A MetLife study has found that a gender gap in life insurance coverage exists between working, married men and women with children under the age of 18. According to findings released today from MetLife’s 8th Annual Study of Employee Benefits Trends, married men with minor children have, on average, five times their annual household income in life insurance coverage – if they have coverage at all. However, married women with minor children have, on average, only three times their annual household income in coverage. This gender gap is noteworthy as both men and women express equal concern about the financial impact of their pre-mature death on their families – six out of ten fathers and mothers say they are very concerned.

“Life insurance can help provide a family with substantial peace of mind. It is important to not only have coverage, but to make sure that coverage amounts are adequate. That is why it’s concerning to see the income of working mothers is not as adequately protected as that of their male counterparts,” says Bill Raczko, senior vice president, U.S. Business, MetLife.

"Many people overlook some important expenses that life insurance can help cover. For example, the death of a working parent may not only terminate an income source but also a family’s source of health insurance, tuition assistance, and other financial benefits. It can be helpful to consult with a life insurance professional to get the right amount of insurance, but the study found that only half as many mothers as fathers consult with anyone about their personal financial matters," adds Steven Weisbart, Ph.D., CLU, senior vice president and chief economist, Insurance Information Institute.

Employers Can Help
Working, married women with children under the age of 18 are almost half as likely as working fathers to say their employers’ benefits communications effectively educate them on their options – 26% of mothers compared to 48% of fathers.

“Employers can improve their group life insurance benefits programs through three things: evaluation, enhancement, and employee education,” adds Raczko. “Year after year, MetLife’s Annual Employee Benefits Trends Study shows a strong correlation between effective benefits communications, improved benefits satisfaction and improved job satisfaction.”

The study also found that only 38% of married women with dependent children, compared to 56% of their male counterparts, are currently very satisfied with their workplace benefits.

Tips to Consider
Raczko offers the following tips for individuals to consider when evaluating their life insurance needs:

  • Start at the Workplace: Many employers offer a group life program. Even if employees have to pay some or all of the premium themselves, obtaining coverage in the workplace has the advantages of group rates, limited or no medical underwriting, convenient payroll deduction and ease of enrollment.
  • Supplement: Many employers allow their employees to purchase supplemental life insurance coverage at competitive group rates during the fall open enrollment season and often at additional times of the year. In addition to purchasing life insurance at work, individuals should also consider working with a financial advisor that can help them further understand the importance of both group and individual life insurance as part of their overall financial plan. MetLife’s Life Insurance Needs Calculator ( makes it easy for individuals to learn about the right amount of life insurance for their family’s needs based on their personal situations.
  • Discuss with Your Spouse/Partner: Individuals should not only consider their own coverage needs, but also those of their spouse/partner.

The 8th Annual MetLife Study of Employee Benefits Trends was conducted during the fourth quarter of 2009 and was fielded by GfK Custom Research North America. The employee sample comprised 1,305 interviews with full-time employees age 21 and over, at companies with a minimum of two employees, including 382 married men and women with children under the age of 18.

About MetLife
MetLife is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc.(NYSE: MET), a leading provider of insurance and financial services with operations throughout the United States and the Latin America, Europe and Asia Pacific regions. Through its domestic and international subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife, Inc. reaches more than 70 million customers around the world and MetLife is the largest life insurer in the United States (based on life insurance in-force). The MetLife companies offer life insurance, annuities, auto and home insurance, retail banking and other financial services to individuals, as well as group insurance, reinsurance and retirement & savings products and services to corporations and other institutions.


Karen Eldred