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Gap between life insurance need and understanding provides opportunity

Life Insurance and Annuities
by Gary Rose
Gap between life insurance need and understanding provides opportunity
Gap between life insurance need and understanding provides opportunity

Plenty of data collected over the past several years shows that consumers by and large don't have as much life insurance as they probably should, even as interest in obtaining such coverage continues to grow. The improving economy puts plenty of people in a position to buy life insurance, potentially for the first time in their lives, but hurdles remain. As such, it's vital for the industry to be able to explain the benefits and what people can actually expect to pay for coverage.

Other polls also show that consumers have a lot of misconceptions about life insurance, with the biggest of these being dramatic overestimation of cost, according to a report from Investment News. To that end, insurers and brokers have a significant opportunity to reach out to consumers who may be amenable to or in need of life insurance advice, particularly younger adults who have just gotten married, had children, bought a home or experienced another major life event.

Explaining available life insurance options can help consumers make the most informed choice.Explaining available life insurance options can help consumers make the most informed choice.

Using time-tested advice
There are many ways in which consumers can figure out how much life insurance they need, and what they should expect to pay based on their unique circumstances, and the more industry insiders can do to pass on the best advice here, the better off all involved will be, the report said. To that end, industry leaders recently met and agreed upon the West Point Draft of Best Practice Standards to help guide everyone through that process as easily as possible.

More coming around
The good news for life insurance companies, though, is that more consumers now see the need for such coverage and are making moves to acquire it even if they might have lingering concerns, according to Life Health Pro. In the fourth quarter of last year, a number of mid-sized and large life insurers posted positive financial results, largely as a result of diversifying their product offerings to better meet consumers' needs that may have evolved over the past several years or more. With so many people saying they're concerned about the cost of coverage, finding new ways to help people get the best coverage for themselves while staying on budget may be particularly crucial to keep writing new policies going forward.

Meanwhile, consumers are also flocking to indexed universal life insurance these days, with sales up 18 percent in the fourth quarter of last year in comparison with the previous three-month period, according to the latest data from Wink's Sales and Market Report. That's the second-highest number observed since the fourth quarter of 2006, falling behind only the fourth quarter of 2015.

"This was not only a record-setting year for indexed life sales, but [the fourth quarter of 2016] was the second greatest quarter EVER in terms of sales," said Sheryl J. Moore, president and CEO of both Moore Market Intelligence and Wink, Inc.

In general, the more that can be done to spell out all the options available to consumers, the more likely they will be to find something of benefit in the multitude of life insurance offerings that are available to them today.

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