The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors commemorated Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM) at its annual meeting in Las Vegas on Sunday by featuring several “Real Life Stories,” or tales from the proverbial real world that illustrated why consumers need life insurance and other protection products in their financial plans.
One person with her own compelling story is Danica Patrick, a professional racecar driver that the non-profit organization Life Happens — coordinator of the annual life insurance awareness campaign — appointed as LIAM’s 2016 spokesperson last June. Patrick’s off-the-racetrack mission is to encourage the nearly 100 million Americans who don’t have adequate life insurance to get the coverage they need.
Patrick’s message is straightforward: “Driving racecars is risky. Not having life insurance is riskier,” she says. “It means leaving your loved ones to suffer financially if something happened to you.”
To learn more about Patrick’s personal story, the factors that motivated her to purchase life insurance, challenges in securing a policy, and her role as LIAM’s spokesperson, LifeHealthpPro elicited responses to 8 questions. The following is a recap from her written response.
LHP: What prompted you to become a spokesperson for Life Insurance Awareness Month?
Patrick: I am excited by the opportunity to partner with the nonprofit group Life Happens for Life Insurance Awareness Month. Too many people are taking an unnecessary risk by not having life insurance, and I am happy to help spread the word about this critical financial safety net.
Having that safety net is something my mom and dad taught my sister and me about that at a young age, and I’ve witnessed it countless times in my profession. Bad things can happen. That’s just life. But life insurance is an easy and smart way to lessen the impact.
LHP: Given the risks you take as a racecar driver, was obtaining life insurance to protect your own family a smooth process or did you face challenges?
Patrick: Given our sport, the value of life insurance is something that most drivers are aware of and seek out. While my insurance coverage may be more extensive than most, it was not difficult to obtain. I work with a financial planner who guided me through the process at the start of my career, and I’ve been covered since.
LHP: Are there options, riders or additional costs attached to the policy that factor in your high-risk occupation?
Patrick: For sure. Given my job, my insurance coverage is definitely more complex than most. There are a number of factors that go into any policy, and my occupation is definitely a big consideration.
LHP: To what extent did your occupation and family history inform your decision to purchase life insurance?
Patrick: From a very young age, I have been aware of the importance of making smart financial decisions. Both of my parents lost their fathers at a young age, and neither had life insurance.
My mom remembers her mom having to sell most of the family farm as a result. My parents had life insurance based on their own experiences; they wanted to make sure my sister and I would be okay if something happened to them.
I would be covered with life insurance even if I were not a professional racer. My profession just enabled me to have the conversation perhaps earlier than others.
While professional drivers may think about life insurance more often, life insurance coverage is critical for everyone — regardless of occupation.
LHP: If you were talking to a young couple with children who didn’t have life insurance, what would you say to them?
Patrick (pictured at right): Life insurance is an investment in the future of family and loved ones. Anything can happen at any time — that’s just life.
While the unpredictable nature of life is what makes it so wonderful, it can also cause pain and insecurity. For a young couple starting a life together, whether it’s buying a home or having children, life insurance coverage is a way to make sure the family is provided for if something were to happen to you. Getting life insurance is the kind, thoughtful and smart thing to do.
LHP: How does it feel to know that thousands of people may buy life insurance because your message motivated them to take action?
Patrick: It feels great. It’s such an important message and I am happy to help spread the word.
LHP: What other causes are you involved with and why?
Patrick: I am passionate about helping children and animals. I’ve worked with a number of charities over the years and have most recently supported No Kid Hungry through a partnership with Williams-Sonoma and the Rescue Ranch, which was started by fellow NASCAR driver Ryan Newman and his wife Krissie.
LHP: I understand you’ll be sharing your story through a national TV and radio PSA program. What do you and Life Happens hope to accomplish through these initiatives? Do you have specific goals and objectives?
Patrick: As you may know, Life Happens coordinates Life Insurance Awareness Month every September to remind people how important life insurance is in their basic financial planning. Our goal is to motivate individuals and families to get the coverage they need.
It’s a big goal, since 40 percent of all adults in the U.S. do not have life insurance. But it’s an important goal and mission — and I am happy to be a part of it!