In the boys club that is stock car racing, Danica Patrick sticks out like white pants in November.
When it comes to promoting life insurance, however, she is right at home. Both of Patrick’s parents lost their fathers when they were teenagers. And neither family had life insurance.
Patrick’s mom was one of five kids and remembers her mom -- Patrick’s grandmother -- having to sell off most of the family farm as a result. The experiences had an impact on how Patrick’s parents raised her.
“Growing up, my mom would always have six months’ worth of savings stored up for expenses if something were to happen,” she told InsuranceNewsNet. “So I feel like I’ve always been given that model of preparing financially for things because unexpected things happen.”
September is Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM) and Patrick is repeating her role as celebrity spokesperson for the campaign. Created in 2004 by Life Happens, LIAM focuses on the estimated 100 million Americans who do not have adequate life insurance coverage.
A Natural Fit
Life insurance is a natural part of her overall passion for fitness, explained Patrick, 35, who is releasing a workout book titled Pretty Intense in January.
“Your financial fitness is also something else that plays into your well-being, and can reduce stress and give you one less thing to worry about,” she said. “There are so many things in the world that we can’t prepare for and I am a firm believer that if you can prepare in any way for something, then you should.”
A third of all U.S. households would have immediate trouble paying for living expenses if their primary wage earner died unexpectedly, including a quarter of those with life insurance and half of those without any life insurance.
Half of U.S. households would feel the financial impact from the loss of their primary wage earner in just six months, according to the 2016 Insurance Barometer Study by Life Happens and LIMRA.
The 2016 LIAM campaign was so successful, there wasn’t much debate about bringing Patrick back for a second year, said Marv Feldman, president and CEO of Life Happens.
“Danica is passionate about life insurance,” he said. “With the help of her message and voice, we are confident that we will drive engagement and encourage more people to get life insurance.”
'We'll Just See'
Patrick had a busy first year with the campaign. In May, she visited Capitol Hill to speak about the important role that life insurance plays in financial fitness. A national TV and radio campaign continues to feature Patrick, who has long been well covered by life insurance.
“It’s definitely something that is much more common in my world, because we’re driving 200 miles an hour with concrete walls around us and 30 or 40 other crazy horsepower cars trying to get by you at any cost,” she said.
Patrick, the only female driver to ever win the Daytona 500 pole, was in the news last week when Stewart-Haas Racing announced that she will not return for a seventh season in their No. 10 car. That leaves her without a car for the 2018 NASCAR season.
The news came late in the year, when options are few for drivers needing rides. But Patrick said her management team is handling that side of the business and she remains hopeful.
“If I have the chance to be in a race car that gives me the chance to win and run up front on a regular basis and really feel that, then I’d love to do that,” she said. “So we’ll just see.”
InsuranceNewsNet Senior Editor John Hilton has covered business and other beats in more than 20 years of daily journalism. John may be reached at [email protected].
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