President's Page - Life by the Numbers: Reaching Out to the Underserved
As the effect of the pandemic fades — with headlines focusing on rising inflation and interest rates — we must be careful not to lose sight of the importance of ensuring that all Americans have appropriate life insurance coverage. Today, while consumer awareness of and interest in life insurance remains high since the onset of the pandemic, according to the LIMRA and Life Happens 2022 Insurance Barometer Study, just half of American adults have any life insurance coverage, a notable decline from 63 percent just a decade ago.
This year, to help our members improve their reach to uninsured and underinsured Americans, LIMRA continued its Help Protect Our Families campaign, sharing insights about key segments of underserved insurance markets each month. Research into these markets sheds light on the disconnect between consumer interest in and purchase of life insurance. Consider that while 31 percent of Americans say they are more likely to buy life insurance as a result of COVID-19, the impact is greatest among Millennials (44 percent), Black Americans (38 percent), and Hispanics (37 percent).
The Barometer Study also shows:
- 44 percent of women believe they have a life insurance coverage gap.
- 45 percent of Asian Americans believe they need (or need more) insurance and 40 percent plan to buy in 2022.
- 75 percent of Black Americans believe they should own life insurance, yet just 56 percent have coverage.
- 68 percent of LGBTQ+ American adults say they need life insurance, but only 38 percent have coverage.
- 47 percent of Millennials say they need (or need more) life insurance, and 49 percent say they have not bought life insurance because no one has approached them.
It’s even more eye opening to translate these percentages into the number of people they represent: 56 million women, 8.8 million Asian Americans, 20 million Black Americans, 12.4 million LGBTQ+, and 34 million Millennials. And these are only the consumers who already recognize their need for insurance.
How can the industry find efficient ways to reach these populations, in order to translate the numbers into life insurance purchasers? Many of our member companies have updated their digital capabilities, streamlined underwriting, and punched up their customer service response in order to reach these markets. Connecting with consumers where and how they want is essential. Information, education, and holistic financial planning are key.
What’s the Bottom Line?
Here it is; 4 in 10 families say they would face financial hardship if the primary wage earner died within six months. For 1 in 5, it would be within just one month. We’re not just talking numbers here. We’re talking real families who run the risk of financial failure. As we head into the second half of 2022, LIMRA and LOMA will continue to partner with our members to address this issue. We will continue to explore underserved markets in life insurance, and share our data with the industry, as part of the Help Protect Our Families campaign. In the months to come we will feature information on the middle market, the Hispanic American market, and Gen Z, as well as details regarding workplace benefits.
I look forward to our continued collaboration with the industry to engage and educate consumers and help them get the coverage they need to protect their loved ones. It’s what we do. It’s who we are.