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Internet or life insurance agent?
By Insure.com staff

A growing number of consumers would rather buy life insurance directly from an insurance company rather than through an insurance agent, according to a survey commissioned by the nonprofit LIFE Foundation and LIMRA, a global life insurance research and consulting firm.

Two-thirds of consumers, 64 percent, still prefer purchasing life insurance from an agent, but that number is down from 80 percent in 1996. More than one in four adults, 26 percent, now prefer purchasing life insurance via the Internet, mail or phone.

Younger consumers show the most interest in purchasing life insurance through the Internet. Among those ages 25-44, 31 percent say they would prefer to buy direct, with three in four preferring the Internet over the mail or phone.

The study also found that 86 percent agree that most people need life insurance, but only 70 percent say they personally need life insurance. Only 63 percent of individuals surveyed say they own some sort of life insurance, which is in line with research conducted by LIMRA in 2010.

"Life insurance has never been as easy or inexpensive to buy, yet millions of Americans continue to put off making a purchase that they, by their own admission, say is an important one," LIFE Foundation President and CEO Marvin H. Feldman said in a media statement.

When asked how they would use the Internet if they were to make a life insurance purchase, 59 percent say they would use it to conduct research, but ultimately buy from an insurance agent. Twenty-one percent say they would research and complete the purchase online. Among 25-44 year-olds, nine in 10 say they would use the Internet in some fashion during the buying process.

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