Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom may not be the first to come to mind when people think about insurance. But the athlete and star of the hit reality show, "Khloe & Lamar," has a compelling story to tell about the impact life insurance made on his early years.
Odom will serve as spokesman for Life Insurance Awareness Month in September. The LIFE Foundation, which secured Odom's participation, coordinates the industry-wide campaign in response to concern about the growing number of Americans who lack life insurance protection. About 30 percent of U.S. households do not have life insurance, according to LIMRA, an industry research group.
Odom's personal experience with life insurance
Odom was raised in Queens, New York, in a single-parent household. Concerned about the quality of public schools in their neighborhood, Odom's mother, Cathy, managed to send him to private Catholic school on her modest income working as a corrections officer. When Odom was 12, his mother died of colon cancer. Still, he was able to continue his private school education, thanks to proceeds from his mother's life insurance policy.
When he graduated high school at 18, Odom was considered one of the best young basketball players in the country. But because he and his grandmother, who raised him through high school, were financially stable, he chose to go to college before turning pro.
"I'm sure my mom didn't think she would die at age 35, but that didn't stop her from doing the responsible thing and buying life insurance," Odom said in a press statement. "Her wise decision gave me the foundation to move on in my life, and played a big role in making me the person I am today. When I began my pro career, one of the first things I did was buy life insurance to make sure that my loved ones would always be taken care of. I'm proud to be working with the LIFE Foundation to share my story and to hopefully get more Americans to do the kind of smart planning that my mom did."
Odom's story will be broadcast nationally in TV and radio public service announcements starting in August.