A recent study showed that more young people in the U.S. are experiencing anxiety, stress, and depression than they did in previous generations. What’s more, since the Great Recession, more adults (including young people) live untreated with serious psychological distress, which affects their ability to manage their daily lives. Some adults that walk into your insurance agency may be seeking annuities or life insurance, but what they need most is to spend their hard-earned money on treating their mental health concerns. I got to thinking how we are in a unique position as insurance sellers to model to people how they should treat their minds. If our clients and prospects aren’t managing their mental health as part of a holistic lifestyle, they are neglecting something that could shorten their longevity.
Here Comes the Kicker
That being said, we want to be sure that we are meeting our life insurance clients where they are right now. They come to us and ask questions, for example, about how life insurance can ease their anxiety about providing for their minor children, disabled siblings, elderly parents, or other loved ones if they should die before reaching old age. If you’re like me, in your head you are always thinking about the different life insurance products that you sell that could potentially fit their budget. You want each new client to recoup the maximum benefits payout in the event that they die young. For people with few savings or investments, life insurance is the only option that will support their loved ones upon their death.
What Are the Causes?
We could look to many causes within our society that contribute to higher anxiety, stress, and depression. On the one hand, there was the Great Recession, which forever changed the economic fortunes of many adults. On the other hand, there are more recent causes associated with technology, especially anxieties that people feel related to digital and mobile communications. Because we communicate differently than we did even ten years ago, we aren’t equipped to handle the stresses that have accompanied technology. A perfect example is when you sit in front of your iPhone or your messaging app and you watch those familiar bubbles float across the screen. It seems like the person on the other end of the connection is encoding a message to send back to you, but there’s no apparent reply. You wonder why you were left hanging. Instead, you feel more uncertain than before you asked the question. You doubt yourself and your relationship status with that person, all because of a technology tool.
What to Do
As salespeople, we can change up how we conduct life insurance sales consultations. We can be better listeners. We can hear out a client’s fears, acknowledge them, and then recommend the appropriate product. If we feel that someone sitting in our office is trying to purchase life insurance as a reaction to a stressful life event, we can suggest that they get some help and then return to us at a better time. It’s not because we don’t want to help them. It’s because we value their well-being and know that they should make financial decisions when they are in the right state of mind. Another idea is that we can encourage people to address some common health concerns, such as being a smoker or having untreated high blood pressure, before they purchase a policy. That’s because we know that they can get a lower premium if they practice a healthier lifestyle.
Your Efforts May Not Pay Off
If you try to be more supportive of clients by listening to their concerns, your efforts may not pay off. However, they will remember your honesty and straightforwardness. They may not thank you personally, but they might refer someone to your agency. We can encourage life insurance clients to manage their lives differently and to get help with anxiety, stress, or depression when needed. Otherwise, we aren’t modeling how to effectively manage common social pressures and self-regulate in a digital society.