Saturday, 23 March 2019

Half of American workers lack life insurance

According to Anthem, there’s a “gap between financial priorities and the use of life insurance as a financial planning tool.” (Photo: Shutterstock)

They may say it’s important, but only a little more than half of American employees actually have life insurance.

That’s according to a recent survey from Anthem, Inc., which found that although 67 percent of respondents say that life insurance is “important to achieve financial well-being,” only 53 percent of them have coverage. And younger people are less likely to have life insurance than their seniors.

The survey found that not only do younger people overestimate by a huge margin what a life insurance premium might cost them—by as much as five times the actual amount, which could be why they lack coverage—they’re far less likely to be covered, at just 24 percent, than the next older generation.

Related: How to reach today’s potential life insurance buyers

GenXers, on the other hand, at 58 percent, are more than twice as likely to be covered by life insurance—a clear illustration of the generation gap. Of course, that still falls a bit shy of the 67 percent overall who say it’s important to be covered.

According to Anthem, that means there’s a “gap between financial priorities and the use of life insurance as a financial planning tool.”

Of course, there’s also a range of definitions of financial wellness, which could also account for the apparent disconnect. To millennials, paying off credit card debt and student loans are regarded as major progress toward financial wellness, and life insurance is only part of the picture for that 24 percent—even though if something happened to them, their families could be helped by a life insurance policy that could pay off those debts.

In addition, GenXers are more focused on family and work responsibilities than they are on the potential for life insurance coverage to help, in a worst-case scenario, their families handle such lingering expenses as mortgage, funeral and other bills.

When considering the 55-and-older crowd, not only does the definition of financial well-being shift to preparedness—which for this group means having an emergency savings fund (93 percent) and protecting their income in the face of catastrophic challenges (42 percent)—insurance is a tad more important, with more than 66 percent of those aged 55 and older enrolled in a life insurance benefit.


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