LIMRA’s chief membership officer Jim Kerley has given an optimistic outlook for the US life insurance market, saying he feels “very positive about the short-term”.

Speaking to Life Insurance International, Kerley said: “Because of a number of things going on in the US, my expectation is that there will be a re-focus on life insurance as companies adapt to a number of regulatory changes.”

Kerley said he is very encouraged by the increasing number of US households who have an intention to purchase life insurance, which is highlighted in LIMRA’s 2016 Trends in Life Insurance Ownership study.

The study found that almost half (45%) of all U.S. households said they planned to buy life insurance in the next year – an 80% increase from 2010.  This was most likely among younger households (under age 45) and married couples with children.

Over half (51%) of all households say they would rely on life insurance to help pay bills and to maintain their lifestyle in the event of the primary wage-earner’s death.   Life insurance beat out all other sources of financial assets for households earning under $50,000 annually.

Millennials ownership of life insurance

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The study also found millennials’ ownership of individual life insurance has increased 48% since 2010. Overall, LIMRA, found a total of 70% of millennials own some life insurance (individual, group or both) – 10% higher than in 2010.

Kerley commented: “We also see growing interest and ownership by those under 35.  I think young people are becoming more aware of life insurance as they begin to take on the more traditional set of responsibilities (buying a home, getting married, having children) as they get older and grow professionally.”

He added: “I am feeling very positive about the short-term. We won’t close the protection insurance gap, but we will make progress, and we have made progress.

“If we can educate people around what they need, and why they need it, and if we can educate them about what they believe around the cost of insurance is not right, and the many ways life insurance can work in their lives, and tragically if the main breadwinner loses his or her life, it’s a really important product.”

Kerley said when he first entered the life insurance sector the industry talked about the miracle of life insurance.

He said: “I think we as an industry have moved away from the ‘miracle of life insurance’ message.  And we need to ensure that financial professionals are out there every day talking about the value of life insurance.

“Most companies are providing educational options and information and videos through their social media and web presence.  In addition, many companies in the US support Life Insurance Awareness Month in September, which is a campaign to highlight the value of life insurance to consumers.”

For more insight, data and trends on the US and global life insurance market, visit