Life Insurance in Black and Underserved Communities

Feb 25, 2022

February is Black History Month. It’s also Insure Your Love Month, which showcases how Americans can protect their loved ones financially through life insurance.

There is no official link between the two observances. But the importance of life insurance has long been recognized by Black Americans.

Black families have the highest rate of life insurance ownership among all racial groups at 56 percent,  compared to 52 percent for the total U.S. adult population. And uninsured Black Americans are nearly twice as likely as others to say they will “definitely buy” life insurance within the next year.

Life insurance has traditionally been one of the key methods for enhancing prosperity and financial security across generations. According to a recent study, four in 10 Black Americans cite wealth transfer as the second most common reason they own life insurance, compared with just 33 percent of the general population.

75 percent of Black Americans believe they should have life insurance coverage, representing a significant opportunity for life insurers who engage this market. Still, the life insurance industry knows that more can be done. That’s why ACLI has partnered with six other life insurance industry associations through the Help Protect Our Families initiative to assist more individuals, households, and businesses in securing the financial protection they need.

This initiative dovetails with ACLI’s Economic Empowerment & Racial Equity Initiative, where America’s life insurers are engaging concrete steps to achieve greater economic empowerment of financially underserved communities. Two of the EERE’s key pillars address access to insurance and financial education in underserved communities. Indeed, an NBC News story about the rise in life insurance ownership by Black Americans reiterated the importance of financial education and access to information about financial protection products.

Black History Month and Insure Your Love Month will soon be drawing to a close. But the commitment of the life insurance industry to provide financial protection is never ending. We believe everyone, no matter their age, job, income, gender, or race, deserves the chance to build financial certainty that will serve them in the good times and protect them in the hard times.

Olivia Gillis

Olivia Gillis was Vice President, Economic Empowerment & Racial Equity and Compliance & Regulatory Affairs at the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI). She was co-lead of the EE&RE Initiative implemented to advance the leadership position of ACLI and its members in promoting economic empowerment and racial equity through policy positions that are relevant at the federal, state and international levels.