In 2010, 63 percent of Americans had life insurance, according to LIMRA. By last year, that number had dropped to just 54 percent. LIMRA’s research also revealed that 30 million American families lack life insurance, and another 30 million more are underinsured. That is a tremendous gap that leaves far too many families at risk.
And the risk is real: 44 percent of families say they would face financial hardship within six months if the primary wage earner died. For 28 percent of families, the hardship would begin within a single month. If you think about that in the context of the more than 400,000 families that have lost a loved one from COVID-19 in the U.S., the importance of having life insurance in place becomes even clearer.
As a community of financial advisors, we have the opportunity to help close this gap and help families feel more secure about their financial futures. Fortunately, there’s a resurgence in the level of interest in life insurance these days. I am moved by LIMRA’s research, which found that six in 10 Americans have a heightened awareness of the importance of life insurance due to COVID, and 7 in 10 say the pandemic has been a wake-up call to re-evaluate their long-term financial goals. Going a bit further, nearly 30 percent of Americans say they’re more likely to buy life insurance due to COVID-19, and nearly 70 percent of people who already have coverage say they’re likely to buy more.
Interest in life insurance is high, as the pandemic has caused it to be top of mind for many, but it’s also clear that people are uncertain about how to ensure that they’re getting the right type and amount of life insurance for their individual situations.
Clearly, the appetite for either adding or increasing life insurance is there for many Americans. This is something we should be discussing with clients, especially those who have experienced a significant life change, such as having a baby or buying a house. But even those without such an event may be thinking that they need to evaluate their coverage options.
We know that people, families and yes, our clients, are going to need clear guidance to help them select the policies that are right for them and incorporated into a complete and personalized wealth strategy for each person. LIMRA, for example, has found that only about a third of Americans understand the basic concepts about life insurance – but those who work with a financial advisor are more likely to have a higher understanding. They also found that more than half of all consumers without life insurance say they haven’t bought it because they don’t know how much they need or what type to buy.
There’s clearly a strong role for each of us as a community of financial advisors to play here. Interest in life insurance is high, as the pandemic has caused it to be top of mind for many, but it’s also clear that people are uncertain about how to ensure that they’re getting the right type and amount of life insurance for their individual situations.
Make a point to ask about life insurance in your upcoming conversations with clients. Be proactive – it may not be a subject your clients will broach on their own. Be prepared to provide guidance and coaching and answer questions in a way that your clients will understand. By doing so, you’ll not only be helping your clients build a more secure financial future, but you’ll be giving them a tremendous gift: confidence and personal wellbeing. It’s a great way to make a positive impact in their lives.
Edward Jones is a licensed insurance producer in all states and Washington, D.C., through Edward D. Jones & Co., L.P. and in California, New Mexico and Massachusetts through Edward Jones Insurance Agency of California, L.L.C.; Edward Jones Insurance Agency of New Mexico, L.L.C.; and Edward Jones Insurance Agency of Massachusetts, L.L.C. California Insurance License OC24309