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Women obviously don’t need life insurance as much as men…

That’s not my opinion, mind you. I’m just telling you what the New Zealand statistics for life insurance tell us.

I’m not referring to the fact that women live longer. And I’m not getting into the debate about whether women on average earn less. I’m busy looking at statistics that say for every three NZ men that buy life insurance, only two women buy life insurance. That’s a simple fact. To back this up, a survey released by AMP in 2006 found that “one member of the household tended to be the most underinsured – the mother”, and concluded that 70% of mothers either don’t have life insurance or have inadequate cover.

Of course, this could be a statistic exclusive to New Zealand so I thought I’d check with our Reinsurer’s Hannover Life Re. And guess what… the proportion is similar in Australia – out of every 100 people buying life insurance, around 60 are men.

Why is this so?

Do women genuinely have a lower need for life insurance? Or are there other factors? Maybe people who buy life insurance are typically family breadwinners and maybe this statistic is skewed towards men?Maybe it’s a spill-over from our traditional male-dominated family model, where men worked and women raised kids? Or maybe it’s because insurance brokers are more typically older males and maybe they don’t tend to target women as much? Before I get carried away speculating why women are underinsured, I’ll let you into another statistic…

In the 2006 AMP survey, only 55% of New Zealand families (hey that’s men and women) were found to have life insurance. They also found that 67% of families in New Zealand are either underinsured, or are not insured at all. So whilst women are obviously the underinsurance culprits here, men aren’t off the hook either!

Back to the statistics… this one intrigued me most of all…

Over 90% of insured people believe they have enough cover, yet only 31% have enough life insurance to support their families for five or more years. Go figure.

Before I sign off, I've got one more really interesting statistic to share with you. Of those who purchased an 'online' life insurance policy from Pinnacle Life this past year in the 20 to 29 year-old age bracket, 60% were female. Hmm, it seems times they are a-changing...

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