By Cyril Tuohy
Purchasing life insurance from a financial professional remains the preferred way to buy, but even so nearly one in five consumers (17 percent) would be willing to purchase life insurance coverage directly from a retail outlet, according to findings from the 2013 Insurance Barometer Study, conducted by LIMRA and the LIFE Foundation.
The study asked consumers to assume they were purchasing life insurance and express their willingness to buy from numerous types of retail locations, such as a warehouse club store like Costco or a superstore like Wal-Mart or Target. Those consumers who were willing to purchase at a superstore (7 percent) cited perceptions such as “reasonable cost” (63 percent), “simple process” (44 percent), “convenient” (43 percent) and “no pressure to buy” (42 percent) as reasons for their interest.
Todd A. Silverhart, corporate vice president and director of LIMRA Insurance Research, said the survey numbers were “worthy of note.” He delivered his comments at LIMRA’s annual Life Insurance Conference being held this week in New Orleans.
New to the survey this year, consumers were asked to rate the likelihood they would buy life insurance for themselves or another member of their household within the next 12 months. Nearly half (45 percent) expressed some likelihood of purchasing life insurance in the next year (slightly likely to extremely likely).
“Life insurance has never been as inexpensive or easy to buy – especially with the anticipated growth of online and nontraditional purchasing channels – yet, millions of consumers continue to put off the decision,” said Marvin H. Feldman, president and chief executive officer of the LIFE Foundation. “Insurance professionals and our industry play a critical role in helping to educate the public on the wide range of options available and should continue to work together to help people get the life insurance coverage they know they need.”
The 2013 study is based on 2,000 respondents between ages 18 and 75. It also looked at perceptions about new distribution models for buying life insurance and whether life events impact consumers’ likelihood to shop for a policy.
Cyril Tuohy is a writer living in Pennsylvania. He has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. He has also written about food, restaurants and travel. He can be reached at [email protected].
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