MetLife Inc. is aiming a new education effort at employers to promote group life insurance to employees.

MetLife, New York, is offering an on-line white paper, Three Steps to Closing the Underinsured Gap: Evaluate, Enhance and Educate, to outline steps employers can take to boost group life benefits programs and make an important impact on the lives of beneficiaries.

The report is based largely on a MetLife survey of surviving spouses, which found more than half of the widows and widowers who collected life insurance proceeds received an amount less than one year of their household income.

While more than half of surviving spouses who received 3 or more years of income in benefits felt financially secure the year following their loss, fewer than one-third of those who received lesser amounts felt financially secure, MetLife found. Only 11% of widows and widowers who received no life insurance benefits felt financially secure the following year, according to the report.

The white paper also found that women participate in group life insurance programs at lower rates than male employees. Working women who do have insurance generally have coverage for only about 2 years’ worth of their salary, compared to an average of 3 years’ worth for working men.

In either case, these amounts are considered insufficient in most cases, regardless of gender, MetLife observes.