ARLINGTON, Va.– Professional racecar driver Danica Patrick hopes she can motivate people to take a fresh look at their life insurance needs this fall when she serves as spokesperson for Life Insurance Awareness Month.
The annual campaign, which takes place in September, is coordinated by the nonprofit organization Life Happensto encourage the nearly 100 million Americans who do not have adequate life insurance to get the coverage they need.
Her message is straightforward. “Driving racecars is risky. Not having life insurance is riskier. It means leaving your loved ones to suffer financially if something happened to you,” said Patrick. And that is something her family knows firsthand. Both her parents lost their fathers when they were teens. Neither had life insurance. Patrick’s mom was one of five kids and remembers her mom—Patrick’s grandmother—having to sell off most of the family farm as a result.
And Patrick’s family is certainly not unique. A third of all U.S. households would have immediate trouble paying for living expenses if their primary wage earner died unexpectedly, including a quarter of those with life insurance and half of those without any life insurance. Half of U.S. households would feel the financial impact from the loss of their primary wage earner in just six months, according to the 2016 Insurance Barometer Study by Life Happens and LIMRA.
Patrick’s parents reinforced to her and her sister the importance of planning for the unexpected with emergency savings and life insurance.
Research shows that a majority of Americans recognize the importance of life insurance and understand they need more protection, but are not making moves to purchase a policy. According to the same Barometer Study, while nearly nine in 10 consumers (86%) agree that most people need life insurance, national ownership levels of life insurance remain near record lows.
Danica Patrick’s life insurance story
“My parents made a point to instill financial responsibility in both my sister and me at a young age, to avoid the financial hardships they had endured as kids,” Patrick said.
As one of the most distinguished racecar drivers today, Patrick understands what it takes to compete at the highest level and takes tremendous risks doing so. She continually works to fine-tune her skills and improve her fitness, in an effort to increase her chance of victory and decrease any chance of injury. Off of the track, Patrick implements many of these same practices to protect herself and her loved ones. After all, there are some risks that are just not worth taking, which is why she made her life insurance policy such a priority.
“I may have a risky job that not many people feel that they can relate to – after all, I race a car around a track with concrete walls at 200 mph. But the greatest risk of all is not having life insurance to take care of your loved ones should something happen to you,” Patrick said. “It is a risk that no one should take.”
Through its partnership with Patrick, Life Happens hopes to increase that number and encourage more families to get financially protected.
Patrick to share her story this September
Patrick will share her story through a national TV and radio PSA program that will begin this summer and continue until the end of the year. The PSAs will be available on the Life Happens website, along with educational information and interactive tools such as the Life Insurance Needs Calculator(www.lifehappens.org/howmuch) to help consumers evaluate their own life insurance needs.
“Danica’s story drives home an important reason to have life insurance: witnessing family and friends suffer because their loved ones did not have the necessary coverage,” said Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, President and CEO of Life Happens. “We’re thrilled to have her onboard to be able to share her experience as the voice of our campaign and hope that together we can encourage more people to get life insurance to protect their families and loved ones.”
Patrick ranks 63rd among all athletes in the world in ESPN’s World Fame 100 rankings, which uses a formula that combines salary and endorsements with social media following and Google search popularity.
Patrick is one of the most followed drivers in NASCAR on social media platforms. That includes 1.42 million followers on Twitter (third only to Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.), 1.4 million Facebook likes, and 275,000 Instagram followers.
• Thoughts on Danica Patrick as this year’s LIAM spokesperson and how effective she might be compared to other spokespersons (Anthony Anderson, Boomer Esiason, etc.)? Please comment here: Danica Patrick is 2016 LIAM Spokesperson
About Life Insurance Awareness Month: Life Insurance Awareness Month was created by Life Happens in 2004 in response to growing concern about the large number of Americans who lack adequate life insurance protection. Held each September, Life Insurance Awareness Month is an industry-wide effort involving hundreds of leading companies and thousands of insurance professionals. For more information about Life Insurance Awareness Month and Life Happens’ plans for the September campaign, visit www.lifehappens.org/danica/.
About Life Happens: Life Happens is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping consumers take personal financial responsibility through the ownership of life insurance and related products. The organization does not endorse any product, company or insurance advisor. Since its inception in 1994, Life Happens has provided the highest quality, independent and objective information for people seeking help with their insurance buying decisions. The organization supports the insurance industry by providing marketing tools and resources and convening the industry each September for Life Insurance Awareness Month. Life Happens is supported by more than 140 of the nation’s leading insurance company and financial services organizations.To learn more, visit www.lifehappens.org.