Triple-I: Life Expectancy Decline Highlights Need for Life Insurance; Americans are Living Riskier


For immediate release 
Michael Barry, 917-923-8245,



NEW YORK, Sept. 1, 2022—U.S. life expectancy at birth dropped in 2021 to its lowest level since 1996 according to new federal data released this week, another reason Americans without life insurance should consider purchasing this coverage, according to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I).


“September is Life Insurance Awareness Month and provides the opportunity to further inform consumers about the essential financial protection and piece of mind a life insurance policy provides,” said Sean Kevelighan, CEO, Triple-I.  “Unfortunately, in recent years we have seen more Americans perish as a result of COVID-19, as well as some of the derivative effects, including people driving more dangerously; keeping in mind we had the largest annual percentage increase of fatalities on our roads in the U.S. than ever before in history. What’s more, the combination of increased climate risk and more people living in harm’s way, such as coastal and timber-rich areas, is compounding the problem.”


Life insurance policies protect against the death of a policyholder in the form of a payment to a beneficiary. Individuals should consider buying a life insurance policy if any of these three criteria apply to them, according to Triple-I:


  • Someone depends on you financially and will need significant financial resources after your death
  • Your estate has insufficient assets (e.g., cash, investments) to cover its taxes and debt
  • You wish to cover your funeral and burial expenses


“The 2022 Life Insurance Barometer Study identified four widely held misconceptions about life insurance,” Kevelighan stated, citing a study released by LIMRA and Life Happens.  “A sizable number of the study’s 8,000-plus respondents dramatically overestimated the cost of a life insurance policy and mistakenly believed the life insurance coverage they had through their employer was sufficient. Others thought life insurance was too difficult to buy or a product they would need only when they were older. In the wake of the deadliest pandemic in a century and as the number of fatal motor vehicle crashes soar, Americans should talk with their insurance professional about securing the right type, and amount, of life insurance coverage.”


The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimated 42,915 people died in U.S. motor vehicle crashes in 2021, the highest number of traffic fatalities since 2005. Unintentional injuries were second only to COVID-19 as the leading cause of U.S. deaths for both men and women over the past three years, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) report issued this week on mortality trends found.


Moreover, the only three U.S. states with populations above 20 million in 2021 are also among the ones most vulnerable to natural disasters.  California is home to 39.2 million Americans while Texas and Florida had populations last year of 29.5 million and 21.8 million, respectively, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


NCHS projected U.S. life expectancy at birth for 2021 at 76.1 years, based on the federal government’s nearly final data for last year. Male life expectancy (73.2 years in 2021) declined 3.1 years between 2019 and 2021 whereas female life expectancy (79.1 years in 2021) fell 2.3 years within this same timeframe.



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