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But Women’s Coverage Levels Still Remain Below Men's

WINDSOR, Conn., Mar. 23, 2011 — In 2010, almost six out of 10 women owned some sort of life insurance, which is on par with men’s life insurance ownership, according to a recent study of life insurance ownership conducted by LIMRA.

While life insurance ownership levels are down from 2004, the decline was smaller for women. However, when looking at coverage levels, on average, women’s coverage is only about 69 percent of men’s coverage.

“In our recent studies of women’s sentiment toward life insurance, we found that women (70 percent) place more value on life insurance than men (62 percent),” said Cheryl Retzloff, senior research director, LIMRA markets research. “We also know most modern U.S. households are dual-income households with more women working and contributing to the family’s finances. Overwhelmingly, they are making or helping to make the financial decisions for their families. This is a great opportunity for our industry to redouble their efforts to reach out to women to ensure their families are adequately protected against the financial repercussions of the death of a wage earner.”

Historically, men were known as the main breadwinners in a family. However, recent Pew research discovered that almost 30 percent of wives earn more money than their husbands. Unfortunately, LIMRA found that wives’ life insurance ownership has not increased accordingly. LIMRA found that married households are less likely to buy individual life insurance for wives than for husbands. The good news is that the average amount of individual life insurance coverage for most wives who are insured has increased.

“Effectively connecting with women requires different approaches than with men,” noted Retzloff. “Our research has found that women are more interested in developing a relationship with their advisor than men. They are more deliberate than men when making the decision to buy life insurance. Advisors should expect to spend more time answering questions and providing educational materials than they might with their male clients.”

A prior LIMRA study of women buyers of life insurance learned that women place more value on referrals than men do and they are more likely to provide referrals to their friends and family if they are happy with their advisor. In addition, women (51 percent) are more likely than men (44 percent) to favor an insurance checkup every year or two.

“Our study shows that too many women are uninsured or underinsured, which leaves their families at risk,” Retzloff said. “Our industry can help women protect their families from the financial damage that premature or unexpected death can cause.”


LIMRA 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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