Women have lagged men in retirement savings and life insurance coverage, but a study from LIMRA released Wednesday found that may be turning around. The report found that in 2010, the percentage of women who owned some form of life insurance is "on par" with men.
It's not exactly good news, though. The gap is closing on an overall fall in ownership levels, rather than an increase in the number of women purchasing life insurance. The report acknowledged that while ownership levels were down, the decline was smaller among women than men. Still, while the gap is closing, coverage among women lags that of men by about 69%.
Cheryl Retzloff, senior research director for LIMRA, noted in a press release that women put more value on life insurance than men. Retzloff pointed out that many of today's households have dual incomes.
"This is a great opportunity for our industry to redouble their efforts to reach out to women to ensure their families are adequately protected against the financial repercussions of the death of a wage earner," Rerzloff said.
The report notes that while nearly 30% of women earn more than their husbands, life insurance ownership among married women has not increased accordingly, and married households are less likely to buy individual coverage for wives than husbands.
“Effectively connecting with women requires different approaches than with men,” Retzloff said. “Our research has found that women are more interested in developing a relationship with their advisor than men."
Retzloff added that advisors should expect to spend more time answering questions and providing educational materials for their female clients than they would for their male clients. Women are also more likely to favor referrals than men, and more likely to provide referrals for advisors they're happy with.