We first answer a question that puzzles us all. What is a millennial? Pew Research Center said it has what may be the final say. The definition starts with Pew noting the oldest millennials are now 37.
Pew says that puts 1996 as the last birth year for millennials and people born between 1981 and 1996 — people 22 to 37 this year — are millennials. Those born in 1997 are a different generation and — oddly — they haven’t been given a designated name yet.
The firm’s president Michael Dimock put the decision in perspective and said this isn’t an exact science. It’s just a tool.
So according to Pew the age group span will be 16 years:
• Millennials are 1981 to 1996
• Generation X is 1965 to 1980
• Baby Boomers are 1946 to 1964
By the way, the Baby Boomers are the only generation titled that by the U.S. Census Bureau. “Unlike the boomers, there are no comparably definitive thresholds by which later generational boundaries are defined. But for analytical purposes, we believe 1996 is a meaningful cutoff between millennials and post-millennials for a number of reasons, including key political, economic and social factors that define the millennial generation’s formative years, Dimock said.
The big question for the insurance industry is how to get the millennial age group — which is now the largest age group in the nation — to work in insurance. David Chipp — an assistant VP at Brown & Riding — said the infusion of young blood is critical to the industry’s survival.
He said a good place to start is the college campus. Chipp said he needed money to get through school and that’s how he ended up in the industry close to 20-years ago. A good place to start is with the first year of college.
“I think it starts from the bottom with recruiting young people interested in insurance as they go into school, or also recruiting on campuses as people are graduating, and letting them know what opportunities are there in the insurance industry right out of college with just a bachelor’s degree,” he said.
His company has been very successful with that kind of recruiting. “Exposing young professionals to the different sides of insurance is helpful in them making a decision on where they see their opportunity to be successful,” Chipp said.
An especially effective technique is to approach those who are most interested in technology. “Attracting younger talent through technology is a good way to get their attention. There’s a lot of development right now with software and blockchain being implemented into insurance to provide better data that can be used for underwriting and pricing purposes and eliminate some redundancies in the data that may inflate costs to the clients,” he noted.
What you can’t do — Chipp warns — is try to reach students without some kind of personal interaction. Emails, texts and other promotional tools are helpful but nothing beats a one-to-one conversation.
“It still takes human interaction to get them to the point of, what is insurance and how can it be a career for me?” he said.
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