In the spirit of Life Insurance Awareness Month (September 2006), LIMRA International has released a slew of intriguing facts relating to Americans and their life insurance (or lack thereof). All facts are from LIMRA International’s life insurance consumer studies. A couple of facts that stood out as concerning are:
- 68% of American adults have some form of life insurance coverage.
- Of those that have coverage, nearly 33% have only group coverage offered through an employer.
The first fact is alarming for obvious reasons. There are still too many uninsured adults in this country. The second fact may not appear to be cause for concern. However, it is. The reason is that group coverage is not guaranteed.
Let’s assume you are covered through your employer under a group term life insurance plan for 10x your annual salary, for which you contribute a portion of the premiums each month. The following are potential scenarios that could leave you uninsured:
- The premium rates increase beyond your means.
- Your employer simply eliminates the plan.
- You lose your job.
It is true that in the case of points two and three, you may be able to continue your life insurance benefits through a process known as Conversion. Conversion typically allows a covered individual to take the life insurance benefit with them upon termination of the plan or their job if they qualify. However, the premiums upon Conversion are ‘converted’ from a group basis to an individual basis. And remember, you most likely did not have to qualify medically for the group plan at initial enrollment. So you can expect a hefty increase in the premium upon Conversion. Enough so that many people choose not to convert and end up uninsured.
I’ll have more life insurance facts for you later this week along with recommendations for avoiding the pitfalls these facts reveal.