ARLINGTON, Va., Sept. 1, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In times of economic uncertainty and market volatility, history has shown that people turn to core protection products to shore up their financial plans. Yet, while a majority of Americans recognize the importance of having life insurance to ensure that future financial plans will remain on track, the number of those who actually own it continues to decline. The latest analysis by the industry research group LIMRA finds that 30 percent of US households have no life insurance coverage whatsoever and ownership of individually-owned life insurance has hit a 50-year low.
That is why, starting today, the life insurance industry will once again come together in support of Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM). Coordinated each September by the nonprofit LIFE Foundation, the goal of the national campaign is to encourage more Americans to evaluate their life insurance needs and take steps to get covered.
Now in its eighth year, the campaign will have the support of more than 100 leading insurance companies and industry associations, each devoted to helping educate the public about the importance of having adequate life insurance protection.
"As difficult as it may be for people to think beyond their most immediate financial priorities, the need for planning ahead with life insurance is more important than ever," said Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, president and CEO of LIFE. "Too many Americans are just one illness or accident away from leaving their loved ones in a terrible financial situation, so we hope that September will be the time when they put aside any excuses and finally take stock of their life insurance needs."
NBA Champion Lamar Odom Headlines the Industry's Awareness-Building Efforts
For its part in Life Insurance Awareness Month, LIFE will spearhead a number of initiatives to raise awareness and educate the public throughout September.
Basketball and reality TV star, Lamar Odom, is this year's national campaign spokesperson and will share his personal story of loss through television and radio public service announcements (PSAs) airing throughout the rest of the year. Lamar was raised in a single-parent household and lost his mother, Cathy, to colon cancer when he was 12 years old. In his PSAs, Lamar explains how life insurance gave him the foundation to move on in his life and kept his future plans on track. Lamar's 60-second television PSA can be viewed at www.lifehappens.org/lamar-video.
Stories of Everyday Families Are Being Featured Nationally Too
In addition to publicizing Lamar's story nationally, LIFE is continuing its long-standing tradition of publicly sharing stories of everyday families who have suffered loss and have experienced first-hand the benefits of life insurance. Chosen by an independent judging panel as part of LIFE's annual realLIFEstories Client Service Award Program, this year's featured stories are appearing nationally in the September 2011 issues of Parents and O magazines, on newsstands now. The clients and insurance agents involved in these stories will share their experiences at a live event to take place on September 12 at 10am Eastern at the annual conference of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) in Washington, D.C. The event will be streamed live via the Web at www.livestream.com/naifa2011.
Picture Mosaic Encourages Americans to Insure Their Love
To help get the word out through social media, LIFE has created a new Facebook application to celebrate those who have made the decision to protect their loved ones by owning life insurance. Available through LIFE's Facebook fan page (www.facebook.com/lifehappens.org), the Insure Your Love Picture Mosaic will eventually feature thousands of photos of families and individuals whose financial well-being is safeguarded by life insurance. For every picture that gets uploaded to the mosaic, $1 will be donated to the LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program, which provides tuition assistance for students who have lost a parent and are struggling to realize their dream of a college education.
Three Simple Steps for Making a Smart Life Insurance Decision
To help Americans assess their life insurance needs, LIFE offers three simple steps:
- Step 1: Get a sense of how much life insurance you need – Determine how much money your family will need to cover immediate expenses and how much they will need over the long-term to maintain their standard of living. To figure out the right amount of coverage to fit your needs, begin by thinking about everyone who depends on you financially, including your spouse, children, parents or other loved ones. For help getting started, visit the insurance needs calculator on LIFE's website at www.lifehappens.org/howmuch.
- Step 2: Educate yourself about the different kinds of coverage available – Life insurance policies exist for virtually every need and budget. Determining the type that suits you best depends on a number of factors, such as how long you need coverage, how much you can afford, how much risk you can tolerate and how much flexibility you need. Evaluate the different types of coverage available, including term and permanent policies, by using LIFE's interactive product selector at www.lifehappens.org/whatkind.
- Step 3: Don't go it alone – Life insurance is one product where an expert's opinion can make all the difference. Once you've established some of the basics, work with an insurance agent or other financial advisor you trust who can conduct a thorough needs analysis to ensure that all of your needs will be met. One way to find a good insurance agent is through recommendations from friends and family. You can also search a listing of qualified insurance professionals in your community using LIFE's agent locator at www.lifehappens.org/agentlocator.
About Life Insurance Awareness Month
Life Insurance Awareness Month was created by the LIFE Foundation in 2004 in response to growing concern about the large number of Americans who lack adequate life insurance protection. According to the industry research group LIMRA, 30 percent of households (35 million) have no life insurance coverage, and most people with coverage have far less than most experts recommend. Held each September, Life Insurance Awareness Month is an industry-wide effort involving hundreds of leading companies and thousands of insurance advisors. For more information about Life Insurance Awareness Month and LIFE's plans for the September campaign, visit www.lifehappens.org/liam or contact Jon Dressner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) was founded in 1994 in response to the public's growing need for information and education on life, health, disability and long-term care insurance. LIFE also seeks to remind people of the important role insurance professionals perform in helping families, businesses and individuals find the insurance solutions that best fit their needs. To learn more about these topics, please visit www.lifehappens.org.
SOURCE The Life and Health Foundation for Education (LIFE)