If you've ever heard the phrase, "Follow the money," here's a remix of the common refrain that life insurance agents may resonate with: "Follow the millennial."
By several measures, millennials - now the largest generation in the country, according to Census data - are back with a vengeance in the life insurance purchase department. In addition to 5 million more U.S. households having policies in place today than in 2010, based on estimates maintained by global research organization LIMRA, ownership rates are trending higher among younger couples, whose heads of household are under the age of 40 and are married with children. In fact, when confining households to families under 35, the life insurance ownership rate nationally has soared 48 percent over the last six years.
For life insurance agents, this raises the question: Where are 18- to 35-year-olds flocking to: North, South, East or West? A recent study provides some clues.
Texas, South Carolina major millennial landing spots
As one might expect, millennials are found in droves all over the country. However, a healthy percentage of them in recent years are living in or moving to Texas, according to several measures. For example, at 18 percent, Austin has the largest share of millennials among the country's largest metropolitan areas, according to statistics compiled by the National Association of Realtors. Further, almost 30 percent of people who recently relocated to the city are between the ages of 18 and 35.
If everything really is bigger in Texas, its population is also. The Texas Association of Realtors reported the Lone Star State was the second-most frequented state for Americans who moved in 2015, registering a net gain of close to 107,700 out-of-state residents.
Not to be outdone, Charleston, South Carolina is also teeming with millennials, NAR reported. Sixteen percent of the city's population is made up of 25- to 34-year-olds, and 24 percent of those who've recently relocated to the historically significant city are in this age range.
"Millennials represent the largest share of life insurance buyers."
Other major millennial markets
Additional city hotbeds for millennials include Washington, D.C., Denver, Minneapolis, Seattle, Salt Lake City and Ogden, which is also in Utah, NAR reported from its findings. A good indication residents have - or need - life insurance is if they own a home, and NAR noted that all of the metros cited in the poll are among the best purchase markets in the country.
Not only do life insurance agents have to know where millennials are, but they also must "speak their language," as it were, using sales techniques that the younger generation resonates with. Lee Oliphant, MIB Index president and CEO, said that insurers have been quite successful in this regard, and the data proves it, with application activity for the 45 and under having edged higher.
"That's the biggest piece of the application activity in the index, so it leads me to believe that the industry is making inroads in that age group, which is the biggest portion of life insurance buyers," Oliphant told InsuranceNewsNet. "We have had a couple of years of growth driven by the under-45 with the industry being able to reach that group with faster decision-making."