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The Actuary The magazine of the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries

US life insurers missing out on $70bn in premiums

The average life insurance policyholder in the US is massively underinsured, new research has found, with firms potentially missing out on almost $70bn (£53bn) in annual premiums.

Insurers failing to state the importance of life insurance ©iStock
Insurers failing to state the importance of life insurance ©iStock

In a report published today, InsurTech company Atidot revealed that only 26% of the total coverage needed for comprehensive life insurance is currently met in the US.

By failing to harness the “troves of data at their disposal”, the report estimates that insurers miss out on an average of $785 per person in untapped premiums every year.

“Policyholders are generally unaware that they are underinsured, and the onus must be on the insurance industry to remedy that,” Atidot’s CEO, Dror Katzav, said.

“New solutions enable insurers to harness data efficiently, and know when to contact clients to update their coverage and prevent lapsation.”

The research shows that West Virginia is the state with the greatest percentage of underinsurance at 85%, while Oklahoma, which has the most coverage, is still on just 51%.

But larger and more highly populated states are not less likely to be affected by underinsurance, and often present the biggest opportunities for insurers.

In terms of monetary value, the research shows that California is the state with the greatest unmet need, with insurers missing out on $7.3bn in premiums each year.

Texas, Florida, New York and Ohio complete the top five states with the largest unmet market opportunity, while Maine, Idaho, Hawaii, Montana and Oklahoma make up the bottom five.

Atidot said insurers have failed to effectively communicate the importance of life insurance to customers, targeting the wrong people at the wrong time, and giving inappropriate coverage recommendations.

“Insurance companies are forfeiting enormous profit potential and placing their most valuable asset, a loyal customer base, at risk by failing to capitalise on data at their disposal,” Atidot said.

“Poor customer management, the prime reason for lapsation and inappropriate coverage, could be drastically improved by utilising and effectively monetising customer data.” 

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