NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Wal-Mart's chief consumer base is American consumers with annual incomes of $50,000 or less -- a demographic less likely to have life insurance than consumers with higher incomes.
To fix that, and to give consumers another reason to shop at Wal-Mart (WMT), the big box giant is offering life insurance to its customers, on a limited basis, in a pilot program.
The program is running in about 200 retail stores in Georgia and South Carolina, and the insurance policy end of the deal is being handled by MetLife (MET). The insurance firm is offering Wal-Mart shoppers a pre-paid, one-year $10,000 to $25,000 life insurance policy that costs, on average, about $100 or so.
The cost depends on a consumer's age and need for insurance. For Wal-Mart shoppers aged 18-44, a $10,000 policy costs $69. But for consumers aged 60-65, the policy can cost up to $429.Wal-Mart shoppers simply buy a prepaid card at the store, pay for the policy and activate the insurance policy by calling a 1-800 number provided by MetLife. If the consumer is rejected for any reason, Wal-Mart has a unique hook: The customer can use the prepaid card to shop for goods at any Wal-Mart. In an appearance on Bloomberg.com, Janney Montgomery Scott analyst David Strasser says Wal-Mart is looking to bring life insurance to the neglected masses and may be just the outlet to get that job done. "
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