The Great Recession, now 15 years behind us, and its impacts on homeownership and insurance markets are still being felt today. This is according to a new report from the credit bureau TransUnion, who also found that migration patterns are increasingly becoming out-of-state, which poses risks to insurance providers books.
The report comes from TransUnion’s annual insurance summit, which is attended by leaders of large international insurance carriers among others.
The data for the report was gleaned from a survey of 2,791 consumers between February and March 2022. According to TransUnion, the survey focused on “consumer near-term coverage needs across multiple lines of business and provided a better understanding of what kinds of support and communication consumers expect from their insurance providers.”
“Millennials and even parts of Gen Z are coming to the housing market for the first time later in life,” said Mark McElroy, EVP and head of TransUnion’s insurance business. “They’re taking a different approach to engaging with their insurance providers and expecting services and counsel beyond basic coverage of their homes.”
According to TransUnion, the Millennial homeownership rate should have been much higher than it is by now, but the gap between them and Generation X is beginning to narrow as Millennials now drive the majority of first-time home purchase market.
By percentage of adults who became homeowners by age 30:
Mid-Generation X (born 1971-1975): 47%
Younger Generation X (born 1976-1980): 39%
Older Millennials (born 1981-1985): 29%
Younger Millennials (born 1986-1990): 25%
Findings also revealed that as Millennials hit key milestones, their thinking on housing and insurance is different than those of generations past.
Their data revealed that consumers expect a digital shopping experience nowadays as they compare policies and prices, yet still, phone calls remain the preferred channel for direct communication during purchase or claims process.
In addition, the survey provided clues into “how and why consumers want to engage with their insurers.” For example, Baby Boomers indicated they prefer not to hear from their insurer unless they reach out first, while Gen X is interested in upcoming weather events impacting their area. Millennials are looking for auto and home safety tips and maintenance reminders or evolving coverage needs, while Gen Z is looking for data about how they are driving through telematics.
“We’re seeing that consumers have come to expect quite a lot from their insurance carriers beyond the basic coverage for damages and losses,” said Michelle Jackson, Senior Director of TransUnion’s personal property and casualty insurance business. “Increasingly, people want them to serve as trusted advisors and partners who can help avoid losses in the first place.”
Migration was also something the report examined as it relates to generation. Predictably, Gen Z and Millennials are currently moving at higher rates than members of Gen X and Baby Boomers. However, comparing the migration behaviors of Millennials with those of Gen Xers when they were the same age, revealed significant differences. Specifically, nearly 4% of Millennials aged 25-40 are moving out of state, whereas only 1% of Gen X did so at the same age.
These trends were only magnified by the pandemic, as more fled crowded urban areas for less crowded—not to mention cheaper—suburbs. Regardless of the reasons, this has implications for insurers who may be at risk losing customers who move out of state. Conversely, it may also present challenges to consumers, as many of them are moving to southern regions that are more prone to severe weather, making it difficult to attain new policies that offer sufficient coverage at an affordable price.
“While more Gen Zers and Millennials might move out of state, they are also actively seeking counsel about these kinds of decisions,” Jackson concluded. “Insurance providers can leverage data to identify those most likely to leave and offer guidance about some of the unexpected impacts of those changes. Those who view themselves as less of a commodity and more of a consultant will be better positioned to win and retain business.”
To view more from the insurance summit, click here.