Most Americans know the importance of life insurance, but not everyone can get employer-paid coverage, so some workers go without it. In fact, 57% of Americans consider having life insurance a very important component in safeguarding their family’s future wellbeing, compared to 68% who feel the same about investing in a retirement plan and 64% about creating a living will, according to a recent survey by WellPoint, an Indianapolis-based provider of health and life insurance.

Meanwhile, 67% of respondents report they have life insurance, and of this group, 36% say they fully pay for it, WellPoint found.

There’s still plenty of room for improvement, however. Only 60% of Americans have access to life insurance through their employer, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. But brokers take note: the take-up rate when an employer does offer life insurance is a whopping 97%, which shows high interest from workers who want to protect their family members.

“It’s clear that Americans value life insurance, which is good news,” says Mike Wozny, president of WellPoint’s life and disability insurance business.

Even when employees have life insurance coverage, their spouses might not. Eighty-seven percent of employers offer company-paid life insurance for their workers, but a much lower percentage (55%) of employers provide life insurance for dependents, according to a survey by the Society for Human Resource Management.

September is Life Insurance Month, which makes now a good time for benefit brokers to talk up the general benefits of life insurance and make customized pitches to potential clients. Plans can be tailored to an employer’s needs with options like dependent coverage, supplemental life coverage and accidental death and dismemberment policies.

After someone dies, his or her spouse and children could suffer financial problems when they lose that person’s paycheck. It could mean the surviving spouse must find a new job, take on new child care expenses, and/or move to a new home. Life insurance coverage helps family members recover from the loss of household income and pay for funeral expenses and outstanding debts.

“Alleviating the stress associated with financial worries is what our life insurance products are designed to do,” said Wozny.

Robert Kerzner, president and CEO LIMRA, agrees: "Life insurance is the one product that can help families keep a roof over their heads, provide for basic living expenses and allow time to recover and heal from the loss of a loved one."

About half of middle-market consumers are interested in learning about how much life insurance they need, according to a new LIMRA study. Likewise, half of middle-market consumers say they prefer to buy life insurance face-to-face with a financial professional. Consumers want an adviser who can educate, listen and develop trust, and 60% of consumers say it is very important that their adviser represent a respected brand, LIMRA’s study found.

However, education is needed. "LIMRA's research shows that people do not fully understand the risks they take by not having adequate life insurance coverage,” Kerzner said.

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