Generation Rent is here for the long-term

As part of Zurich’s July Webinar Series, you will have heard us discussing the ever-growing concerns of the long-term rental generation in Ireland – or ‘Generation Rent’ as they have become known in the media and in public discourse.

The number of people living in rented homes continues to rise – as per the 2016 census, the number catapulted to 856,000 individuals, and it is now estimated that there is close to half a million homes that make up the private rented sector in Ireland.*

One of the significant consequences of the financial crash in 2007 / 2008 is that renting is now seen as the only viable longer term option, with many couples now settling down and raising families in their rented homes. Today it is estimated that there are approximately 150,000 couples counted as co-habiting private renters, and between the 2011 and 2016 censuses there has been an increase of 37.6% of co-habiting couples with children renting to just under 40,000. Married couples with children renting also increased over the same period by 20% to 101,000.*

As an industry we have to ask how protected is this proportion of society and what are the challenges they face? 

Family protection

Most of the media focus on ‘Generation Rent’ is on the rising costs of renting and the lack of suitable accommodation for many families. However in addition to these issues, there is another significant concern that often goes unmentioned - family protection for renters. This is very concerning when we consider the underinsured population that already exists in Ireland – renter families need to make the same level of provision for family protection as mortgaged home owners. However, there seems to be a general lack of awareness and discourse in the consumer market with regard to the consequences of low levels of family protection, and it’s safe to assume that ‘Generation Rent’ will make up a large portion of the underinsured population in Ireland today. In a recent global study undertaken at Zurich, we uncovered that in Ireland 63% of 30 to 39 year olds did not have any life cover or income protection in place.**

This means that it’s likely that a large proportion of individual, co-habiting and family renters are all very much in a vulnerable position if the unimaginable happens. How would they cope if, for example, they became ill and couldn’t pay their rent? Given the trend to longer-term renting, now is the time to consider this market segment’s needs for protection, which will go a long way to providing them with much-needed security. 

Accessible and inexpensive

Given that the cost of life insurance with Zurich has never been lower and is particularly inexpensive for younger clients – the majority of renters in Ireland are aged between 30 to 39 year olds, approximately 180,000 individuals – it has never been easier to recommend the right policies for your clients.

Zurich offers a wide range of products to aid in covering their financial needs:

  • Serious illness cover that enables a customer to gain assistance at a time when they need it most. If their life changes and they have to stop work due to a specified serious illness diagnosis, this cover can provide them with a lump sum financial support that could help cover their expenses such as their rent or mortgage during their convalescence.
  • Life cover arrangements for their partners and/or dependents in the event of their death to ensure the partner/ family is provided for. Our technical services are available to answer queries on how best these policies should be set up in order to negate CAT.
  • Monthly Income benefit: an alternative less expensive option that would pay the estate a monthly income for a pre-determined term. The sum insured could match the rent being paid by your client.

When choosing the right product for your clients, at Zurich, we have a strong protection offering along with very competitive pricing. We also have an abundance of marketing aids in which you may find useful in targeting these clients. 

What about saving for a home deposit?

As you’ll be aware, we have a great reputation in the regular savings market – and we think one of the key opportunities in this low interest rate environment is with encouraging younger savers to think more long-term. Traditionally house deposit savers would save their money in a bank account for two or three years and then buy. This time period is considerably longer since 2008 due to larger deposit percentages required by banks– which means savers are now more open to considering investment based savings, like what Zurich can offer. We have a range of supports and tools to help Financial Brokers start these renters on their Savings path e.g. for house purchase, educational plans etc.

Our new OnlineApply Savings journey streamlines this whole process for the customer and you. An online enhancement launched in June, it is a ‘signature free’ process which is ideal for remote business practices and also extremely quick and easy-to-use.

If you’d like to hear more about how Zurich can help you with this growing market segment, just speak to your Zurich Broker Consultant.

*Source:, 2016

**Source: Zurich Perceptions on Protection study, 2019