Women tend to be underinsured

par Andrew Rickard | November 18 2016 09:45AM

Photo: Unsplash

While women own more life insurance than they did six years ago, they still carry less coverage than men.

A new study from LIMRA reveals that the amount of life insurance coverage purchased by women in the United States has increased by almost 21% since 2010. However, women still own considerably less insurance than men. On average female survey respondents had $160,782 of coverage, while men had $206,357. Women do recognize that they are underinsured: in 2016, 49% of female respondents said their coverage would not be sufficient for their families if they were to die.

The study found that the number of American women who have life insurance has actually declined by 1% and now stands at 56%, which is well below the male life insurance ownership rate of 62%. This number may not increase anytime soon; even though they acknowledged that they are underinsured, only 44% of women plan to buy more coverage within the next 12 months.

“According to Pew Research, 60% of today’s households with children under 18 are dual-income compared to just 25% in 1960. The fact that fewer women have any coverage at all and often times are well underinsured leaves many American families at risk if they should die prematurely,” says James Scanlon, senior research director at LIMRA. “But in today’s economy more American families rely on women’s income and resources to be financially secure."

Scanlon suggests that insurance advisors may need to tailor their approach to the different sexes. "Women are inclined to put more weight on an advisor’s soft skills than men," he explains. "A financial professional who takes the time to listen, educate and explain products and how they fit into a buyer’s overall financial strategy will likely be more successful selling to women.”

The LIMRA study surveyed more than 4,000 American households in the first quarter of 2016, and the results are weighted to represent U.S. population.