September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, a 20-year tradition created and coordinated by NAIFA partner Life Happens and commemorated by the entire life insurance industry, elected officials, and consumers across the country. The goal of LIAM is to put the importance of life insurance front-of-mind for a greater number of Americans and help more people get the coverage they need so their loved ones are protected financially.
Raising awareness is important because 106 million adults in the United States believe their life insurance coverage is inadequate, yet misperceptions may be keeping them from getting proper levels of coverage, according to Life Happens and LIMRA. Around 80% of consumers overestimate the cost of life insurance, for example.
LIAM is a time when everyone should highlight the importance and value of life insurance products. It serves as a great reminder for agents and advisors to reach out to their clients and communities to discuss coverage. Many common consumer objections to purchasing adequate life insurance coverage are either inaccurate or easily surmountable. These include:
- It’s too expensive. A professional agent, such as a NAIFA member, can help most consumers find life insurance solutions to fit their budget.
- They will buy it later. Purchasing life insurance early is often a good decision. Young and healthy people are generally able to get less expensive coverage. LIMRA found that nearly 40% of people who have purchased life insurance wish they had done so earlier.
- They don’t understand the products. Life insurance agents are licensed and are trained to understand the products they sell. NAIFA members, in addition, show a strong dedication to their profession and agree to abide by NAIFA’s Code of Ethics, which includes the requirement that they put clients’ interests first. Those who have earned NAIFA’s Life and Annuity Certified Professional (LACP) certification and/or Life Underwriter Training Council Fellow (LUTCF) designation have demonstrated product understanding beyond what is needed to be licensed and an ability to work with clients to fill their needs or solve specific problems.
- They are covered through work. While workplace plans are often an excellent benefit, many are not intended to provide long-term financial protection for an employee’s family, and the benefits almost always end if the employee should lose his or her job, get a new one, or retire.
- It's depressing. Many people are uncomfortable talking about providing for their families after they are gone. Experienced agents and advisors know how to have these sometimes-difficult conversations. In fact, knowing that they are providing financial security for their loved ones can put many consumers at ease.
- They don't want to take a medical exam. There are options. Some policies require only limited evaluations or do not require exams. Trends favoring accelerated or automated underwriting have grown in recent years. When exams are still needed, licensed agents can shed light on the underwriting process. They can help consumers feel more comfortable and understand that medical exams can be made convenient for the client.
NAIFA will commemorate LIAM all month long with blog and social media posts on our consumer and advisor-facing channels. We will also participate in LIAM events, including Life Happens’ September 14 Facebook Chat on the importance of life insurance. Life Happens has compiled a complete calendar of LIAM events. We also encourage advisors to visit the Life Happens site for resources they can use to help promote LIAM with their clients and in their communities.