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Many Americans Are Unclear About Which Financial Products They Own


Life Happens, a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to helping Americans take personal financial responsibility, recently teamed up with LIMRA to publish a survey about the awareness of available financial services. According to a recent article from ThinkAdvisor, a major problem was identified through the research: American participants are unsure about what financial services products they actually own.

The survey team used data from their 2019 Insurance Barometer Study, which was an online survey of approximately 2,000 U.S. adults who make the financial decisions in their households. Researchers asked the participants about their ownership of various types of financial services products and found that participants thought they owned:

  • Life insurance: 57%
  • Disability Insurance: 20%
  • Long-Term Care Insurance (LTCI): 15%
  • Annuities: 12%

According to the researchers, the ownership rates reported for disability insurance and annuities appear to be low, while the ownership rate reported for LTCI appears to be high.

One difficulty with interpreting the data is that the survey team did not say in the survey results summary available to the public how, or if, they defined the product types for the survey takers. Some survey participants, for example, might have been referring to life insurance policies or

Disability Insurance: The Council for Disability Awareness has reported that about 49% of U.S. workers get some kind of employer-paid disability insurance from their employers.

Annuities: In 2017, Gallup reported that 26% of all investors have annuities of some sort. Gallup classified people as investors if they had investments of at least $10,000.

FINRA reported in 2016 that 33% of the people who participated in an investor survey said they owned annuities. FINRA did not say what percentage of the total population could be classified as investors.

LTCI: The American Association for Long Term Care Insurance has estimated that approximately 7 million Americans, about 3%, of financial decision makers might have stand-alone LTCI coverage.

A summary of the Life Happens-LIMRA 2019 Insurance Barometer Study can be found here.

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