It’s amazing to see the statistics out there that point to the lack of awareness among society about the crucial benefits afforded by life insurance. I’ll admit I was one of those who thought little (or not at all) about the product. But that was before I began working with the industry and realizing that myself — and my Gen X peers — are, for the most part, completely ignorant to the necessity of life insurance. As part of a younger workforce, we’re more worried about IRAs or 401(k) matching when it comes to financial planning. But little do we realize that life insurance, which is most affordable the younger you are, is just as important as any other type of “life asset,” as I call them.
The problem is, less than half of Americans know this. And if they do know, they’re either not sure what to do with the information or are turned off by the thought of preparing for death.
According to LIMRA, only 44 percent of Americans have an individual life insurance policy. Even more worrisome, only 8 percent of consumers consider themselves very/extremely likely to purchase life insurance in the next year. But this doesn’t mean that people don’t want life insurance, they’re just not sure where to purchase it, if it’s affordable or if it's "right" for them. In fact, 50 percent of U.S. households say they need more life insurance. Many know they need it but few will take action to purchase a policy.
I had the fortune of meeting Marvin Feldman, CEO of the LIFE Foundation, recently in our New York City office. If anyone’s had the pleasure of meeting him, they’ll know that Marvin is a man engrossed in the industry of life insurance and spews stats and facts on the topic as if his great-great-great grandfather invented the product. An intelligent man with a professional yet personable demeanor, Marvin is quick to answer just about any question regarding the current state of the industry.
But Marvin is not some robot created by the powerhouse life insurance companies of the world and sent out into society to preach the importance of purchasing a policy. He’s a genuine man with an extremely important and necessary mission: To bring awareness to a perilous industry and an unpopular asset. It is the LIFE Foundation that works tirelessly to inspire the public to take personal financial responsibility for themselves and their loved ones through the ownership of life insurance and related products. As Marvin said, “Buying life insurance means you love someone.”
It’s truly that simple.
You, as a member of this industry, are already aware of the benefits of life insurance, but many potential clients, it seems, are not. As a segment of the general business population, we have failed to educate those around us about the necessity of life insurance. About how a family needs a safety net to survive should the main breadwinner pass. People just aren’t getting it.
How can the industry make life insurance look hip and trendy to the Gen X and Gen Y population, many of whom are buying their first house and starting a family, if they haven’t already? The image of life insurance must change – maybe even the name.
Something must be done to create more awareness of this life asset that so many neglect to consider as part of a complete financial plan. Agents, corporations and even us, the media, must work together to breathe life into an ill industry.
Marvin and the LIFE Foundation cannot do it alone.