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The Wall Street Journal: The pandemic has expanded life insurance purchases beyond just wealthy households


U.S. households from a range of incomes are buying more life-insurance policies than in years past.

The number of life-insurance policies sold jumped 11% in the first quarter from a year earlier, the biggest gain since 1983, according to the industry research firm Limra. The boost extends the sales increases that began last year as deaths related to Covid-19 led many consumers to buy coverage.

As the number of policies sold climbed, the average death benefit shrank by 4% to $270,000. The decline indicates that the industry sold more policies to households with smaller incomes, said David Levenson, Limra’s chief executive.

“It implies that we are reaching a larger percentage of the 102 million uninsured and underinsured Americans who believe they need coverage or need additional coverage,” he said, citing Limra research. The firm calculates that many of these people are in households earning less than $100,000 annually.

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