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3 Life Insurance Trends to Keep an Eye On

The annual 2020 Insurance Barometer Study gives an overview of what consumers think, want and need when it comes to their finances and insurance. Here are three key consumer trends over the past decade.
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3 life insurance trends to keep an eye on

Now in its tenth year, the annual 2020 Insurance Barometer Study, a cooperative venture of Life Happens and Life Insurance Market Research Association, gives us a comprehensive overview of what consumers think, want and need when it comes to their finances and insurance.

Here are three key consumer trends over the past decade:

1) People are learning that life insurance is truly personal. Life insurance ownership for Americans has dropped by 9% to 54% over the past decade, according to the survey. However, it is important to look behind that number. The decline of employer-paid group coverage is a top reason we are seeing ownership numbers drop. Meanwhile, individual life insurance ownership has risen sharply over the past decade, from 40% in 2011 to 55% in 2020.

This means that when we talk to clients and prospects about the importance of taking personal financial responsibility through the ownership of life insurance, the message is hitting home. Group coverage is a nice benefit to have if an employer offers it, but individual coverage is key to keeping individuals, families and businesses protected in the long term. There is more work to do, but it's encouraging to see that people are being proactive about purchasing the individual coverage they need.

2) You've got to be virtual. Consumers are going online to do business, and that includes life insurance. In fact, online life insurance purchases have nearly doubled since the Barometer started—from 17% in 2011 to 29% in 2020. So, how does your website look? Is it updated? Can prospects and clients easily reach out to you? You need to be where customers are researching, educating themselves, asking questions and, increasingly, wanting to buy life insurance.

Social media should not be overlooked either. Potential clients are already there waiting for you to help inform and educate them. Almost half of the consumers in the study say they have used social media sites such as Facebook and YouTube to gather information on financial topics, companies and advisers. The use of these sites has doubled in just one year.

3) Annuities are appealing, but your expertise is needed. Why aren't people purchasing annuities? Would it surprise you to learn that 63% of those surveyed said it was because they were unsure of how much or what type to buy? Almost the same amount said they haven't bought an annuity because they simply don't understand them.

Education on annuities is a place where you can move the needle. The market is there—the study showed that 46% say they “need" an annuity. That's an estimated 118 million potential customers.

We know that our products don't sell themselves. The percentages we see in the study speak to the “need gap," meaning the difference between those who say they need one of our products versus those who own it, is large enough that there is plenty of work for all of us many times over.

Faisa Stafford is president and CEO of Life Happens

Monday, October 5, 2020