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Windsor, CT, April 6, 2005 — In a broad survey of American households, nearly half said they believe they need more life insurance and more than one-quarter said they actually expect to purchase more in the coming year - a decision that would add trillions of dollars of coverage to the amount already in force.

Research and consulting association LIMRA International presented these findings at the annual Life Insurance Conference in San Antonio, Texas. The information came from a 2004 survey of two groups of consumers, those who own life insurance and others who actually bought life insurance in 2003.

LIMRA reported that 44 percent of U.S. households said they need more life insurance and 27 percent of households said they expect to buy life insurance in the coming year, although no one can predict how many will actually buy. If all 27 percent did, it would increase total coverage by $4.8 trillion and add an estimated $9 billion to industry revenues, almost double the amount of new premium now written each year.

"These findings show us some important trends about consumers and life insurance," said Robert A. Kerzner, president and CEO of LIMRA International. "They also reveal a wide gap between the amount of insurance that households own and the amount they feel they need for adequate financial protection. The life industry has a clear obligation and opportunity to try to fill this unmet need, but we have to do a better job of reaching consumers."

The surveys revealed several trends:

Sixty-six percent of those surveyed said replacing the lost income of a deceased wage-earner was their reason for buying life insurance. Forty-two percent cited burial expense and 33 percent cited paying off a mortgage. Seventy-five percent of households agreed that life insurance is the best form of family financial protection against premature death of a primary wage-earner.

On the other hand, those surveyed cited many reasons for not buying additional life insurance, including cost (74 percent), difficulty deciding how much to buy (52 percent), procrastination (50 percent), worry about making the wrong decision (43 percent) and preferring to put money in other financial products (40 percent).

An estimated 29 million households may be primed to buy more life insurance in the coming year. The survey indicated that on average the households who plan to buy more insurance in the next 12 months have enough to replace 3.7 years of income but need 6.1 years of income replacement. On average, those households need to buy an additional $163,000 of insurance to meet that goal. Among other findings:

About LIMRA International

LIMRA International is a worldwide research, consulting and professional development organization that helps more than 850 insurance and financial services companies in 73 countries increase their marketing and distribution effectiveness. Visit LIMRA at

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