They may not exactly be love letters in the tradition of great writers — or lovers — but it’s the thought that counts.
The life insurance industry has designated September as Life Insurance Awareness Month.
On the occasion of this special month, which begins today, we asked agents and financial advisors to weigh in on the “significant other” in their lives and the value of life insurance to people who buy it.
We asked several agents to respond to this query posted through the Financial Planning Association’s website: What is the value of life insurance?
Here’s how they responded:
“A family keeping their business … in the family,” said Gregory W. Edwards, a planner and advisor in Boca Raton, Fla.
“To protect family from tragic events,” said Satoru (San) Asato, a planner and advisor in Bloomington, Minn.
“Life insurance is something responsible people do to make sure their family will be OK. It is one less worry to keep you up at night,” said Lora J. Hoff in Dallas, Texas.
“Life insurance is designed to ensure that your loved ones who are dependent on your income will be taken care of in the event of your premature demise,” said Gilbert A. Armour, who is based in San Diego, Calif.
“Life insurance is finishing life well knowing the people you love have provision for the life they will carry on without you,” said Edward W. Kramer, a planner and advisor in Columbia, S.C.
“After you are gone, it is a love letter to your family. You have proved to them that you cared enough about them to spend money in the past to make sure they comfortable even when you are not there,” responded Richard W. Kagawa of Huntington Beach, Calif.
“The value of life insurance is the security for your dependents to know that if you pass, that financial hardship will not be an additional obstacle for them. You know that you have loved and provided for your family,” added Angela Giboney of Mill Creek, Wash.
“Life Insurance can be a gift of love,” said planner and disability insurance expert Robert Wesley Shannon of Hurst, Texas.
“Life insurance provides resources for survivor income needs. In other words, by putting life insurance in place, you insure that your family won't experience economic hardship along with emotional distress. I always tell clients, ‘Just because you purchase life insurance doesn't mean you'll die and just because you don't, doesn't mean you won't.’ Life insurance is part of every family's sound financial plan because of the peace of mind it provides,” responded Marguerita M. Cheng of Potomac, Md.
“To keep financial disaster away for those dependent on your income if you die during your working years,” added Kristi C. Sullivan, an advisor based in Denver, Colo.
“To ensure that the lives of the survivors (spouse, children, etc.) remain financially secure and to give peace of mind to the life insurance purchaser that his family will not face financial ruin if their main breadwinner is gone,” said Barry R. Eckstein in Wantagh, N.Y.
Agents’ testimonials about the value of life insurance speak for themselves, but getting consumers to buy the coverage is another story, said Marvin H. Feldman, president and CEO of the life, disability and long-term care educational nonprofit Life Happens.
In an interview with InsuranceNewsNet, Feldman said that a priority for the life insurance industry is to find a way to renew the ranks of its agents, the average age of which is 59 years old.
As much as 40 percent of the approximately 300,000 licensed life agents will retire from the industry over the next 10 years, a loss of about 12,000 agents a year. With a retention rate of 15 percent over four years, the industry estimates it will need 80,000 new agents to come into the business every year just to stay even.
But the industry is hiring only about 35,000 agents a year at most, which means the net number of new agents entering the ranks will not be enough to replace those who retire. The number of net new producers, therefore, will decline.
“At the same time, it represents an opportunity for agents active in the industry because you have fewer numbers of people working with a larger population base and the upper middle market,” Feldman said. “It’s a serious problem yet a significant opportunity for people in our industry.”
Joining the industry is a great reason for young people “to come into the business and want to do good for the industry and people, and make a better-than-average living,” and maybe even … fall in love.
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Writer Cyril Tuohy has covered the financial services industry for more than 15 years. Cyril may be reached at [email protected].
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