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Life Insurance Ownership in Focus: U.S. Person-Level Trends (2016)


Industry Issues

An industry-leading study that began in 1960 continues now for its eighth edition. This report focuses on person-level data and illuminates major trends and key market opportunities. The person-level report is the second in a series to be released from the 2016 Life Insurance Ownership in Focus study.  Subsequent reports will focus on future market opportunities, specific products (i.e. individual, group) and consumer segments (e.g., African Americans, single mothers).

Key Findings

  • The number of adults and children who own life insurance has grown.
    In the past six years the number of people owning some form of life insurance has grown by eight million, bringing the total number of insured Americans to 172 million.  The rise in ownership volume was driven by an increase in insured adults, which grew by six million since 2010.
  • The percentage of adults and children who own life insurance is up slightly.
    The ownership rate is at 54 percent, an increase of one point from 2010. This finding is notable, since the ownership rate declined by nine points between 2004 and 2010.  The ownership rate among adults equals 59 percent, unchanged from 2010.
  • Mean total life coverage per person has increased.
    The mean total coverage amount is $167,733 per insured person. When adjusted for inflation this equals an increase of 6 percent since 2010.

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Meet the Project Director

James T. Scanlon, M.S., HIA
Senior Research Director, Insurance Research - Markets

Scanlon directs a team of LIMRA researchers focused on insurance product and service marketing. His program includes one-time topical studies, as well as recurring surveys that track consumer behaviors and ownership levels over time. Scanlon conducts projects with a focus on key consumer segments, including the middle market, affluent markets, and small-business owners. He holds an M.S. in resource economics from the University of Massachusetts, where he also earned a B. A. in economics.

For more information, Email

James T. Scanlon, M.S., HIA