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Got a 'death wish'?

2 women skydiving
Kamil Pietrzak / Unsplash

So how does one appeal to the millennial mindset?

Well, millennials are known for valuing experiences more than things. That’s why one wisecracking insurance company, DeadHappy, structures its payouts as “death wishes.”

Instead of giving your loved ones a lump sum of cash, you could pay to get your brother a tattoo or send your mother flowers every month. Or you could just send your ashes to the edge of space.

What about millennials’ supposed need for instant gratification? The company Spot started off providing ultra-short-term life insurance coverage — as brief as a single day — for risky YOLO activities like skydiving or base jumping.

Meanwhile, for those mobile-game addicts out there, the U.K.-based YuLife asks users to walk, meditate and build other healthy habits in order to rack up points. Policyholders can compete with their colleagues at work and spend points on gift cards, retail discounts and airline miles.

And it’s not just start-ups. Even some mainstream health and life insurers like John Hancock are offering discounts for using fitness trackers.

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What’s behind these bold branding approaches

Man in plaid shirt showing his empty wallet
Emil Kalibradov / Unsplash

For some companies, finding a better way to do business could be the key to survival. Just a decade ago, 63% of Americans had life insurance coverage, says LIMRA. Now that number is 52%.

Some of the drop could be explained by millennials’ tendency to marry, start families and become homeowners later in life. They may feel they don’t need life insurance coverage until they hit those milestones.

There’s also the matter of price. Over a third of young people identify cost as a major barrier, according to a survey by the insurance specialists at IBM iX.

But the survey uncovers a larger issue: 46% of consumers say insurers aren’t making their policies — and the need for them — clear enough to understand.

And since the traditional underwriting process can take weeks — involving multiple interactions with a salesperson and a doctor’s visit complete with uncomfortable questions and needles — 23% say the task is too troublesome and 28% say they don’t have the time.

How some companies do it differently

Parents and small child holding hands on beach
Natalya Zaritskaya / Unsplash

For a generation that feels uncomfortable when someone calls them out of the blue without sending a heads-up text first, the normal way to get life insurance can seem downright invasive.

Recognizing that, some companies are focusing less on fun branding and more on simplifying the underwriting process.

How? By partnering with third-party agencies to gather publicly available information about you. With your permission, these providers will skim through your health, driving, criminal and financial histories to determine whether you’re eligible for coverage and how much risk you might pose.

Which means — as long as you qualify — you can buy an affordable life insurance policy in five minutes, completely online, with no paper forms, no doctor’s visit and no blood test.

Other sites allow you to compare quotes from hundreds of providers at once, helping you get the protection you need for the best possible price.

It might not be as fun as racking up points or choosing death wishes, but it doesn’t need to be when the process is finished in a flash.

More: Best life insurance companies


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Sigrid Forberg Associate Editor

Sigrid’s is Moneywise.com's associate editor, and she has also worked as a reporter and staff writer on the Moneywise team.


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