September is life insurance awareness month (LIAM) and is celebrated by over 200 domestic insurance companies. By celebrating, insurance companies and interest groups blast content onto the web every September in an effort to educate the public and report the latest life insurance study findings. This year, according to the 2015 Insurance Barometer Study by Life Happens and LIMRA, more than 40% of Americans have no life insurance. Forget life insurance as an investment or estate planning tool for a minute. Just think purely about burial expense or cremation expenses. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the current average funeral costs $7,000. That is for a fairly basic funeral. Any sort of additional expenses or extras will quickly push this figure to $10,000. Why should you compound your grieving period with financial stress? Isn’t there enough on your plate? For a very basic policy, it can be far less than $100 per year.
This and other questions need to be asked and addressed during Life Insurance Awareness Month. It’s a tough conversation as insurance agents because it’s hard to avoid sounding like the bearer of bad news or the gloom and doom representative. The best way to look at it is simply focusing on the financial part of the equation and the stress of your beneficiaries, which are usually friends and family, but can also be non-profit organizations and universities. Because of this dedicated month, we try to take the time each September to post content pertaining to Life Insurance and contact our clients regarding the life products we offer. Some companies offer discounts on your home and auto if you buy life insurance through the same company. Not all property and casualty companies have a life insurance division, but a company like Erie Insurance Group, for instance, offers near a 5% discount on your home and auto for having life insurance. In some cases, depending on your home and auto premium, the discount actually covers your annual life insurance premium. It’s opportunities like this that the general public need to be privy to, and we choose every September to try to inform them.
In closing, life insurance is not all about death. In many cases it can be about estate planning and leaving a legacy, whether to your family or alma mater. It can be used as a retirement vehicle that provides a death benefit while still building a positive cash-out value. It can be used to help soften the blow of a potentially traumatic experience. Life insurance serves many different purposes. It is not a gloom and doom conversation. It’s a smart conversation. It’s a financially responsible conversation. It’s easy. Wake up and partake in the life insurance conversation!