Life insurance in the United States- Statistics & Facts

The first ever life insurance company in the United States was the Presbyterian Ministers Fund. Established in 1759 in Philadelphia, it was specifically created to assist Presbyterian widows and orphans. The industry has since grown and now includes many more policy providers and classes of policy holders. With a total asset value of around 7.18 trillion dollars in 2017 alone, the industry currently provides employment for almost 350,000 individuals across the United States. Some of the largest life insurance companies in the U.S. by net worth include: MetLife, Prudential Financial and Aflac.

The number of life insurance companies in the U.S. has fallen from well over a thousand from the 1960s to around 781 in 2017. In the U.S., life insurance typically includes contractual terms with specific exclusion clauses that limit the liability of the insurer to the policy holder such as in the case of war, suicide or fraud. Also, premiums are normally not deductible for federal and state income tax purposes.

Advances in computer technology have brought about changes in how consumers purchase life insurance. The number of consumers using the internet to research and purchase life insurance is on the rise. However, independent agents are still the most dominant distribution channels. Around four out of every ten people in the U.S. do not have life insurance coverage of any kind. In 2017, California had the highest number of life insurance purchases while Wyoming was the state with the least. Approximately 28 million life insurance policies were purchased across U.S. in that same year.

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