Are you aware of Life Insurance Awareness Month? If not, as a senior advisor you should be, because there are several good reasons to get behind this initiative. Held each September, Life Insurance Awareness Month is an industry-wide effort involving some 100 leading companies and numerous agents.
Founded by the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) ( www.life-line.org ), it has grown in four years to receive the official support of the federal and 20 different state governments. Last year, even President George W. Bush provided encouraging words for the campaign.
“As part of a sound financial plan, life insurance enables people to face challenges and have peace of mind about the future,” he noted. “Life Insurance Awareness Month is an opportunity to recognize the value of life insurance and its impact on American families.”
Consider the figures. The number of individuals who do not have life insurance is staggering, creating concern as well as opportunity. According to LIMRA, nearly 70 million American adults (about 30 percent of the population) have no life insurance. Those who do own policies have an average of four times their annual income in coverage – considerably less than most experts recommend.
LIMRA also notes that 70 percent of affluent consumers feel that protecting their estate from the impact of taxes is a critical financial objective.
Among middle-income wage earners, the numbers are also eye-opening. Another recent LIMRA survey cited bills, health expenses, mortgage payments and education costs as the main reasons most working-class Americans are not able to save for their financial futures. The survey estimates that about four in 10 non-savers – some 44 million working Americans – have cut discretionary spending to make ends meet, yet still find it difficult to save. The dependents of these individuals could be very hard pressed to maintain their current lifestyle should their major breadwinner suddenly die or become disabled.
“Anyone with dependents, a mortgage or who simply wants to provide for their heirs in a dignified, systematic manner should have life insurance. Just look at the costs of things like weddings and college education,” says Rich Pombo of William Tell Financial Services in Latham, N.Y., a top producer and senior advisor with 20-plus years of experience in the industry. “In the case of the death of a spouse, simply meeting the mortgage can be a major financial hurdle. Everyone understands this message but it’s always been a challenge getting people to act on it.”
LIAM program perks
Utilizing the tools and the media-consciousness generated by Life Insurance Awareness Month can be one more arrow in your sales arsenal. Advisors who participate in the program can often develop synergies with LIFE’s programs as well as their own. In some instances, running a local campaign that’s consistent with what’s being done on the national level can pay impressive dividends in awareness of your practice as well as in expanded sales. Advisors can participate with direct mail plus print and radio ads, as well as with new media such as DVDs.
There’s a lot of room for creativity in the initiative as many of the supporting insurance companies also have programs to help build one’s practice in coordination with LIAM. Participating companies are, however, absent from LIAM material. Some of the points covered in the campaign urge consumers to annually review their policies with an eye on adequate coverage as well as competitive rates, updating beneficiary designations, considering long term care insurance and having an income-replacement plan.
“Each year industry support for LIAM has grown and I don’t expect this one to be any different,” says David F. Woods, CLU, ChFC, president of the LIFE Foundation. “It’s no small task reaching tens of millions of Americans.”
This September, comedian, actress and former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Molly Shannon will serve as national spokesperson, encouraging Americans to take stock of their personal insurance needs by sharing her family’s story. Prior spokespersons have included Olympic Gold medalist Scott Hamilton and actress Marilu Henner – each has had relevant personal experiences plus name recognition to help draw consumers to the campaign.