NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Big insurance companies are taking an "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" approach to the consumer insurance market, as Americans increasingly opt to buy life insurance not directly from insurers, but while shopping for toothpaste and toasters at Wal-Mart (WMT).
That's exactly why an insurance firm such as MetLife (MET) has joined forces with Wal-Mart -- in effect, that's where the buyers are.
The study says that this year 20% of U.S. consumers would buy life insurance from a retail outlet such as Wal-Mart or Target (TGT). The study calls retail stores a "non-traditional environment," but certainly shoppers don't seem to mind. Buying life insurance on a Saturday trip to a big box retailer is simply a matter of price and convenience."A lot of people procrastinate getting life insurance," says Marvin H. Feldman, president and CEO of the organization. "The study showed that while the vast majority of consumers (85%) agree that most people need life insurance and 65% say they personally need it, just 62% indicated that they have life insurance coverage. Some view the road to life insurance ownership as a complicated process. But what if that first step into life insurance ownership for these procrastinators could happen at the same time they were buying milk?" Actually, such first steps aren't so unusual, once you factor in the reasons why consumers would buy life insurance at a Wal-Mart. According to the study . . .
- 63% cite "reasonable cost."
- 44% cite the "simple process."
- 43% cite the "convenience."
- 42% cite "no pressure to buy."
That could mean a jump in life insurance sales at big box retail stores. "Life insurance has never been as inexpensive or easy to buy -- especially with the anticipated growth of online and nontraditional purchasing channels -- yet millions of consumers continue to put off the decision," Feldman says. With more opportunities to buy, Americans may no longer put off buying insurance -- changing the life insurance industry and leading to more spouses leaving the house with these remarkable words: "Honey, I'm going out to buy some milk, paper towels and life insurance."
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