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LIAM 2018: New survey finds most life insurance owners are optimists

By Brian Anderson Insurance Forums September 4, 2018

New consumer research insights from American International Group, Inc. (AIG) released in late August reveal that 56% of life insurance owners are optimists, while only 48% of people who don’t have life insurance are optimists. AIG also found that only 53% of U.S. consumers ages 21-64 own life insurance.

For purposes of the research, optimists were identified by their level of agreement with a battery of statements such as, “In uncertain times, I usually expect the best;” “I’m always optimistic about my future;” and “Overall, I expect more good things to happen to me than bad.”

“We’re continuing to assess consumer mindsets, behaviors and needs, and respond with products designed to help people facilitate financially fulfilling futures,” said Rod Rishel, Chief Executive Officer, Life Insurance, at Houston-based AIG. “With September being Life Insurance Awareness Month, now is a perfect time for financial professionals to educate their clients about key protection and retirement planning solutions for themselves and their loved ones.”

The AIG research also revealed that participants in group retirement plans, such as 401(k) and pension plans, are the most likely U.S. consumers to own life insurance. AIG found that 69% of participants in group retirement plans also own life insurance, while only 44% of non-participants own life insurance.

Additionally, AIG found that:

Among consumers who do not participate in a group retirement plan, those who own an individual retirement plan, such as an IRA, are most likely to own life insurance. Of these consumers with individual retirement plans, 64% also own life insurance, while only 37% of consumers who do not own individual retirement plans own life insurance.

Life insurance owners are older and more affluent than non-owners. The median age of life insurance owners is 43, vs. 39 for non-owners, and the median annual income of life insurance owners is $88,000, vs. $70,000 for non-owners.

Life insurance owners are more likely than non-owners to: work full time (71% vs. 60%), be homeowners (76% vs. 64%) and be married (64% vs. 53%).

“The implication is that younger, less affluent consumers are underserved when it comes to life insurance,” Rishel said. “However, affordable solutions, such as customizable term life insurance products, are available through AIG to help meet the needs of the underinsured, whether or not they participate in a formal retirement plan.”

Additionally, the solutions available through AIG’s domestic life insurers, such as index universal life (IUL) insurance and other permanent life insurance products, may be the right choice for many consumers. IUL insurance products, for example, offer death benefit protection, opportunities for cash accumulation, supplemental income in retirement and a measure of protection against market downturns.

The AIG research was conducted online with more than 8,100 U.S. adults, ages 21-64, in the third and fourth quarters of 2017.

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