October 14, 2014

Life Happens Celebrates 20 Years of Educating Consumers

Nonprofit Leads the Insurance Industry to Reach More Consumers Than Ever Before on Importance of Personal Financial Responsibility

Arlington, Va. — Two decades ago, seven insurance producer organizations recognized that more needed to be done to educate the public about the importance of insurance planning and the value of working with a professional insurance agent. To more effectively respond to issues plaguing the industry, they came together and formed what has become Life Happens, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping Americans take personal financial responsibility through the ownership of life insurance and related products.

Today Life Happens celebrates its 20th anniversary and while the original reputational crisis it was formed to combat has subsided, a new challenge continues to confront the industry – the crisis of underinsurance in America. According to the 2014 Insurance Barometer study conducted by Life Happens and LIMRA, 65 percent of adults today say they personally need life insurance, including one in four who already have coverage but admit they need more.

Since its inception in October 1994, when it was called the LIFE Foundation, Life Happens has been responsible for creating and spearheading some of the most impactful consumer-education campaigns and programs, including September’s Life Insurance Awareness Month and the annual Real Life Stories program recognizing the positive role of professional insurance agents. (To watch a video highlighting Life Happens’ industry contributions and initiatives, visit www.lifehappens.org/anniversary).

Supported by seven producer organizations and 156 of the nation’s leading insurance and financial services companies, Life Happens is embracing new ways to reach consumers with powerful and positive messages about insurance.

“A lot has changed in 20 years, but our mission to educate the public has remained laser-focused. The need for insurance education has never been greater, and we’ve always recognized that the industry can have a bigger impact when we work together,” said Marvin H. Feldman, CLU, ChFC, RFC, president and CEO of Life Happens. “Advances in digital marketing and social media are offering us new opportunities for communicating directly with consumers, and we want to continue to lead the industry in using these mediums to ensure we are connecting with and educating the next generation of insurance buyers.”

Life Happens is reaching more Americans today than ever before with insurance education, interactive planning tools and motivating stories about the critical role insurance plays in sound financial planning.

In 2013, Life Happens shifted its entire consumer advertising effort to digital channels, increasing its media impressions by more than 1,800 percent and web traffic by nearly 300 percent. After watching one of the nonprofit’s online video ads, featuring one of its Real Life Stories, consumers surveyed said they were 57 percent more likely to consider purchasing life insurance than those who had not seen the video.

In February, the organization re-launched its website to coincide with a refreshed “Life Happens” brand name. The site now features new and updated consumer education resources like an insurance planner tool, redesigned insurance needs calculators and a consumer funnel that guides users through each stage of the insurance process. There is also a brand new industry-facing website that provides third-party marketing resources to help insurance professionals better reach consumers. In addition, nearly half of all in-bound traffic to Life Happens’ website now comes from mobile devices, which is a significant shift from previous years, and indicative of the changing consumer and media landscape.

Life Happens was one of the first in the insurance industry to embrace social media and in September, for the second year in a row, reached more than 1 million people through a single Facebook post featuring the story of life insurance beneficiary, Colleen Stokes. Colleen’s story is one of nearly 100 stories that have been gathered through Life Happens’ popular Real Life Stories Client Service program, which has reached millions of consumers with positive messages about the benefits of insurance and the role of insurance agents. For those left behind without life insurance, Life Happens has awarded nearly $1 million to deserving young people through its Life Lessons Scholarship Program.

“Today marks a very special day in Life Happens’ history, but as proud as we are about our past, we are even more excited about our future,” continued Feldman. “We want to thank our member companies and association organizations for their continued support and look forward to our next chapter in educating even more people about the importance of insurance planning.”

To view a timeline chronicling Life Happens’ marketing campaigns and educational initiatives throughout its 20-year history, visit lifehappens.org/timeline.

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 150 of the nation’s leading insurance company and financial services organizations. To learn more, visit www.lifehappens.org.

Matt Derrick
Life Happens
202-464-5000 x4442


Arielle Patrick
Weber Shandwick

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