Steven LaBroi knew that he was going into a challenging field when he got involved in life insurance, but he quickly ran into issues that were hundreds of years in the making.
“There was a gap in really understanding why this industry seems to work for some and why there are so many stereotypes, so many clichés and so many misnomers in the other communities,” LaBroi said.
LIMRA data on why consumers buy life insurance shows that some of those clichés still exist in some communities. Among African Americans, for example, 31% buy life insurance to cover burial expenses, a far higher percent than other groups.
As an African American, LaBroi sees the legacy that led to that perspective.
“That’s what was offered in the African American community,” LaBroi said. “You have to remember there were 60-some African American insurance companies in this country in the early 1900s.”
Those companies focused on the concept of burial insurance because wealth was only starting to build in African American communities. As those companies died off, larger insurance companies were slow to move into that market.
LaBroi wanted to shift that thinking in his Washington, D.C., home base. He saw that people in his community needed to think of generational wealth-building. He conveys that to clients directly as well as in articles and his book, Build Your Human Equity Line of Credit.
“In a lot of my writings, I tell people that, ‘You are the legacy change. You’re the person who begins this process in the family. Maybe other cultures began it three generations ago, but now is your turn for your grandkids and great-grandkids to understand it,’” LaBroi said. “And I’ve been able to get people to pay attention to it.”
During this Life Insurance Awareness Month, the industry finds itself being pulled in a few directions.