Making Certain

May 11, 2023

Life insurers help people make certain they can plan for a secure financial future – no matter their age, their job, their gender or their race. We help 90 million American families make certain they can care for themselves and their loved ones in good times and bad.

That includes more than 11 million Asian Americans who own life insurance. May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, recognizing the nation’s fastest growing ethnic and racial group and the nearly 22 million Asian Americans in the United States, representing over 30 countries and over 100 different languages. By 2060, the number of U.S. Asians is projected to rise to 35.8 million, more than triple their 2000 population.

Like many who come to the U.S. to live, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have a shared vision to improve the well-being of their families. According to the U.S. Small Business Association, almost 10% of our nation’s businesses are Asian American owned. Life insurers make certain employers, especially small business owners, can deliver essential benefits like paid leave, disability insurance, dental insurance and retirement security. SECURE 2.0 legislation signed into law late last year and strongly supported by the life insurance industry increases access to retirement products for these small businesses.

Others became pioneers in established industries, like Chiyeko Takushi.

Takushi was born in Okinawa, Japan, in 1903. She migrated to Hawaii with her mother and siblings in 1910 to join her father, who was already living in Hawaii. After completing her education, she worked in different companies, before meeting her husband, Kamado Takushi, whom she married in 1925. They had three sons, eventually moving from the Hawaiian island of Lanai to Oahu, where she battled depression after her mother’s passing.

Later on Oahu, Takushi became a kindergarten teacher. One of her students was Siegfried Kagawa, the son of the founders of Occidental Underwriters of Hawaii. Encouraged by Siegfried’s mother, Ayako, Takushi became Occidental’s first female insurance agent in 1936. Despite being a first-generation Okinawan immigrant in an industry dominated by men, Takushi brought in 258 life insurance applications totaling over $395,000 in her first two years.

Takushi went on to a long successful career at Occidental, opening the door for women agents to follow. Her success was remarkable, considering the challenges she faced. Takushi was a symbol of strength, perseverance, and hard work. Her resilience helped her overcome any obstacles that came her way and allowed her to help many Hawaiian families achieve financial certainty.

Aaron Hoppenstedt

Aaron Hoppenstedt is the Knowledge Management Specialist at the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI). He is responsible for managing the ACLI library, a collection of current and historical books and journals, ACLI produced materials, and electronic resources. He also assists with insurance industry and legal research for colleagues.