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Uncovering the subconscious barriers to owning life insurance

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On the surface, life insurance seems to be a basic product designed for a simple purpose. Logic and reason would tell us that life insurance coverage is a sensible thing to have.

But people don’t always make decisions in a rational or logical way. We’re far more complex than that.

In fact, there’s an entire field devoted to analyzing the tendencies of people to make irrational decisions when money is involved. It’s called behavioral economics.

New LIMRA research on behavioral economics looks into the human subconscious to help put several psychological pieces into the life insurance ownership puzzle.

For example, do we know how consumers really feel about owning life insurance?

What do we know about the emotional benefits they want from it? What kind of messaging might increase the likelihood of someone to buy?

The LIMRA study found that major barriers to individual life insurance ownership can be better understood by some of the core principles of behavioral economics including:

  • Loss aversion — facing the reality of paying the premium
  • Present day bias — putting the needs of today above those of tomorrow   
  • Default bias — the tendency to leave things the way they are which gives rise to attitudes such as “group coverage is sufficient” or that life insurance is “not for me” 

It’s also clear that the purchase of insurance involves both functional needs and emotional needs. For example, security, control, belonging, and power are key emotional benefits that people want from life insurance.

By utilizing the concepts of behavioral economics, life insurance carriers can tailor their marketing messages to effectively reach potential customers. Once consumers understand the value of life insurance and take action to protect their families with coverage, everybody wins.

Complete findings from the study will be revealed at LIMRA’s 2015 Marketing and Research Conference, May 27–29 in Baltimore. To learn more, please visit the conference webpage here.  

To learn about a LIMRA sales-effectiveness program steeped in behavioral economics, please visit Trustworthy Selling.