Too many people think of buying life insurance as something boring that they ought to do, a top financial advisor said Wednesday.
The first step toward persuading the uninsured to get covered is “the overcoming of the so-called ‘grudge purchase’ syndrome that public has around life insurance,” Kobus Kleyn tweeted, during a Twitter chat organized by Life Happens. “The public must perceive life insurance as an ‘investment’ into their families.”
Life Happens has been organizing Life Insurance Awareness Month campaigns every September since 2004. This year’s campaign started Tuesday.
Brooke Shields, an actor known for appearing in films like “Blue Lagoon,” and TV shows like “Suddenly Susan,” is returning as the campaign spokesperson, and working to deliver the message, “The time for life insurance is now.”
COVID-19 is appearing for the first time as a message-enhancing crisis: Life Happens reports that, when it conducted a survey of 2,000 Americans ages 18 and older in late May and early June, 66% of the participants said the pandemic has increased their understanding of the value life insurance.
About 25% of the survey participants said they had purchased life insurance for the first time because of the pandemic.
Susan Neely, president of the American Council of Life Insurers, wrote in a blog about the latest awareness month campaign that “now more than ever, the value of life insurance for American families cannot be overstated.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating, leading to more than 182,000 deaths in the United States,” Neely wrote. “The emotional pain from an unexpected death is immeasurable. And for families without life insurance, a loved one’s death can bring severe financial hardship. Life insurance provides indispensable financial support to families when they need it most.”
But industry surveys suggest that Americans’ level of protection against premature death is decreasing: Life Happens and LIMRA found when they conducted the 2020 Insurance Barometer Study survey that only 54% of U.S. adults have life insurance.
A Broad Outreach Effort
Many insurers have been trying to support the latest awareness month campaign by timing the release of survey results to coincide with the campaign.
CNO Financial Group, for example, says a survey of its own customers that it conducted in April showed that demand for direct-to-consumer life insurance had increased meaningfully, and that consumers were hungry for consistency and stability in life insurance.
Insurance distributors and retail agencies are also participating, by posting content and art supplied by Life Happens, and by posting new content of their own.
Insure.com, for example, has compiled a new collection of articles about topics such as “Types of Life Insurance: What’s Best for You?” and “Is Life Insurance Taxable?”
Life Happens has produced a library of new videos, graphics, and compliance-friendly social media posts to support the campaign.
The group is also working to use Twitter, Facebook and other social media services to amplify the campaign’s message.
The Brooke Shields Factor
Shields has tweeted one written message, along with a one-minute video she created while locked down in her home.
This is the message she sent to her 67,700 followers, and to the participants in the #liam20chats Twitter chat:
September is Life Insurance Awareness Month, and I’m partnering with @LifeHappens to share this important reality check: The time for you to get life insurance is now. Learn more at http://lifehappens.org.
Fans replied with messages such as, “Love you Brooke… you are beautiful both outside, and, more importantly, inside,” and “Truer words ever said.”
The Twitter Chat
Financial professionals also participated in the Twitter chat.
Sandra Quinn-Bailey of Women Financial Power of Memphis, Tennessee, tweeted, “The unexpected can happy at any time!!!”
The chat organizers asked the question, “The top two thoughts when purchasing life insurance for the first time are that it’s too expensive and there are too many options. How can we help change those perceptions?”
Kleyn, who is a financial planner based near Johannesburg, South Africa, and an ambassador for Life Happens, tweeted that members of the public must understand that life insurance will pay off, either over the long term, or in a blink of an eye.
“Financial planning is not done and dusted if it does not include #lifeinsurance embedded in the plan,” Kleyn tweeted. “It is the foundation of the #financialplan, and a pillar to mitigate @lifehappens events!”
South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, and it’s now spring there. South Africa has designated Sept. 1 as Spring Day, Kleyn said.
“We use Spring to spring clean our houses (throw old stuff out) and prepare our gardens for summer,” Kleyn said. “Spring is a time to spring-clean your financial [arrangements] and enhance #lifeinsurance.”
Panos Leledakis, the founder and chief executive officer of IFAAcademy – International Financial Architects in Maroussi, in Greece, tweeted the saying, which has been attributed to Farshad Asl, “I don’t call it ‘Life Insurance,’ I call it ‘Love Insurance.’ We buy it because we want to leave a legacy for those we love.”
“The life insurance idea and product is simple,” Leledakis tweeted. “Fear of death is complicated. Our brain is designed to try to protect us from pain. And “Fear is Pain.” Let’s consult consumers not only with raw fear but on the positive note of protecting their dream life.”
— Read COVID-19 Energizes Life Insurance Awareness Month 2020 Campaign, on ThinkAdvisor.
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