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The Brooke Shields Strategy Worked: Life Happens President

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Faisa Stafford is trying to make Americans more aware of you, and what you sell.

Stafford is now the president and chief financial officer of Life Happens — the nonprofit group that runs the Life Insurance Awareness Month campaign in September and the Insure Your Love campaign in February.

(Related: Life Insurance Awareness Month Approaches)

The Arlington, Virginia-based group is also one of the groups supporting the Long-Term Care Awareness Month campaigns in November, and the Disability Insurance Awareness Month campaigns in May.

In connection with those campaigns, Life Happens collects videos about Americans’ experiences with having, or not having, life insurance and related protection products, and it runs the Life Lessons Scholarship Program. The 2019 campaign alone awarded 32 scholarships, with a value of $245,000, to college students affected by the death of a parent who had no life insurance.

Stafford is on track to succeed Marv Feldman, Life Happens’ longtime chief executive officer, as CEO Jan. 1.

Here are three things Stafford talked about this week in a telephone interview.

1. Hiring Brooke Shields to be the spokesperson for the latest Life Insurance Awareness Month campaign worked well.

Life Happens is still crunching the awareness month numbers, but the numbers were great, Stafford said.

“Brooke Shields did a phenomenal job,” Stafford said.

Shields is known to older consumers, and insurance industry participants, for her roles in films such as “Pretty Baby” and “The Blue Lagoon,” and to younger consumers for her roles in TV shows such as “Suddenly Susan” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.”

“Her face recognition and online following are just so high,” Stafford said.

Shields is a mother, and the executor of a friend’s will, and she really had something to say about life insurance, Stafford said.

“Brooke’s message was just right for the moment,” Stafford said.

One sign of Shields’ outreach power: About 1.2 million people watched a video featuring Shields that was posted on Facebook, and one-third of the viewers who started the video watched the entire video.

2. Long-Term Care Awareness Month is here.

Insurers’ interest in selling new stand-alone long-term care insurance is much lower than it was a few years ago, when Life Happens began participating in the Long-Term Care Awareness Month campaign.

But Stafford said that Life Happens has prepared a package of materials for this month’s edition of the campaign, and that insurers and distributors are still interested, and especially interested in messages about the existence of life-based and annuity-based long-term care (LTC) hybrids.

“Folks are living longer,” Stafford said.

3. Life Happens is now 25.

Stafford noted that Life Happens has now lived 25 years.

Stafford herself joined the organization 16 years ago, in 2003. She talked about Marv Feldman’s legacy as the organization’s leader.

“We’re looking to build upon Marv’s great leadership,” Stafford said.

— Read Life Happens Names New Presidenton ThinkAdvisor.

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