Spanning the Centuries

Feb 24, 2022

[Life Insurance 101 Series: This series features IMPACT posts that detail the breadth of the industry’s reach and benefits provided to consumers.]

A recent study predicted that as many as half of the 5-year-olds in the United States can expect to celebrate their 100th birthday.

If that research is correct, more than 5,000 Americans will be turning 100 every day – and two million every year – well into the 22nd century.

Of course by then, many of America’s life insurers will be eyeing their 300th anniversaries.

Life insurers have been serving Americans since their average life expectancy was less than 40. Our most critical mission is helping people take care of those they love. That won’t change – no matter what century we’re in. And the enduring value of what America’s life insurance companies offer to families will become even more important as people live longer. 

The life insurance industry currently serves 90 million American families with essential financial protection products including:

  • Life insurance – A critical tool for financial resilience, helping families stay in their homes, manage ongoing expenses and pay for education after a tragic loss. It also can enhance prosperity and financial security across generations in middle-income America, supply policyholders with a vital source of funds when times are tough, and provide crucial support in so many ways for small business owners.
  • Private-sector retirement solutionsAnnuities address a fundamental concern for many Americans – running out of money in retirement – by providing guaranteed income for life, even for centenarians. And while many are concerned about the long-term viability of Social Security, annuities, 401(k)s and IRAs give workers a proven way to save and supplement Social Security in retirement.
  • Long-term care, disability income insurance and paid family medical leave – Life insurers provide these vital protection products for families and caregivers. About 70 percent of Americans aged 65 and older will need long-term care at some point in their lives. According to the Social Security Administration, nearly 1 in 4 of today’s 20-year-olds will become disabled before reaching age 67. More than 47% of full-time workers (61.8 million) receive paid medical leave benefits through the private sector.
  • Supplemental benefits – These financial protection products, including dental and vision insurance, provide families with financial security and peace-of-mind when life takes an unforeseen turn, including by providing benefits against expenses not covered by major medical insurance. 

No one can ever be sure of what the future may hold. The pandemic has certainly proven that. But no matter what happens next – or how long we live – America’s life insurers will make sure that everyone can be prepared for it.

Susan K. Neely

Susan K. Neely is the President and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers (ACLI), the nation’s leading trade association determined to help families live better lives by achieving financial security and certainty. As president and CEO, Neely drives public policy and advocacy on behalf of ACLI’s member companies that represent 93 percent of industry assets and serve 90 million families.