One of the main reasons most Americans work is to provide for our families. At its heart, life insurance protects the security our income provides in the event of an untimely death. Life insurance can be a financial lifeline for loved ones when a spouse or parent is lost. The value it provides can immediately fill a financial void, so the family has the resources they need to move forward unencumbered by financial strain during an already difficult period.
As an industry, this is our noble cause, and we must ensure that people are aware of the value our products offer far beyond dollars and cents. Though we should do this year round, September is the perfect time to amplify our message. Not only is it Life Insurance Awareness Month, but also September kicks off with Labor Day, the national holiday that celebrates the American worker.
Why is Labor Day so relevant? Labor Day honors the work we do and our freedom to turn our intrinsic capital as human beings into financial capital to support ourselves and our families. Life insurance protects that financial footing we work so hard to create and maintain. Whether deliberate or coincidental, the holiday that recognizes our earnings potential as workers is a perfect match with a month-long awareness campaign that calls attention to our need to protect it.
The challenge faced by many life insurance professionals is helping prospects and clients understand the true value of their human capital over the long term to properly insure against its loss. Simple calculators available on the internet can provide someone with a general idea of the earning potential of their working years.
A worker in their early 30s earning a reasonable salary has the potential to produce cumulative earnings well into seven figures by age 65. This period, the early 30s, is critical to protect. People are typically actively acquiring assets, taking on debt and supporting a family. As such, it is also a time when disability or premature death could create a shortfall that is devastating to the earner’s family. Yet, although life insurance can be critically important, 43% of Americans still don’t own life insurance, or they have only a small amount of group coverage.*
In today’s tight labor market, skilled workers are generally aware of the level of salary they can command, and they tend to take advantage of the high demand by switching positions more freely. Workers also understand the need for continued investment in their personal human capital, as demonstrated by the millions of Americans who enroll in adult learning, continued education and development courses every year. This understanding of the need to consistently monitor one’s skills and marketability proves that the American worker has a good grasp of the ways to maintain and enhance the value of their human capital.
However, people are falling short of understanding the risks of loss and how to mitigate them. It is our responsibility as life insurance professionals to take the time to help prospects understand the connection between human capital and those risks that can have a devastating impact on a worker’s family.
I believe Labor Day and Life Insurance Awareness Month are intentionally aligned in September. The ability to harness our talents to provide for our families, prosper and accumulate wealth while contributing to our communities is one of the great privileges of being an American. It’s important to protect that privilege with life insurance. Life insurance can’t replace the person, but it can replace the paycheck and fulfill a financial plan.
This Labor Day, as we enjoy the holiday, let’s take the time to appreciate the past, present and future generations of American workers, the stability they provide families and the enrichment they bring to our communities. That includes the life insurance professionals whose job it is to protect those workers and their families.