A news photo of Susan B. Anthony, from before 1920 Susan B. Anthony, between 1915 and 1920. (Credit: Bain News Service/Library of Congress)

Last month in New York City, I saw a wonderful new sculpture of Sojourner Truth, Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton honoring the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

New York Life was a major donor for the statue. That’s fitting because Anthony used the cash value of her New York Life insurance policy in 1900 to guarantee the admission of the first women students to the University of Rochester.

(Related: The Spanish Flu Centennial —1918 Flu Pandemic Hit Insurers Hard)

The opportunity for policyholders to access funds is one of many enduring values of life insurance. These values are as true today during the COVID-19 pandemic as they were 120 years ago when Anthony helped those trailblazing students.

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, when we highlight how life insurance provides vital financial support to Americans when they need it most.

From the earliest days of COVID-19, life insurers have been there #MeetingTheMoment for their customers from coast-to-coast. Life insurers pay out $2.1 billion every day, reinforcing the $2.7 billion a day paid by Social Security.

During the pandemic, the life insurance industry has extended contact hours, enhanced online capabilities and provided premium payment accommodations to customers impacted by COVID-19.

We have proven that we can serve our customers better through expanded use of electronic signatures, online notarization of documents and electronic delivery.

At the same time, the life insurance industry has provided crucial backing for our communities when they need it most.

Working with state and local leaders, life insurers provided emergency meals to seniors; donated critical supplies to hospitals and health care professionals; and made significant financial contributions to charitable causes.

They also supported our economy by investing hundreds of millions of dollars every day in bonds, mortgages and other long-term investments.

These investments buttress the long-term guarantees we make and honor for policyholders. And they supply capital that enhances growth, provides jobs and supports families across the nation.

Life insurers have provided steadfast support for American families and communities since before the Civil War on through the first generation of the 21st century. Whenever and wherever America needs us, life insurers are there.

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Susan Neely is the president of the American Council of Life Insurers. Another version of this article appeared on the ACLI website