Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Surprise! Americans have low life insurance IQ

This blog has dedicated a series of posts to examining markets that are underserved by financial professionals.  Often, the focus of posts is the cause, or why markets are underserved - - such as burdensome regulation.  This post - with an assist from new research by LIMRA - - looks at the affect.

What happens when the middle-market is underserved by professionals such as life insurance agents?  Surprise!  Americans don't understand it and don't use it.

According to LIMRA:
LIMRA provided a life insurance IQ test to 4,000 Americans in order to gauge their knowledge and comprehension of life insurance and it found that less than a third passed the 10 question exam with 55 percent getting fewer than five questions correct. Less than one percent of those surveyed answered all 10 questions correctly.
When only 1/3rd of Americans can pass a quiz about the importance of life insurance, is it any wonder that usage of the product is at an all-time low?

Certainly every stakeholder has a role to play in tackling this problem.  Companies must make an effort to reach underserved markets, while state regulators must make sure the profession is open and accessible to all who are qualified to work.