Serving the Hispanic marketplace can be rewarding and profitable, but advisors have to overcome a few obstacles to reach this market segment.
Dulce M. Suarez-Resnick, vice president of sales and marketing with NCF Insurance in Miami, will give her insights on serving Hispanic clients during the NAIFA 2019 Performance+Purpose conference in Orlando, Fla.
“We’re the fastest growing segment in the US, with up to 62 million Hispanics living in this country and $3 trillion in buying power," she said. "The insurance industry is taking notice of that buying power and wants to tap into it."
But making inroads into this market is not easy, she added. Several obstacles exist, with language being the biggest one. Along with the language barrier comes a trust barrier.
“The older generations of Hispanics and the newer arrivals are much the same,” Suarez-Resnick said. “People aren’t sure what they need when it comes to insurance. They want to speak to someone who speaks their language and who they can trust.”
In addition to language, she said, insurance in Latin American countries is not the same as it is in the U.S. “In most of those countries, insurance is a luxury. And the way they buy insurance is different there – most policies only cover catastrophic losses.”
Hispanics who are new to the U.S. are so focused on keeping a roof over their heads and food on the table that they aren’t thinking about insurance, Suarez-Resnick said. When they do buy insurance, the want only the basics.
“It’s not until years later after they are here that they are ready to talk about buying something more than the basics,” she said.
Understanding the immigrant experience is another plus for an advisor who wants to serve Hispanics.
“They’re looking for an agent who speaks their language, who they can trust, who understands their plight, where they are coming from," Suarez-Resnick said. "Because it’s really hard to get into their shoes unless you’ve gone through that immigrant experience.”
Insurance carriers must adapt their products for the Hispanic lifestyle.
“One size does not fit all," she said. "For example, we have multiple generations of our families living in one home. We are the perfect sandwich generation.”
'It's Not Rocket Science'
Product distribution is another obstacle to getting Hispanics to buy insurance, she said.
“It’s not rocket science. If you want to get your product in the hands of your community, go to the local agents association and find out which members are Hispanic, have Hispanic workers or have inroads in the Hispanic community and appoint them to sell your products. That’s the way you will get your products to that community. Get those products to the agents in those communities who can serve that clientele.”
Suarez-Resnick also noted what she termed a lack of insurance advertising in the Hispanic media, and that the advertising messages that are out there don’t resonate with that market segment.
Life insurance, disability insurance and long-term care insurance aren’t part of the Hispanic mindset, Suarez-Resnick explained, especially with immigrants who are more concerned about getting established in a new country. Hispanics often don’t think about these products until an event – death, disability or a long-term care event – happens to someone they know.
The topics of money and death also aren’t readily discussed among Hispanics, she said. “You need to approach the subject slowly and in a sensitive way. You need to tiptoe into it.”
Advisors who overcome the obstacles to serving the Hispanic community will find a loyal clientele, Suarez-Resnick said.
“The Hispanic market is very relationship-driven. Once they have an agent, they will work with that agent for a very long time.”
Susan Rupe is managing editor for InsuranceNewsNet. She formerly served as communications director for an insurance agents' association and was an award-winning newspaper reporter and editor. Contact her at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @INNsusan.
© Entire contents copyright 2019 by InsuranceNewsNet.com Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reprinted without the expressed written consent from InsuranceNewsNet.com.