Financially Fulfilling Futures

Guess What? Fifty-Six Percent of Life Insurance Owners are Optimists

So, why do only 53 percent of U.S. adults ages 21-64 own life insurance?

New research from AIG identifies a need for advisors to educate their clients and prospects

HOUSTON, August 22, 2018 – New consumer research insights from American International Group, Inc. (NYSE: AIG) reveal that 56 percent of life insurance owners are optimists, while only 48 percent of people who don’t have life insurance are optimists. AIG also found that only 53 percent of U.S. consumers ages 21-64 own life insurance.

For purposes of the research, optimists were identified by their level of agreement with a battery of statements such as “In uncertain times, I usually expect the best,” “I’m always optimistic about my future,” and “Overall, I expect more good things to happen to me than bad.”

“We’re continuing to assess consumer mindsets, behaviors and needs, and respond with products designed to help people facilitate financially fulfilling futures,” said Rod Rishel, Chief Executive Officer, Life Insurance, AIG. “With September being Life Insurance Awareness Month, now is a perfect time for financial professionals to educate their clients about key protection and retirement planning solutions for themselves and their loved ones.”

The AIG research also revealed that participants in group retirement plans, such as 401(k) and pension plans, are the most likely U.S. consumers to own life insurance. AIG found that 69 percent of participants in group retirement plans also own life insurance, while only 44 percent of non-participants own life insurance.

Additionally, AIG found that:

  • Among consumers who do not participate in a group retirement plan, those who own an individual retirement plan, such as an IRA, are most likely to own life insurance. Of these consumers with individual retirement plans, 64 percent also own life insurance, while only 37 percent of consumers who do not own individual retirement plans own life insurance.
  • Life insurance owners are older and more affluent than non-owners. The median age of life insurance owners is 43, versus 39 for non-owners, and the median annual income of life insurance owners is $88,000, versus $70,000 for non-owners.
  • Also, life insurance owners are more likely than non-owners to work full time (71 percent versus 60 percent), be homeowners (76 percent versus 64 percent) and be married (64 percent versus 53 percent).

“The implication is that younger, less affluent consumers are underserved when it comes to life insurance,” Rishel said. “However, affordable solutions, such as customizable term life insurance products, are available… to help meet the needs of the underinsured, whether or not they participate in a formal retirement plan.”

We’re continuing to assess consumer mindsets, behaviors and needs, and respond with products designed to help people facilitate financially fulfilling futures

Additionally, currently available solutions, such as index universal life (IUL) insurance and other permanent life insurance products, may be the right choice for many consumers. IUL insurance products, for example, offer death benefit protection, opportunities for cash accumulation, supplemental income in retirement and a measure of protection against market downturns.

The AIG research was conducted online with more than 8,100 U.S. adults, ages 21-64, in the third and fourth quarters of 2017.

For more information on AIG, visit



Policies issued by American General Life Insurance Company (AGL), Houston, Texas, except in New York, where issued by The United States Life Insurance Company in the City of New York (US Life). Issuing companies AGL and US Life are responsible for financial obligations of insurance products and are members of American International Group, Inc. (AIG). Guarantees are backed by the claims-paying ability of the issuing insurance company. Products may not be available in all states and product features may vary by state. Please refer to your policy.
Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have volunteered to participate in online surveys and polls. The data have been weighted to reflect the demographic composition of the adult U.S. public, and then filtered to household insurance decision-makers. As the sample is based on those who initially self-selected for participation in the panel rather than a probability sample, no estimates of sampling error can be calculated. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to multiple sources of error, including, but not limited to sampling error, coverage error, and measurement error.