The U.S. life insurance market has not capitalized on the true purchasing power of African-Americans, but it's on the cusp of tapping a lucrative market segment. As the nation observes Black History Month in February and celebrates the legacies of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other pioneers, I'd like to explore the concept of creating an even greater endowment, one that will benefit generations of African-Americans.
The most compelling evidence backing this initial assertion are three 2010 LIMRA reports detailing African-Americans' improving attitudes about life insurance. The data conclude that, compared with the general population, a larger proportion of African-Americans consider life insurance to be more important today than in the past. Also, one-third of the African-Americans polled said they are very likely to buy life insurance for themselves or someone in their household, as compared to 15% of the general market. These findings, coupled with the fact that wasteful spending habits have been curtailed by the recession, suggest that a perfect storm may be brewing.
In 2011, the New York Life African-American market unit will rally around a movement to encourage African-Americans to take charge of their financial foundation and begin building multigenerational wealth. The company is committed to leading a community-based, group-driven initiative that uses life insurance as the tool to eventually inject billions of dollars into communities around the country. Our agents are challenging thought-leaders to engage families, businesses, churches and schools about a collective investment in the future.
This initiative is derived from an appreciation of the past 50 years, since Dr. King's "I Have a Dream" speech. Many have worked tirelessly to help fulfill that dream. In 2011, the "children of the dream" must strive for the next level of true equality -- financial freedom. Changing mindsets is the aim, life insurance is the means, and estates are the destination and common denominator.