Research reveals a better way to engage with consumers so they won’t “turn off” when life insurance is discussed
May 31, 2016
NEW YORK - AXA, a leading financial protection company, recently revealed a new way to talk about life insurance, a long-time touchy subject that is often met with resistance, even though 86 percent of consumers say that most people need life insurance protection.* The new language of life insurance resulted from extensive research conducted for AXA by Maslansky + Partners, an outside consulting company that provides research-driven insights and positioning language to help companies break through barriers and connect with their audience.
Knowing consumers are often turned off or confused by discussions about permanent life insurance in particular, a type of life insurance that covers the policyholder for his or her entire life and includes a savings component, we wanted to find a way to open up conversations and help consumers understand the value of these products and how they differ from term life insurance.
“Permanent life insurance is designed to be more than just protection for the family,” said Ron Herrmann, head of the Financial Protection business for AXA US. “But many consumers don’t understand that, in many cases, they can access the cash value, income tax-free, to supplement retirement income, help pay for college or other expenses. Because they think of life insurance as simply protection, they can be skeptical about the savings part. That’s why it’s important to position permanent life insurance products correctly, so that consumers can get past their preconceived notions and really hear what these products have to offer.”1
How to talk about permanent life insurance
Research showed that some consumers didn’t understand the difference between term and permanent life insurance. Others thought that using the policy as a vehicle for savings seemed too risky. Research also showed that still others didn’t understand how the build-up of cash value in the policy could help with expenses or provide retirement income. Bottom line: they thought life insurance was for family protection only.
We found that changing the way financial professionals talked about permanent life insurance made a difference, helping consumers to stop and listen, and to see the benefits this type of life insurance can provide.
For example, AXA now talks about permanent life insurance in these ways:
- As protection and more – starting with something consumers are familiar and comfortable with, then building in the extras.
- As a smart addition to many financial plans – so that consumers will understand why life insurance and savings can belong in a discussion together.
- For those who want more ways to protect their family, potentially minimize taxes and grow their money over time – highlighting benefits that matter to consumers along with protection.
“We’ve used language suggested by the study we did with Maslansky in our marketing materials and tested them to see if they are indeed effective,” said Ori Ben-Yishai, Managing Director of Marketing Programs at AXA US. “In a consumer test, over 90 percent said that the brochure they reviewed explained why life insurance is an important part of an overall financial plan and that the brochure would prompt them to talk to a financial professional about life insurance sooner than if they hadn’t read it.** Because only six in ten Americans have life insurance***, let alone understand that permanent life insurance products offer much more than protection, we’ve succeeded any time we can help consumers to learn more about the options available to them for protecting their families and improving their finances.”
“AXA” is a brand name of AXA Equitable Financial Services, LLC and its family of companies, including AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company (NY, NY), MONY Life Insurance Company of America (AZ stock company, administrative office: Jersey City, NJ), AXA Advisors, LLC, and AXA Distributors, LLC. In business since 1859, AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company is a leading financial protection company and one of the nation’s premier providers of life insurance, annuity, and financial products and services distributed to individuals and business owners through its retail distribution channel, AXA Advisors, LLC (member FINRA, SIPC) and to the financial services market through its wholesale distribution channel, AXA Distributors, LLC.
AXA S.A. is a Paris-headquartered holding company for a group of international insurance and financial services companies, including AXA Equitable Financial Services, LLC companies. AXA S.A. is a worldwide leader in financial protection strategies and wealth management with 103 million clients in 64 countries as of Dec. 31, 2015. AXA S.A. has been ranked the No. 1 insurance brand in the world by Interbrand for seven consecutive years as of Oct. 5, 2015.
The obligations of AXA Equitable Life Insurance Company and MONY Life Insurance Company of America are backed solely by their claims-paying ability. Find AXA on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. For more information, visit www.axa.com.
*LIMRA 2016 Insurance Barometer Study
**AXA VUL client brochure evaluation, 2015
*** “Facts from LIMRA” brochure, 2015
1 Policy owners would be accessing the cash value through policy loans and withdrawals. Loans and withdrawals reduce the policy cash value and death benefit, may cause certain policy benefits or riders to become unavailable, and increases the chance that the policy will lapse. If the policy lapses, is surrendered or becomes a Modified Endowment Contract (MEC), the loan balance at such time would generally be viewed as distributed and taxable under the general rules for distribution of policy cash values.