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7 Bitter Enemies of Life Insurance

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It’s Life Insurance Awareness Month. Hurricane Dorian just delivered a stern message about the fragility of life. U.S. life expectancy keeps falling.

But new U.S. individual life sales are soft.

(Related: Life Policy Sales Fell Again: LIMRA)

AALU — a group for people who sell life insurance and related products — and the Future of the Industry Working Group estimate that at least 70 million U.S. adults have too little life insurance, or no life insurance at all.

One reason may have to do with the supply of products: Years of low interest rates may be slowly, quietly reducing life insurers’ enthusiasm for taking on more life insurance policy risk.

Another reason may be demographic: Members of Generation X, who are mostly ages 39 to 54, are now the consumers in their peak parenting and earning years. The number of babies born each year in the Generation X period was small. That means the number of people who have an obvious reason to buy life insurance, and the money to pay for life insurance, may be much smaller than it was 10 years ago.

A third reason might be what’s in consumers’ heads.

AALU and the working group teamed up with Maddock Douglas, a consulting firm, to conduct one survey of 500 U.S. consumers who had not yet bought individual life insurance, and a related survey of 801 U.S. consumers.

(Related: AALU to Join With GAMA International)

One thing the survey team reported: Many consumers still want to work with live humans.

Only 31% said they would prefer to compare the prices of different life insurance products online. Another 36% said they would prefer to shop over the phone, and 62% said they would prefer to meet with an agent, in person.

The survey managers also asked the non-buyers to rate seven reasons why they’re non-buyers.

For a look at how often the non-buyers gave one of those seven reasons as their own reasons for being non-buyers, see the idea cards in the slideshow above.

— Read Life Distribution Has to Change: William Shelow Life Insurance Awareness Month, on ThinkAdvisor.

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