The Science of Life...Insurance

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As a science writer, I am only too familiar with jargon as a way to intimidate and confuse the public. Often, and not by accident, terms are abused and conflated to hide data cherry-picking, if not totally false claims. Sometimes, observers conclude that the scientist must be brilliant just because no one understands a thing he or she says.

And then, there are the exceptions.

Most people have heard of Albert Einstein's 1905 formula regarding mass-energy equivalence, E = mc2. This, the world's most famous equation, expresses the fact that mass and energy are the same physical entity and can be changed into each other. While the implications are more than deep, the basics are accessible to a general audience.

Einstein also said (this time without an equation), "The hardest thing in the world to understand is the income tax." Might I add to his words of wisdom: "The second hardest thing in the world to understand is life insurance."

That a person should have life insurance as a way to protect his or her family from potential economic ruin is a reasonable assumption. However, 30 percent of Americans know they need more life insurance. Twenty-five percent wish their spouse or partner would purchase some or more life insurance.

According to trade group Life Happens, cost is the reason most Americans give for not owning life insurance. Yet, 80 percent of consumers misjudge the price for term life insurance, with Millennials overestimating the cost by 213%, and Gen Xers overestimating the cost by 119%.

"We've consistently seen over the last five years that consumers think life insurance is more expensive than it really is, and now we're seeing many are also confused as to what factors determine the cost for life insurance," said Marvin Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, President and CEO of Life Happens. "We need to help educate the public about how affordable life insurance can be and the factors they can control to ensure they get the best and most comprehensive protection possible."

Great idea! And, here's the help. Allow me to introduce Brad Cummins, founder of Local Life Agents. "I have a simple rule about life insurance," Brad says. "If I do not know it, then I need to learn it. And, if I already know it, then I need to explain it with clarity and simplicity."

Not a bad motto, considering Brad is the author of the Buyer's Guide to Life Insurance, which consists of eight chapters that explain the most important facts about getting life insurance. Brad elaborates...

"We provide practical and accurate information regarding the many issues that can prevent a person from buying life insurance, as well as the proactive things that an individual can do to improve his or her chances of winning approval to buy the best policy, with the best benefits, at the lowest price possible. There is this false belief that something is better if it is too complex for most people to understand. Life insurance is not astrophysics. It is accessible, if you explain it the right way, which is the only way to increase attention about this issue."

Wow, what a concept. Talk about your kindred spirit.