Attention Insurance Agents – Data Suggests Women Need More Life Insurance Coverage

Recent studies have revealed some interesting facts about changes in America’s workforce – and the need for insurance agents to address these trends:

  • Women make up almost 50 percent of the U.S. workforce – and 40 percent of them have no life insurance.
  • Typically, women’s coverage is only about 70 percent of what men carry.
  • Most U.S. households are dual-income households – yet they are more likely to buy coverage for husbands than wives.
  • 30 percent of wives earn more money than their husbands, but may not carry enough insurance to reflect this difference – if they have life insurance at all.

What’s the takeaway from all this?

Women in America need to carry more life insurance to ensure the financial well-being of their loved ones. While the gap between women’s coverage and men’s coverage is narrowing, many women simply don’t carry enough insurance to cover the financial value they provide.

What Agents Need to Keep in Mind

Insurance agents can provide an important service by presenting options that cover both breadwinners in a family – and by helping those customers understand the financial hardship they could face without the female wage earner’s income.

Research shows that, despite the gender gap in coverage, women actually place more value on life insurance than men. They also have a different approach to shopping for life insurance:

  • Women place more value on building a relationship with their insurance agents.
  • They tend to be more deliberate in their approach, i.e., asking more questions and wanting more educational materials and resources to study before making a decision.
  • Women are more likely to follow up on agent referrals from people they trust – as well as provide referrals to friends and family if they’re happy with an agent’s service.
  • They’re also more likely to request regular policy reviews.

Remember: All Women Need Proper Coverage

It’s not just women in two-income families who need insurance. Take a look at your customers and consider how you can provide coverage to:

· Single mothers – For sole (or primary) breadwinners, life insurance is even more crucial than in households where another source of income exists if one parent dies.

· Full-time homemakers: Most people now recognize that full-time mothers and homemakers provide free services in the home – from cleaning to childcare and more – that would otherwise cost tens of thousands of dollars annually. It’s crucial that, in the event of tragedy, families have protection to cover these expenses.

· Single women: Loans. Mortgages. End-of-life expenses. Most people don’t want these burdens to fall on their parents or other loved ones. Additionally, life insurance can provide future financial stability through accumulating cash value or, if marriage and family is in the future, helping to protect husbands and children.

Women have made tremendous strides in the workplace and other areas, but a serious life insurance gender gap still exists. As insurance professionals, it’s a gap we can help close to ensure that all of our customers have the protection they need.

Sickness Doesn’t Discriminate, So Why Should Insurance?

Everyone can get sick or injured. But when it comes to protecting their lifestyle with insurance, it seems females have some catching up to do.

Historically speaking, insurance was sold to the main breadwinner. And more often than not that was the husband.

Today men still earn more, on average, than women. But the gap is closing fast – Australian women now earn 92% of male incomes. And many women out-earn their husbands. So you’d expect more women would be taking out life insurance to protect their income and their lifestyle.

But despite women making up 45% of the workforce, they still represent only 15-20% of all insured incomes.

It’s not just about income

Women are often more financially vulnerable than men – mainly because they typically spend less time in the workforce.

This is partly because of children. But women are also more likely to retire early. And they’re often the ones who have to take time off to look after children or elderly relatives.

Less time in the workforce means less savings, less superannuation, and less of an ability to recover from financial setbacks.

And since women live longer than men, these setbacks can be even more financially damaging over time.

What types of insurance should women have?

Income Protection typically covers up to 80% of your income if you can’t work temporarily because of sickness or injury – making it extremely valuable for working women.

To protect yourself against diseases like cancer, you can take out Recovery (also known as ‘Trauma’) insurance. It can pay a lump sum on diagnosis – helping you replace your income, and assist in covering the costs associated with treatment.

Life and/or Total and Permanent Disability (TPD) insurance can provide a lump sum to you or your beneficiaries if you die or are seriously disabled. This can be vital if you have a family and/or a mortgage to look after.

If you’re self-employed or run a business, you can also cover your fixed business expenses if you can’t work temporarily because of sickness or injury. This could include the cost of finding a replacement if you need one.

It’s cheaper than the alternative

You may not be aware of how much cancer treatment costs. The Cancer Council of NSW estimates a woman with breast cancer could be faced with over $40,000 in lost productivity and out-of-pocket expenses. And that the average lifetime cost of cancer equates to 1.7 years of a household’s income.

This helps put the cost of insurance in perspective.

Strategies to make insurance more affordable

There are a number of ways you can reduce the effective cost of your premiums.

For example, income protection and business expenses insurance premiums are often tax-deductible.

You may also be able to reduce the effective cost of Life and TPD insurance by taking it out inside super – using your pre-tax money to pay premiums. Bear in mind there may be some restrictions on your benefit if you insure inside super.

If you’re eligible for the Government co-contribution you may be able to use this to help pay your insurance premiums. This also gives your retirement savings a valuable boost.

Florida Group Health Insurance Coverage Plans For Business

For business owners, providing group health insurance benefits helps retain high quality employees and ensures better production with preventive medical care for a healthy workforce. With BCBSF group insurance plans, there are many options for Florida employers to choose the amount of premiums they cover, and a wide network of medical providers.

In 2007 alone, Florida business owners added 200,000 new members enrolled in BCBSF commercial health insurance plans. According to the South Florida Business Journal, ” This 3.1 percent increase brought the total employees insured to nearly 9 million Florida people in commercial health plans, including both insurance provider-underwritten and those self-insured.” The greatest increase came from the Blue Options PPO health plan enrollees. This popular health plan has higher deductibles for employees and lower monthly premiums, thus giving affordable payment options to both employers and employees.

In addition to the top growth for commercial health plans, employees have rated BCBSF health coverage plans with the “Highest Member Satisfaction Among Commercial Health Plans in the South,” according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 National Health Insurance Plan Satisfaction Study(SM). Florida employers can choose various payment options from paying the entire premium of the employee; to sharing a certain percentage of the annual insurance costs.

The popular BlueOptions PPO (Preferred provider organizations), meets the diverse needs of the workforce by providing different benefits and premiums options, including Health Savings Account (HSA) compatible plans. To help control health insurance costs, the health savings accounts allow the employers and employees to cut costs with payments to a pre-tax savings account that pays for routine and preventive medical treatment. The HSA plans are usually combined with higher deductibles to keep costs of monthly payments down.

Another popular group insurance plan is the BlueChoice PPO that gives your employees the choice of quality doctors and hospitals within the BlueChoice network with no required referrals. BCBSF also offers dental, disability, life, and long-term care insurance policies. In addition, there are a variety of financial programs for groups that put the employer in control of health care costs and may offer tax advantages, like Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) and Health Reimbursement Accounts (HRA).

Another commercial health plan choice is the BlueCare HMO, offered by Health Options, Inc. This group plan gives employees a full range of benefits including preventive care and fixed copayments. Generally, HMOs (Health maintenance organizations), require employees to choose a primary care physician from the approved BCBSF provider network. Thus the monthly premiums can be lower for both the employer and the employee, while still getting comprehensive healthcare coverage for medical needs.

For those employers with many questions, consider contacting your local BCBSF licensed insurance agency to learn all about each group policy and the options available to employers for commercial health insurance plans. These plans can also include vision and dental insurance to cover the complete medical needs of the employee.