This report explores the US life insurance industry, with a focus on what consumers want from life insurance and why. Below, we’ve summarized the key areas covered, and offer insights selected from the report.

Key Areas Covered

  • Life insurance ownership.
  • Motivations to purchase life insurance.
  • Reasons not to own life insurance.
  • Top factors when choosing an insurer.
  • Sources consulted in purchase decision.
  • Attitudes toward life insurance.

US Life Insurance Market Overview

The past few years have seen life insurance demand shift due to public health and economic developments. The US pandemic-induced dip in life expectancy sparked an increase in consideration and policy sales. At the same time, inflation has pushed customers to prioritize low monthly premiums, forcing insurers to focus on plan affordability. There is also a trend toward digital and intrapersonal channels rather than traditional brokers and agents, potentially creating a divide between simpler term life enrollments and more advanced variable policies.

Life Insurance Consumer Facts

  • Common pain points: Nearly half of life insurance owners find the acquisition process to be a hassle due to the paperwork involved, and almost the same amount needing a medical exam for their application. This demonstrates the common pain points for consumers in obtaining life insurance.
  • Consumer referral preference: Around a third of individual policyholders sought advice from family and friends when deciding on an insurance provider, indicating a preference for personal referrals over-relying on insurance brokers.

This report extensively explores life insurance consumer trends, preferences, and demands, providing your business with the ability to respond effectively.

Opportunity for Stakeholders

Fathers are an ideal target for life insurance marketing, with two in three owning multiple policies and a high motivation to provide for their family. Digital insurers stand to benefit from fathers’ focus on digital tools and simple applications. To succeed, insurers must illustrate their superiority over rival providers rather than just emphasizing speed and ease. Fathers are a receptive segment that will respond to digital channels in marketing and consider a policy’s full suite of benefits.

This report further explores opportunities for life insurance businesses and stakeholders, providing recommendations backed by independent consumer research. You may also be interested to browse our other financial services market research reports.

Services and Brands Discussed

This Report examines consumer payment behaviors and attitudes toward life insurance, with a focus on policies purchased directly through insurers.

A number of key players and other brands are discussed within the scope of this report, such as Globe Life and their emphasis on life insurance for kids, Haven addressing consumers who have never bought life insurance before, and more.

Additional Features Included in Your Report

Different Digital Formats: PDF for conveniently sharing with your team, PowerPoint for quickly including in your presentation, as well as an Infographic and an Excel Databook.

Mintel’s Clients Portal: Our portal offers instant access to actionable analysis and trends pieces relevant to your industry that are published almost daily. You can also browse for more market research reports.

Expert Analysis From a Financial Services Expert

This report, written by Patrick Rahlfs, a leading financial services analyst, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends in the US life insurance market, adding expert context to the numbers.

Life insurance is a product with a long-term focus, causing consumers to be most receptive to it when their futures are top-of-mind. These forward-looking considerations occur at key individual lifestages such as the start of parenthood, but they also occurred on a macro scale when the pandemic cast a spotlight on mortality. Emotional drivers motivate the majority of life insurance purchases, but inflation’s impact on budgets has caused monthly premiums to rise to the top of the hierarchy of product features.

Patrick Rahlfs, Senior Research Analyst


Patrick Rahlfs
Senior Research Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top Takeaways
    • Consumer trends
    • Price focus provides opportunity for digital insurers
      • Figure 1: Important features in choice of life insurer, 2023
    • Life events spark long-term planning
      • Figure 2: Effect of life events on purchase process, by age, 2023
    • Universal plans align with advanced goals
      • Figure 3: Life insurance purchase motivations, by type of insurance owned, 2023
    • Competitive strategies
    • Life insurance marketing hit a monthly spend high in January 2023
      • Figure 4: Life insurance sub-industry cross-channel spend, 2019-23
    • Digital insurers highlight speed of process
      • Figure 5: Ladder paid Facebook ad, 2023
    • Market predictions
      • Figure 6: Life insurance category outlook, 2023-28
    • Opportunities
    • Discerning fathers will respond to comparative views
    • Black consumers seek reasons to purchase in the near term
    • Existing providers can step up customer communication
  3. Market Drivers

    • Life insurance marketing reached a new peak in January 2023
      • Figure 9: Life insurance sub-industry cross-channel spend, 2019-23
    • Consumer Price Index has cooled, but remains elevated
      • Figure 10: Consumer Price Index, 2015-23
    • Average life expectancy reached a 25-year low in 2021
      • Figure 11: US average life expectancy, 1980-2023
  4. Competitive Strategies and Market Opportunities

    • Globe Life emphasizes kids and grandkids
      • Figure 12: Globe Life Young American Plan direct mail piece, 2023
    • Haven Life addresses those who have never bought life insurance before
      • Figure 13: Haven Life paid Facebook ad, 2023
    • Ethos Life stresses lack of medical exam
      • Figure 14: Ethos Life paid Facebook ad, 2023
    • Comparison charts address price concerns
      • Figure 15: AAA Life direct mail piece, 2023
    • Ladder testimonials stress speed of process
      • Figure 16: Ladder paid Facebook ad, 2023
  5. The Life Insurance Consumer – Fast Facts

  6. Life Insurance Ownership

    • 57% of life insurance owners arranged their policy directly with an insurer
      • Figure 17: Life insurance provider, 2023
    • Customers above the age of 55 are most likely to arrange insurance with an insurer
      • Figure 18: Life insurance provider, by age, 2023
    • Income is a large catalyst for coverage among 35-54 year olds
      • Figure 19: Life insurance ownership, by age and income, 2023
    • Whole life policies are popular with those who arrange through insurers
      • Figure 20: Life insurance provider, by type of insurance owned, 2023
  7. Motivations to Buy Life Insurance

    • Peace of mind is top motivator
      • Figure 21: Life insurance purchase motivations, 2023
    • Universal life insurance owners have more advanced financial goals
      • Figure 22: Life insurance purchase motivations, by type of insurance owned, 2023
    • Women are most focused on peace of mind and helping loved ones
      • Figure 23: Life insurance purchase motivations, by gender, 2023
  8. Reasons Not to Own Life Insurance

    • Affordability is the top barrier to further life insurance ownership
      • Figure 24: Reasons not to have life insurance directly with an insurer, 2023
    • Younger consumers are likely to delay decision, lack confidence in process
      • Figure 25: Reasons not to have life insurance directly with an insurer, by generation, 2023
    • Black consumers are more likely to plan on future life insurance purchase
      • Figure 26: Reasons not to have life insurance directly with an insurer, by race and Hispanic origin, 2023
  9. Most Important Features

    • Premiums surpass reputation as top feature
      • Figure 27: Important features in choice of life insurer, 2023
    • Younger customers seek well-rounded policies
      • Figure 28: Important features in choice of life insurer, by age, 2023
  10. Life Insurance Decision Sources

    • Personal sources trump insurance brokers in decision process
      • Figure 29: Sources consulted in life insurer decision, 2023
    • Young consumers consult digital sources; older customers prefer an agent
      • Figure 30: Sources consulted in life insurer decision, by age, 2023
    • Hispanic consumers rely on personal sources
      • Figure 31: Sources consulted in life insurer decision, by race and Hispanic origin, 2023
  11. Attitudes toward Life Insurance

    • Most consumers do not feel that employer coverage is entirely sufficient
      • Figure 32: Switching or canceling behaviors, 2023
    • Life events drive policy purchases for 35-44 year olds
      • Figure 33: Effect of life events on purchase process, by age, 2023
    • More than half of life insurance customers would buy from a digital insurer
      • Figure 34: Type of insurer considered, 2023
    • Young policy holders seek rewards in lieu of paperwork
      • Figure 35: Life insurance enrollment attitudes, by generation, 2023
  12. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Data sources
    • Consumer survey data
    • Marketing creative
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


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