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What Scary Movie Characters Can Teach Clients About Life Insurance

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Halloween is coming on Thursday, which means the scary movie binges have commenced.

Talking about the characters in scary movies may help you communicate with your clients about the value of life insurance.

(Related: If South Park Characters Applied for Life Insurance Policies…)

Although 70% of Americans consider life insurance a necessity, 41% have no coverage at all, according to data from Foresters Financial. This coverage gap may be partly due to consumers’ lack of life insurance education, and partly to consumers’ reluctance to think about their own mortality.

Using characters in scary movies as examples of what to do, and what not to do, can be a way to get past those obstacles, and to demonstrate why life insurance is necessary.

1. Adelaide Wilson, Us

Adelaide is the powerful protagonist who perfectly exemplifies a mother’s instinct – constantly defending her family from their evil doppelgangers, the Tethered, who are out for deadly revenge. As she says to her son early in the film, “Stick with me, and I’ll keep you safe, okay?” However, she’ll need to do more than simply protect her family from the Tethered — their financial protection is also at stake.

Adelaide’s behavior and willingness to sacrifice herself puts her at a higher risk, but she’s also young and healthy. Separate from the fact she’d need to be wary of insurance fraud (ahem.. Red…), she’d benefit most from a term life insurance policy, meaning she’d pay a fixed amount for a fixed period of time (i.e. a 30-year policy for $50 per month for $1 million in coverage). If anything happens to her during the time of her policy, her family won’t suffer financially.

But why would Adelaide only be insured during a certain time frame, versus the rest of her life? That “term” is the critical period when loved ones are dependent on Adelaide, and it’s more cost-effective than a whole life policy. When the 30-year policy expires, her children will be self-sufficient and she and her husband will have other savings, including retirement.

Key takeaway for your clients: If you have children, a spouse, or other loved ones who would experience financial hardship as a result of your death, you need life insurance.

2. Wendy Torrence, The Shining

Wait, why are we talking about Wendy, instead of the protagonist Jack Torrence? Apart from the fact she’s the hero of the movie who saved her son from her killer husband, she’s an example of a non-breadwinner who would need a policy as well (let’s hope Jack had life insurance so Wendy would get a well-deserved payout).

There’s the false assumption that stay-at-home parents don’t need life insurance because they aren’t earning money. However, stay-at-home parents are essential to the prosperity of the family. In fact, it’s estimated that the average stay-at-home parent would earn $162,581 for everything they do, including housekeeping, bookkeeping, childcare and more. Wendy should absolutely have a term life insurance policy to ensure her son would be taken care of.  In fact, her son Danny could use the funds for a proper education nurture his gift of “the shine.”

Key takeaway for your clients: If you’re a stay-at-home parent and your spouse would not be able to cover and/or take over household expenses, childcare, etc. by themselves, you should have life insurance.

3. Jonathan Byers, Stranger Things

Okay, Stranger Things isn’t a movie, but it doesn’t get more thrilling than this TV show – plus, there are plenty of great examples of nontraditional family dynamics where life insurance is pertinent. Including Jonathan Byers, the son of single mom Joyce Byers and older brother to Will Byers and newly adopted little sister Eleven. He is entering young adulthood, works, and has an unusual amount of family financial responsibility for someone his age.

If Jonathan died (let’s hope I didn’t jinx season 4) his family would benefit from a life insurance policy payout. Considering his mom does everything she can to make ends meet, a term life insurance policy for Jonathan means she would be able to retire comfortably if he wasn’t around to help her with that life transition. Not to mention, a term policy for Jonathan would come at an extremely small cost for ample coverage since he is so young and healthy.

Key takeaway for your clients: Life insurance isn’t just for parents to protect their kids or for people to protect their significant other. Many people today are in situations where they have other loved ones, like parents, who depend on them or need their help.

4. David Kessler, An American Werewolf in London

“Let’s go on a trip,” they said. “Let’s see the world,” they said. Wanderlust sparks the plot of this classic film which follows David Kessler and Jack Goodman, two backpackers from New York City, as they trek across Northern England. Everything seems fine and dandy until our two heroes end up in werewolf-infested moor on a full-moon night. David is mauled and contracts the condition himself. If you think that sounds nightmarish, imagine explaining lycanthropy to an underwriter.

The traditional underwriting process assesses the risk of an individual by evaluating characteristics such as age, gender, lifestyle, and any preexisting conditions. Turning into a werewolf would definitely fall under the latter. If David could get approved, his monthly premium would likely be through the roof (bloodlust and all). Even with a higher monthly premium, at least David is faring better than Jack.

Key takeaway for your clients: Better health means lower premiums. Even if you have preexisting conditions you can still get coverage. It will just come at a cost. The more you know about your health history, the easier it will be to make an informed decision about getting covered.

Ultimately, term life insurance policies make sense for most people because they are flexible and affordable. They give financial protection to your clients’ loved ones during the time in life when those loved ones are most reliant on your clients. These policies are the most cost-effective way to follow through with one of the most selfless financial decisions your clients can make. Plus, what’s scarier than the thought of your clients leaving their loved ones behind with no financial protection?

— Connect with ThinkAdvisor Life/Health on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Phil Murphy of Ethos by SRK Headshot DayPhil Murphy is vice president of insurance at Ethos, a digital life insurance company that helps consumers buy term life insurance. He previously was the vice president of underwriting at Munich Re.


© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.


© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.