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Millennials and the Market


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If you're having a hard time grasping the Millennial mindset, don't worry, you're not alone. In fact, Aon Hewitt released a new analysis last month highlighting the mixed Millennial messages when it comes to health and wellness.

The analysis, based on data from the 2014 Consumer Health Mindset report, contrasted the perspective of different generations when it comes to their health. Millennials put the lowest priority of any generation on preventive care and maintaining health - perhaps not surprisingly, since they were also the youngest group surveyed. Only about half of them reported having a physical exam in the preceding 12 months, and only 39% placed importance on preventive care as a means of staying healthy (compared to 49% of Gen-X'ers and 69% of Baby Boomers).

However, despite their lack of concern over routine medical care, the paradoxical Millennial cohort was also the generation most likely to embrace their employers' influence on their wellness. More than half indicated that "living or working in a healthy environment" was important to their health (compared to only 35% of Baby Boomers), and they were also the most likely generation to accept their direct manager playing an active role in encouraging their health. "Employees are increasingly defining well-being to include physical, emotional, financial, and social health, and they will expect their employers to support them in their efforts to be healthy," said Karen Marlo, Vice President of National Business Group on Health, one of Aon Hewitt's partners in the survey. "Employers have a unique opportunity to engage and motivate the Millennial generation and they are likely to get the strongest results by demonstrating the benefits of establishing healthy habits and behaviors today, not just tomorrow."

Of course, Millennials aren't just the new wave of employees - they're the new wave of customers as well. And their influence is felt beyond their own ranks, according to Insurance Innovation Reporter, Executive Editor, Anthony O'Donnell; their preferences, habits and outlooks are changing the market as a whole. "This younger generation is conditioning the market in other cohorts as well. They're driving the market for devices, they're driving a large part of the advances in the way customers relate with businesses."

Anthony joined us on ACORD Industry News to discuss the ways in which the insurance industry needs to adapt to the demands and expectations of Millennial consumers. And since they're children of the Information Age, that means tailoring not only the content of the message, but how it's presented. "We certainly have to face the challenge of meeting these customers where they are, and that means investment in the kinds of things they like," Anthony said. "We're facing a huge demographic shift... this is the coming market."

Click here to see the full interview.