According to the 2011 LIFE/LIMRA Barometer study, there are 95 million people without life insurance. This amounts to a $10.2 trillion protection gap, as reported by Conning Research.

The MIB Life Index, which measures applications for individually underwritten life insurance has reported a decrease in applications for the past 30 years, while the number of potential customers grew 4.7% between 2005 and 2009. However, in 2011, LIMRA reported a 2% increase in new applications over 2010, only the fourth time the industry has had an increase in the last 30 years.

The industry, constrained by compliance concerns, has been slow to adapt to the new social media adopted by consumers. Social media will need to be utilized to close the coverage gap in the middle market. The report indicates that life insurers will have to change the manner in which they use social media. Instead of using social media as just another way to post material initially developed for other media, it must be a primary channel for selling and educating consumers about products.

It is well known that younger people are prime users of social media, making it one of the most effective tools for life insurers to use in reaching Gen X and Gen Y. The LIFE Foundation has been extremely effective in using social media to reach these markets. From mid January to the end of March, LIFE increased its Facebook following from 8,500 people to more than 50,000, a 588% increase. Check out LIFE’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/lifehappens.org to see what is new and exciting and to find material you can use with your clients. Watch for new disability income material, which will be posted in April and May for the Insure Your Paycheck awareness campaign that starts May 1st.

See also: Income Protection: Are You Asking These 3 Questions?

The LIFE Foundation is working for the industry and its agents to motivate and educate the consumers about the importance of our industry’s products and to build confidence in the financial strength of the life and health insurance industry.

As social media becomes one of the preferred methods of communication, LIFE intends to be in the vanguard, using all the appropriate tools to help our industry meet its commitments to protecting consumers with appropriate life and health insurance products.

For more on social media, see:

Can I Pinterest You in Some Financial Advice?

How to Use the New Facebook Business Timeline

LinkedIn Success in 5 Simple Steps