NU Online News Service, Dec. 9, 2004, 3:17 p.m. EST

MetLife Inc., New York, is encouraging individuals to do a better job of estimating their life insurance needs.[@@]

The company is promoting analytical thinking about the value of human life by posting a Human Life Value Calculator tool at http://www.metlife.com/lifevaluecalculator

The calculator comes up with the full value of users’ financial contributions to their households by considering factors such as income, health insurance benefits, projected pay raises, the cost of household services, taxes, the time value of money and the cost of the users’ own personal consumption.

MetLife cites statistics from LIMRA International, Windsor, Conn., that show that, even among U.S. consumers who have life insurance, the average benefit level amounts to only about 3 times the consumers’ annual income.

Life insurers must help consumers understand how much life insurance they really need to cover their full economic value to their families, MetLife says.