Life insurance in aisle No. 1
Nearly one in five consumers, 17 percent, say they would buy life insurance directly from a retail store, according to a study by two insurance advocacy groups.
The "2013 Insurance Barometer Study" conducted by the Life Foundation and LIMRA asked people about their willingness to purchase life insurance from retail stores for the first time in the annual survey's history.
Those who said they would buy life insurance from a super-store cited the following perceived factors:
- 63 percent; reasonable cost
- 44 percent; convenient
- 43 percent; no pressure to buy
"While the number of consumers willing to purchase a life product through a retail outlet is not overwhelming, it certainly is worthy of note," Todd Silverhart , corporate vice president and director of LIMRA Insurance Research, said in a statement.
Consumers continue to acknowledge the need for life insurance, yet ownership of life insurance remained flat in the three years since the Insurance Barometer was first fielded. The 2013 study found that:
- 85 percent agree that most people need life insurance and 65 percent say they personally need it.
- 62 percent of consumers indicate they have life insurance coverage today.
- 33 percent believe they do not have enough life insurance, including one quarter who currently own a policy.
The study findings come at a time when insurers are looking to increase their exposure and market share by partnering up with retailers. Auto insurance company Esurance kicked off a pilot program last month in 150 Illinois Walmart stores that will offer shoppers discount cards to use when they buy policies over the Internet or phone. (See: "Esurance discount cards available at Walmart.")
MetLife in September began selling prepaid life insurance policies at Walmart stores in South Carolina and Georgia. (See: "Stock up on life insurance at Walmart.")
Des Toups is a writer, editor and expert on insurance, cars and personal finance. He has written extensively about all three for national publications such as MSN and major newspapers such as the Seattle Times. He has been quoted about insurance issues in The New York Times, USA Today and Kiplinger's. Follow him on Twitter @destoups.