FORT WORTH, Texas--()--Men and women in uniform are increasingly relying on commercial life insurance as a supplement to the low-cost group coverage they receive as part of their government benefits package.
“The growing popularity of commercial life insurance among our men and women in uniform is an important reminder that these families live in the shadow of war and recognize the risk of an untimely death”
The First Command Financial Behaviors Index® reveals that 63 percent of middle-class military families (senior NCOs and commissioned officers in pay grades E-6 and above with household incomes of at least $50,000) own term life insurance, up 14 points from August 2011. In addition, 48 percent of families own some form of permanent life insurance coverage, up 6 points from last year.
“The growing popularity of commercial life insurance among our men and women in uniform is an important reminder that these families live in the shadow of war and recognize the risk of an untimely death,” said Scott Spiker, CEO of First Command. “While middle-class military families appreciate the significant value of the life insurance coverage available through the federal government, they understand that extra coverage may be needed to build a risk management program that more thoroughly addresses their financial future. The increasing interest in commercial life products may also reflect fears about pending military budget cuts and a proposed overhaul of the military retirement system, which have been fueling worries among active-duty service members about the future of their careers in the armed forces.”
Active-duty personnel are eligible for up to $400,000 in Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance, commonly known as SGLI. They may add optional spousal coverage of up to $100,000 and dependent coverage of up to $10,000. After leaving the service military personnel may convert SGLI to Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI); however, premiums may be higher and are based on the age of the insured. So many military families, if they are insurable, opt for supplemental commercial policies in order to increase their overall coverage now and provide longer-term protection (either in addition to or as a supplement for VGLI) for their post-military lives.
The most popular form of permanent life insurance coverage among the military is whole life insurance, according to the survey. These products are owned by 39 percent of survey respondents, up 8 points from last year.
Permanent life insurance is growing in popularity among middle-class military families. The Index survey reveals that 28 percent of respondents who don't own a permanent life policy say they are likely to consider purchasing it for themselves or someone in their household.
Interest in commercial life insurance coverage is considerably more constrained among members of the general population. The Index reveals that 45 percent of civilian respondents with similar incomes report owning term life insurance, up 6 points from last year. And 36 percent of general population families report ownership of a permanent life insurance product, which is statistically unchanged from last year. Among those who don’t own a permanent life policy, just 18 percent say they are likely to consider purchasing it for themselves or someone in their household.
First Command surveyed consumers on their life insurance coverage as part of its September observance of Life Insurance Awareness Month, which was created by the LIFE Foundation in response to growing concern about the large number of Americans who lack adequate life insurance protection. According to the industry research group LIMRA, 30 percent of U.S. households have no life insurance coverage.
About the First Command Financial Behaviors Index®
Compiled by Sentient Decision Science, Inc., the First Command Financial Behaviors Index® assesses trends among the American public’s financial behaviors, attitudes and intentions through a monthly survey of approximately 530 U.S. consumers aged 25 to 70 with annual household incomes of at least $50,000. Results are reported quarterly. The margin of error is +/- 4.3 percent with a 95 percent level of confidence. www.firstcommand.com/research
About Sentient Decision Science, Inc.
Sentient Decision Science was commissioned by First Command to compile the Financial Behaviors Index®. SDS is a behavioral science and consumer psychology consulting firm with special vertical expertise within the financial services industry. SDS specializes in advanced research methods and statistical analysis of behavioral and attitudinal data.
About First Command
First Command Financial Services and its subsidiaries, including First Command Bank and First Command Financial Planning, assist American families in their efforts to build wealth, reduce debt and pursue their lifetime financial goals and dreams—focusing on consumer behavior as the first and most powerful determinant of results. Through knowledgeable advice and coaching of the financial behaviors conducive to success, First Command Financial Advisors have built trustworthy, lasting relationships with hundreds of thousands of client families since 1958.
First Command Financial Services, Inc., is the parent of First Command Financial Planning, Inc. (Member SIPC, FINRA), First Command Insurance Services, Inc. and First Command Bank. Financial planning services and investment products, including securities, are offered by First Command Financial Planning, Inc. Insurance products and services are offered by First Command Insurance Services, Inc. in all states except Montana, where as required by law, insurance products and services are offered by First Command Financial Services, Inc. (a separate Montana domestic corporation). Banking products and services are offered by First Command Bank. In certain states, as required by law, First Command Insurance Services, Inc. does business as a separate domestic corporation. Securities products are not FDIC insured, have no bank guarantee and may lose value. A financial plan, by itself, cannot assure that retirement or other financial goals will be met.