Whether you are a new advisor or have been providing outstanding client service for decades, statistics show that the industry is missing out on an enormous opportunity in our marketplace since its inception: Women. Insurance marketing up until this point in time has been entirely focused on securing the financial future for the families of the main breadwinner. Note the singular nature of that word. Breadwinner. Not only do many families today force that noun into the plural, in fact, many women are indeed the main breadwinner (nearly 41% of families and growing as of 2017, to be exact), and over 64% of families involve two working parents according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Yet, in the vast majority of life insurance marketing that you’ve seen for the past many years, the media depicts a family while only addressing one of the breadwinners. The assumption proves itself in the disparity between men who own life insurance versus women. It is well past time to stop ignoring, not only from a sales and revenue standpoint but also from a client service standpoint, this incredible opportunity to serve the ‘better half’ of our nation, and the numbers invariably support this hypothesis.

Exhibit A: Women Outnumber Men and Always Have

Let’s start with the basics. There are more women than men in the United States. Given that life insurance is designed to protect any human being’s loved ones in the event of their death, this fact alone tells us that selling life insurance for women makes economic sense to any advisor.  

Diving into the details, there are roughly 7.4 million more women than men in our country. This represents an approximately 1.1% market advantage gap between the genders in favor of women.  While that might seem slight when taken with other statistics that we will share in this article, that 1.1% difference is actually underrepresented in terms of life insurance needs. But let it stand that there are (and always have been) more women in the market than men.  

Rudimentary logic applied to the economics of scale tells us that in any market where there is a dominance of one type of client over another, our approach should naturally gravitate towards the dominant client. In the case of our industry, we should have been marketing our important services to women as breadwinners and essential lives in the household since the beginning. Seeing as the first life insurance policy sold in the United States was way back in 1844, perhaps the culture of the times is to blame for this mistake.

Exhibit B: Women Live Longer Than Men

The fact is that women, on average, live a full 6 to 8 years longer than men. This fact could be misconstrued to support the greater importance to supply life insurance to men, since, in many cases, it is their families who inherit the death benefits after their husband passes away. However, to apply that logic we must neglect the facts that the mother will live on while also considering the issue of her Long Term Care, her salary, or the real possibility that she is a single mother or woman without children who has beneficiaries nonetheless.  

The fact that women outlive men by nearly a decade cannot be understated. Not only does this allow them to reap greater returns in a cash accumulation life insurance vehicle, but it also means that the inherent longevity of women makes them clients for 6 to 8 years longer than their male counterparts.  

All of this applies to women who do not have husbands. Longer lifespans require greater needs for end-of-life care which the proper policy can provide. Educating ourselves and our female clients on these stark realities is not just a play for more business but a true service that we can provide for our clients.  

Exhibit C: Women Are Underrepresented In the Life Insurance Marketplace

This is where actual progress can be made and this is your mission as a life insurance advisor, male or female. The truth of the matter is that women, despite their equal value in their family’s financial well-being, are less likely to own a life insurance policy. The gender gap when it comes to life insurance in the United States is astounding.  

According to a study published by Haven Life, there is a 12% gap (67% for women, 79% for men) between men who own life insurance policies compared to women who own them. Add that to the 1.1% population gap where there are more women than men and the picture becomes clearer. We, as an industry, are not involving women nearly enough in our efforts to insure as many Americans as possible.  

The gap increases when we look a bit deeper into the women that have purchased a life insurance policy. Of this 67% of women who own policies, the average coverage amount for women was $231,342. The average amount of coverage for men? $423,102. Not only are fewer women insured despite their earning status in the family and their greater numbers in the overall population but they are also underinsured in terms of their male counterparts.  

Women Are the Next Great Opportunity In Life Insurance: Closing Arguments

I’d like to point out one more important statistic: 

70% of widows fire their advisors after their spouse dies.

To me, that is very telling. By focusing so much on your client that purchased the policy, it is easy to neglect the person they love the most. This social disconnect is devastating for business and unfair to the client you valued so highly.  

Rocky Mountain makes every effort to not only treat men and women as the equals they are but to also understand the needs of our clients’ spouses as we administer the primary policy. This statistic is only frightening to advisors that are unprepared to engage with the family as well as the client. Rocky Mountain prepares the advisors who work with us to understand this opportunity and not only better serve their client, but retain the trust of their loved ones as well  

Herein lies the opportunity that exists from a revenue and client-service perspective for any advisor looking to increase their book of business. Let’s run the numbers one last time to prove the case. 

  • Population:      There are 1.1% more women than men in the U.S. (7.4 million)
  • Longevity:        Women live 6-8 years longer than men, making them excellent clients for LTC       and other vehicles
  • Gender Gap:    Women are 12% less insured than men
  • Underinsured: Women, despite being the main breadwinners in 41% of households, are insured $192,000 dollars less than men

Our advice is to reach out to more female clients. If the statistics are any indication, you likely have many clients that have women in their lives that could benefit from the insurance you have provided for the men in their life. The equality of the sexes is indisputable. Our industry is poised to make that equality a reality when it comes to providing outstanding client service to all of the women that are underrepresented in the marketplace today. The jury is no longer out. The numbers speak for themselves. In the case of including women to a greater degree in our life insurance marketplace, the verdict is yes. Case closed.