Summer is unofficially here and it has been for the past couple of weeks. Since early May, my social calendar has been in full swing, as I have already attended a camping trip, two Manhattan roof-top parties and countless meetings for drinks and dinners, and at this point, I have plans almost every weekend well past Labor Day. While all of this socializing is fun, I still couldn’t help let a little work creep in, and so I took these opportunities to poll my own personal social network on life insurance. Namely, whether any of these people had ever bothered to buy some, apart from whatever their workplace offered. I conducted a very unscientific, unregimented survey of 46 individuals in my social circle. By no means a Quinnipiac University Poll, my friends answered with equal parts candor and disinterest, since life insurance was the farthest thing from their minds.
The people with whom I spoke were all between the ages of 22 and 31. A little under half of them were married and of those that were, almost all had at least one child. Their geographic locations spanned from Vermont to Philadelphia with most concentrated in the New York metropolitan area. I spoke with teachers; construction workers; a NYPD police officer; numerous accountants; one lawyer; one small business owner; an actress and many, many people involved in the world of finance from traders to some players in large Manhattan hedge funds. The results were astounding (although very easy for me to tally). Out of all 46 individuals, none of them owned an individual life policy. Not one. If they had any life insurance at all, it was a group policy offered by their employer.
After getting used to myriad ways of people telling me that they do not have an individual policy, from head shaking to enthusiastic “nopes!” to the ever-sarcastic, rolling of the eyes, tossing back of the head and parting of the lips into a “pssshhh” signifying, “what are you kidding me?”, I realized that this could be a problem for the industry. What was more thought-provoking was that every person who I spoke with told me, upon being asked, that they felt they were never marketed to, and they knew they had never been approached individually.