METLIFE GUIDE HELPS EMPLOYERS CLOSE THE GENDER GAP OF LIFE INSURANCE OWNERSHIP AMONG THEIR WORKERS
NEW YORK, January 18, 2012
Women make up nearly half of the U.S. workforce, and while their incomes are vitally important to their families, they are less likely than men to protect that income with adequate life insurance coverage. A new MetLife guide, Protecting a Diverse Workforce – Steps to Address the Life Insurance Gap, underscores the importance of the workplace as a way to help eliminate this societal gender gap. It provides key insights as to why women are underinsured and tips for employers to improve workplace education and communications.
“As families increasingly depend on the income of a working woman, the ramifications of being underinsured are growing,” says Stephen Pontecorvo, vice president, Group Life Products at MetLife. “MetLife research reveals that the workplace is the primary source for obtaining life insurance coverage for women, which uniquely positions employers to help close the underinsured gap.”
Employers Play Key Role in Closing the Gap
Through education materials and decision-support tools tailored to women, employers can help to close the gender gap. Simple steps employers can take include crafting communications that underscore the value of life insurance and messaging that resonates with women, and providing access to a mix of products to help meet individual needs.
“These strategies not only benefit working women, but can also help benefit employers. Given the increasing importance of women in the diverse employee population, their utilization of, and satisfaction with benefits can have a positive impact on an employer’s benefits program. Communications that better engage working women can result in their gaining a higher level of benefits understanding and participation and, ultimately, improve retention of female employees,” adds Pontecorvo.
He highlights the following important factors from the guide for employers to consider:
- Dial up key messaging to address unique concerns. It is critical to recognize that working women have varying perceptions about life insurance’s purpose and benefits but shouldn’t be treated differently when explaining key facts about life insurance.
Working women tend to respond to certain benefit messaging – like the peace of mind and relief that comes from knowing their families will be well protected upon their death. Targeted employee communications can help achieve better results by emphasizing critical messaging points, such as the key differences among types of life insurance.
- Factor in communication preferences. Women prefer to receive advice on financial products and services from people they feel closest to, such as family, friends or co-workers. Social networking with peers to whom they relate can serve as another effective means of obtaining the information needed to secure the right amount of life insurance coverage. Additionally, 43% of women would like access to benefits information online, 39% would like information tailored to their life events or stages, another 39% want access to someone who can explain more about their benefits coverage and 30% want more frequent communication — all of these findings can help shape employee educational campaigns.
- Expanded toolkit.With employees increasingly looking to the workplace for guidance on selecting financial products and services that provide adequate protection based on their unique circumstances, employers must do more than simply provide educational materials. They also need to provide benchmarks for the right type of life insurance product and amount of coverage. With a variety of in-depth calculator and education tools, employees can better understand their need for life insurance, choose the right product and coverage amount, and enroll or apply easily.
Employers can visit www.metlife.com/lifeinsights to download the guide or to hear it as a podcast. In addition, employers can refer their employees through an intranet hyperlink to a useful new resource, MetLife’s Employee Life Center, at www.metlife.com/lifeoverview. The site provides a wealth of information about the basics of life insurance to help employees gain a better understanding of the types of life insurance to assist in their decision-making process. It features easy-to-follow educational resources that explain the benefits of life insurance; a life insurance needs calculator; and decision-support tools such as the Straight Story on Life Insurance, which provides guidance on frequently asked questions about life insurance.
MetLife is a subsidiary of MetLife, Inc. (NYSE: MET), a leading global provider of insurance, annuities and employee benefit programs, serving 90 million customers in over 50 countries. Through its subsidiaries and affiliates, MetLife holds leading market positions in the United States, Japan, Latin America, Asia Pacific, Europe and the Middle East. For more information, visit www.metlife.com.