Be Ready For Life Insurance Awareness Month

September is Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM) and now, more than ever, it’s essential that consumers understand the role life insurance plays in their financial plans. The LIAM 2012 Theme is Life Happens—stressing the importance of being prepared for life events that can have detrimental and potentially overwhelming consequences for those left behind.

Unfortunately, far too many consumers are underinsured or uninsured, putting their family members at risk for economic disaster should they die unexpectedly. According to LIMRA’s LIAM Fact Sheet 2011, there are 95 million adult Americans who have no life insurance coverage at all, and tens of millions of others are inadequately insured.

The 2012 Insurance Barometer Study, undertaken by LIMRA and LIFE to track consumer attitudes and behaviors concerning insurance and financial services, highlights some significant findings:

• Although 83 percent of consumers believe most people need insurance, only 65 percent believe they need it personally—and only 59 percent actually own it (page 5).

• Nearly one-third believe they need more life insurance coverage than they currently have, while 28 percent wish their partner/spouse carried more life insurance (page 10).

• Surprisingly, fears about leaving dependents in a difficult financial situation upon premature death and burdening others with burial and final expenses are not top financial concerns (page 10), although an earlier LIMRA study noted that 4 in 10 households with children under age 18 say they would immediately have trouble meeting everyday living expenses if a primary wage earner died today.

These numbers illustrate the ongoing need to communicate to consumers the critical function life insurance plays in financial planning and protecting their most important “asset”—their loved ones.

The 2012 LIAM Campaign

For the ninth year, as part of this education-focused approach, LIFE is once again coordinating LIAM on behalf of the industry, providing tools and resources to help insurance professionals make the most of this marketing opportunity.

The 2012 spokesperson, Buddy Valastro of Cake Boss, knows from firsthand experience of the need for life insurance. When he was a teenager, he lost his father. With no life insurance to provide financial relief, he had to drop out of high school to run the family business. He persevered through those difficult times by working 12 to 18 hours six days a week. Now a married father of four, he has protected those he loves as well as his business by having adequate life insurance.

LIFE is creating a variety of materials to share his story with the public and underscore the importance of using life insurance to protect the future of loved ones. These include television and radio public service announcements, print collateral and spokesperson-generated social media posts and tweets.

Company and producer eKits featuring a variety of Life Happens marketing resources are currently available. Contact LIFE for more information about accessing and using these materials and visit http://www.lifehappens.org/life-happens to see last year’s Life Happens messaging.

The 2012 LIAM consumer-focused promotion supports the Life Happens theme by asking consumers to share their best life happens moments via Facebook—from most embarrassing and most frustrating to most amazing and most inspirational.

LIFE’s annual realLIFEstory campaign illustrates how important insurance can be when families and businesses are faced with life’s most challenging moments, like the death or disability of a loved one. This year’s featured stories will appear in the September issue of O Magazine, which can be purchased at newsstands around mid-August.

In addition, the families from this year’s featured stories will share insights about their life experiences at the annual meeting of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA). Their presentations will be simulcast live via the web on Tuesday, September 11, 2012.

In September, LIFE will also announce the recipients of its 2012 LIFE Lessons Scholarship Awards. Earlier in the year, college-age students were asked to write essays or submit videos describing how the death of a parent impacted their lives, especially their ability to afford college.

The vast majority of entries describe the financial hardship that resulted when a parent died and had little or no life insurance coverage. Thanks in part to generous grants from the NAILBA Charitable Foundation and the MDRT Foundation, LIFE will award a record number of scholarships this year. In all, LIFE will give out 61 scholarships totaling $112,000, including a grand prize $10,000 scholarship.

While marketing life insurance should be a year-round activity, the LIAM campaign provides a unique opportunity to capture consumers’ interest and share the message of the critical role that life insurance plays. By utilizing the various campaign components, insurance professionals can truly help their market be better prepared for when “life happens.”

How You Can Seize the Life Insurance Awareness Month Marketing Opportunity

LIFE and other major industry groups will spend millions in September to get Americans thinking about their need for life insurance. Take advantage of this once-a-year opportunity to approach people in your community at a time when life insurance will be on their minds.

Mark LIAM on Your Calendar and Use It to Get Appoint­ments Scheduled. Circle September on your calendar and start laying the groundwork now for a successful campaign. When you reach out to clients and prospects in September, telling them that it’s LIAM will give them one more reason to say “yes” to a meeting to review their insurance needs.

Set Aside Money and Time. The three keys to selling more life insurance this September than you did last September are time, money and focus. If you make life insurance your primary focus and set aside enough time and money to conduct the proper outreach, you will be successful.

Take Advantage of LIFE’s Marketing Resources. LIFE offers both free web-accessible resources (print, video and social media) as well as high quality print and multimedia marketing pieces for purchase. Place orders now so you can hit the ground running when September arrives (www.lifecatalog.org).

Ask People If They Will Be Ready When “Life Happens.” Life Happens is the LIFE foundation’s theme for LIAM 2012. It is a reminder that none of us knows what the future holds, and it gives you the opportunity to let people know that you are in the business of helping people to be financially prepared when life happens. LIFE offers a variety of outreach tools at http://www.lifehappens.org/lifehappenskit to help you deliver the life happens message.

Put the LIAM Celebrity Spokesperson to Work for You. Celebrity baker Buddy “Cake Boss” Valastro is the 2012 LIAM spokesperson. LIFE is creating various print pieces and videos to help you share his life insurance story with people in your community. In the meantime, go to http://www.lifehappens.org/cakeboss-industry-message to learn about Buddy’s compelling life story.

Look for the LIAM Producer Planning Toolkit in Early August. LIFE is creating an eKit to help you create a successful marketing program for September. Visit the LIFE website at http://www.lifehappens.org/liam to access the kit.

Tap into Company Assets. Most insurance companies support LIAM in some fashion. So reach out to companies you do business with to find out what kinds of LIAM marketing resources and sales incentives they may be offering.

By Jaimee C Niles for August Issue of Brokerworld Magazine.  Jaimee C. Niles is vice president of communications for the LIFE Foundation.

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