MassMutual Offers Tips to Help Workers at Risk of Losing Life Insurance
Flaws in financial plans exposed as the result of high unemployment rates in 2009
Dec 9, 2009
(Springfield, MA) - Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual) today announced timely tips to help workers at risk of losing life insurance. As a result of mounting layoffs in 2009, a huge flaw in the financial plans of many Americans has been exposed: once they lost their jobs, workers had no life insurance coverage, putting them and their families at risk.
Many insured adults today only have group life insurance through the workplace, according to Facts About Life, a 2008 publication by LIMRA International, an insurance and financial services association. That means that if they are laid off or leave an employer for other reasons, they will lose their life insurance coverage.
As of November 2009, more than 15.4 million people in the U.S are unemployed, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The national unemployment rate stands at 10.0 percent.
“Workplace life insurance policies are a great benefit, and employers are to be commended for providing them. At the same time, a lot of workers have become overly dependent on these benefits,” said Melissa Millan, senior vice president, Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. (MassMutual). “Many don’t realize that most group policies terminate when their job does, don’t give much thought to how much coverage they need, and often don’t realize that permanent life insurance – such as whole life insurance – can be a good fit depending on their planning needs. This unrecognized gap is very worrisome.”
In addition to not being portable, workplace life insurance policies typically provide insufficient death benefits for people who want to support dependents after their deaths. In fact, adults with only group coverage carry the lowest amounts of life insurance, according to LIMRA’s Facts About Life.
There are two basic types of life insurance: term and permanent. Many employers offer term life insurance to employees, and for those who have a specific need for coverage for a certain period of time, term insurance is often a good option.
For those who prefer added flexibility and lifelong security, permanent insurance – such as whole life insurance – can be a good choice. Whole life offers several features including premiums that will not increase, a death benefit, cash value guaranteed to grow, and although not guaranteed, the ability to earn dividends. The cash value of whole life insurance policies also creates financial flexibility because policy owners can tap into it* in the event of unexpected life events, such as a job loss.
To help avoid surprises, MassMutual offers these three tips:
Tip #1: Do not rely on any general rules of thumb. “Obtain the amount of life insurance coverage you actually need. ‘Rules of thumb’ do not take into consideration numerous factors, such as your age, income stream from other immediate family members, and ages and needs of dependents. Do what’s right for you and your personal situation.” – Scott Stillman, general agent of Wealth Concepts LLC of Denver, CO, a MassMutual general agency
Tip #2: Take action while you’re still working. “It’s best to apply for individually-owned life insurance while still employed. If you apply for life insurance when you’re unemployed, the life insurance carrier could insure you for less than you might like, because it may factor income into its underwriting.” – Kim Michel, general agent of Michel Financial Group, a MassMutual general agency in Los Angeles, CA
Tip #3: Consider adding permanent, portable coverage to your mix. “Having whole life insurance as a permanent, guaranteed base, and incorporating term life insurance (perhaps through your employer or on your own) as a supplement, is a great strategy for many people. This way, no matter what your employment situation, you always have the coverage through your permanent policy, and in the long run, it gives you not only security but also great planning flexibility. The recession has fostered a newfound appreciation among a lot of people for the peace of mind that this kind of protection provides.” – Richard T. Nolan, CLU, ChFC, CLTC and general agent of Lee-Nolan Associates, LLC of New York, a MassMutual general agency
To learn more about life insurance options, visit www.massmutual.com/life.
* Access to cash values through borrowing or partial surrenders will reduce the policy’s cash value and death benefit, increase the chance the policy will lapse, and result in a tax liability, if the policy terminates before the death of the insured.
Founded in 1851, MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyholders. The company has a long history of financial strength and strong performance, and although dividends are not guaranteed, MassMutual has paid dividends to eligible participating policyholders every year since the 1860s. With whole life insurance as its foundation, MassMutual provides products to help meet the financial needs of clients, such as life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, retirement/401(k) plan services, and annuities. In addition, the company’s strong and growing network of financial professionals helps clients make good financial decisions for the long-term.
MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives. MassMutual is headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts and its major affiliates include: Babson Capital Management LLC; Baring Asset Management Limited; Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers LLC; The First Mercantile Trust Company; MassMutual International LLC; MML Investors Services, Inc., member FINRA and SIPC; OppenheimerFunds, Inc.; and The MassMutual Trust Company, FSB.