Selling Employees on Disability and Life Insurance
Sarah is 23 years old. She has graduated from college, and is starting an exciting career with a great company. Sarah is young, healthy, smart, and invincible. She will never get sick. She will never have a debilitating accident. She will live forever. She doesn’t need Disability or Life Insurance.
Sound familiar? If you work in HR, you’ve met a Sarah once or twice. And you’ve also met John, the young man with two kids who was out of work for 8 weeks after falling from a ladder. John didn’t have Disability Insurance, and losing his income for those weeks was a significant financial hardship for John and his family.
In Human Resources, we have an opportunity to educate employees, to help them avoid situations like John’s. But how do you convince a Sarah to listen?
You can give Sarah statistics, like more than one in four now-20 year olds will become disabled before they retire (according to a Social Security Administration Fact Sheet, Feb 7, 2013). But will that sway her? Not likely.
You can talk about “what if” and “someday” and how the cost really isn’t very high in the grand scheme of things. But that won’t sway her either.
Instead, try storytelling. Tell her about someone you know. Tell her about someone just like her that was lucky to have coverage, or suffered because he didn’t have coverage. Describe the hardship that was avoided because of the disability payments, or the pain that occurred because the individual didn’t have insurance. Then ask her if she knows anyone that had to miss work due to an illness or injury. Chances are good that she knows someone.
Storytelling can be a powerful tool. It elicits an emotional response, which can then impact decision making. It turns a farfetched notion into a situation she can visualize, and perhaps see herself in. You can tell your story in a group meeting, or when talking one on one to a new hire. It’s most effective if you can tell it in person.
Storytelling can also be an effective tool when talking about Life Insurance. Paint a mental picture of what it looks like when someone leaves a family with no money to pay for a funeral, the family home, the children’s needs. When you touch someone’s heart, you can influence the mind.
Once you’ve shared your story, it’s time to educate. Share your statistics if you want, but just a few. Explain how the plan works, and what the benefit is. Use examples that Sarah can relate to. If the company helps with the premium, share that information so Sarah knows how affordable it is.
Consider using an online education tool, and send enrollment reminders through email, chat, or even Twitter if that is how Sarah communicates. And make enrolling as simple as possible. Give her the option to enroll online, as well as on paper.
Through the persuasiveness of storytelling, and the ease of technology, hopefully Sarah will see the real benefits of Disability and Life insurance. Someday when Sarah slips on the ice and subsequently collects her first disability payment, she’ll be glad she signed up for coverage. She may not thank you for sharing your story, but you’ll know that she’ll be ok. And that’s what matters.
Amy Esry, MBA, PHR, SHRM-CP, Human Resources Consultant