The Art of Selling Life Insurance to Asian Americans

August 7, 2018

Since the early 2000s, the influx of Asian immigrants has led to an overall increase of Asian American population by 72%. By comparison, the population of the second-fastest growing group, Hispanics, increased 60% during the same period. In 50 years, it is projected that Asian Americans will become the largest immigrant group in the country, surpassing Hispanics and making up 38% of the nation’s immigrant population.

Despite often accredited as the fastest-growing and most culturally diverse segment, Asian Americans are currently the least penetrated market in life insurance and protection solutions. In 2016, only 28% of Asian Americans have purchased life insurance (as compared to 33% of the general population). While 69% view themselves as not well prepared to make financial decisions, only about 18% are currently working with a financial professional to meet their needs.

For insurance and financial advisors, this is certainly an untapped market with potential. Companies that invest time and resources to understand and connect with it will succeed in capturing this coveted group and open up a whole new stream of revenue.

Doing it without Professional Financial Help

Most Asian Americans agree that they wrestle with the same financial challenges as the general population. Funding a secure and independent retirement, managing medical expenses, and not becoming a burden to family and loved ones are cited as the top reasons for seeking professional financial  help.

Interestingly, while 43% of Asian Americans report that they are willing to engage a financial professional, only 18% are actually doing so (compared with 26% of the general population).  About 44% prefer to seek help and advice from family members.  The main reasons are that they “have never found someone I can trust,” “fees are too high”, and “I don’t feel I have enough assets”.

Digging Deeper

Asian Americans are a tight-knit group who value financial advice from friends and family members. To win over this consumer group, insurance companies and financial institutions should educate and build brand affinity within the community. Here are a few key things to consider when creating successful, targeted marketing strategies .

1. Tapping into Your Sales Team

Why is it important?

Currently, while about 68% of the total Asian Americans speak English, 75% of them prefer to speak in their native language over English. Such communication preference directly affects how they choose to receive financial information and engage with financial advisors.


For insurance companies, if they looked closely enough, they will find members of their sales team that have Asian language skills. Interestingly, these employees with multi-language skills are usually more than willing to tap those skills as long as they get the recognition and the support from the company to help them succeed. Leveraging such sales structure is the most direct and easiest ways to realize incremental revenue.

2. Culturally Relevant Media

Why is it important?            

Working with Asian media is one of the most effective ways to reach deep into the Asian American market. This population group relies heavily on in-language media channels for in-culture entertainment and information. Whether they are foreign branches of in-country media or independent media companies, these highly targeted media companies have always sought relationships with American companies to help build their businesses in the U.S.


To create a meaningful partnerships, one must first understand where the mutual benefits lie. For example, Asian media are hungry for content, always looking for relevant information to serve up to their communities. Press releases, company profile or news, or even promotions can all be re-purposed as content to serve their readers.

Have a conversation with the media companies you would like to work with, and ask for their insights about the communities you are trying to reach. From there, you will be able to build a mutually beneficial program.

3. Cultural Connectivity

Why is it important?

Similar to the general US population, more Asian Americans consider sites like Google, YouTube and Facebook their top choices when it comes to financial research. However, how and why Asian Americans search information online could also be highly influenced by their strong ties to their country of origin or ancestry.

Currently over 75% of Asian Americans are foreign-born. As a result, many of the websites used widely among this population group are either of Asian origin or specifically designed with Asian American in mind.


Insurance companies that want to connect online with Asian American communities should look beyond American media platforms. To name just a few:

Without a doubt, there is a demand for a nuanced, culturally acute roadmap for Asian Americans to realize their financial goals. Companies that take the time to understand and connect with them will be well-positioned to win them.

Also check out our Nationwide Insurance success story.

Sources: Projections of the Size and Composition of the U.S. Population: 2014 to 2060, March 2015, U.S. Census Bureau; 2016 Prudential Research: Asian American Financial Experience; Nielsen’s Diverse Intelligence Series 2018: Asian Americans Digital Lives and Growing Influence; Pew Research Center: Key Facts about Asian Americans, a Diverse and Growing Population