You’ve read a lot over the last few years about the gender gap in employment and in pay… but less discussed is the gap in benefits. The ratio between men and women in the workforce with life insurance is immense. Like the gender gap elsewhere, two questions remain… Why has this become a problem? How do we fix it? Women are underrepresented in life insurers’ C-suites, and the issue is twofold. Not only do more men hold life insurance policies than women, they also have bigger policies than their female counterparts. We need to bridge the life insurance gender divide, and it all starts with the right information.
Look at the Numbers
Women are just as likely as men to come across a point in their lives when they might need a life insurance policy. Unfortunately however, only 4 in 10 women in the United States own a life insurance policy. For those that do have a policy, it is almost $60,000 less than men – $129,800 of individual life insurance compared to $187,100 for men.
But a stay at home mom doesn’t have an income to make up for. Yes. They do. In 2014, the United States alone had 5.2 million stay-at-home moms, and when you take into consideration all of the work they do in the home, it would take quite a bit of out of pocket money to make up for their labor. Cooking, cleaning, childcare… Their hard work is equal to about a conservative $117,000 per year (not to mention the additional $71,860 from working mothers).
So in the unfortunate event of a family losing even a stay-at-home mother, there’s a substantial need for a life insurance policy to help make up the difference. Considering 800,000 people are widowed every year in the United States, it’s in the best interest ofeveryone to have a policy.
Our Own Example
Cindy Morand here at The Olson Group understands how important life insurance is for individuals with family. As an Account Executive with us, it’s her responsibility to explain to employers the benefits they can offer employees so everyone understands what the benefits actually entail. Four years ago, her husband Bob passed away and left his family with his life insurance policy. The purpose of these plans is not to make the recipients wealthy, but rather make up for the difference in transitioning from a two-person income to a single-income family. It eases the burden of this transition so finances become manageable instead of impossible.
What Can We Do?
Cindy typically only gets a few minutes to talk about life insurance with organizational leaders. At the very least, she begins the thought process behind the need for life insurance, but with an hour’s worth of presentation about the policies and only a few minutes to discuss it, there’s not much breeding ground to start the concept. Change the way your team thinks about life insurance. To bridge the life insurance gender divide, this is where to start.
Employee benefits don’t stop with health, dental and vision coverage, nor are those the only things to consider for your team. All members of your workforce need life insurance for the what ifs that come with life to ensure their families are taken care of. Women in particular have a longer road ahead of them in terms of understanding the need for life insurance and purchasing a policy that fits the potential need. Understand the need and enlighten your team… it’s for their financial wellness.
Bio: Tim Olson
Tim Olson, CEBS, CMFC and Managing Partner of the Olson Group, has been working with Nebraska employers for over 33 years and has been in the employee benefits industry since 1980. Presently, Tim works with employers assisting them with self-funded and fully insured medical and dental programs, consumer-driven health strategies, term life, long term disability insurance, section 125 flexible benefit programs, voluntary benefits, retirement programs, and executive compensation plans. Tim currently works with more than 200 employers participating in 500 employee benefit plans, and covering more than 30,000 employees throughout Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri, and Kansas. You can read more about Tim and his insight on employee benefits needs on The Olson Group Blog.