Insight: The Importance of De-Emphasizing Death or Dying When Promoting Annuities

By Paul Secunda

Insight Overview

Policymakers and annuity manufacturers and annuity distributors can make simple changes to the description of their immediate life annuities that will increase the likelihood that retirement investors will purchase their products. Research shows that de-emphasizing death or dying when promoting annuities can lead to substantial uptake in individuals’ willingness to purchase annuity products. For instance, stating in an annuity brochure that you will “receive a series of regular monthly payments each year you live,” is more likely to convince consumers to purchase annuities than saying you will “receive a series of regular monthly payments each year until you die.” In short, avoiding thoughts of death or dying in consumers when suggesting they purchase annuities significantly increases the chance they will purchase annuities.

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About the Author:

PAUL M. SECUNDA, is a Partner at Walcheske & Luzi, LLC, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he practices employee benefits and labor law. He is a member of the American College of Employee Benefits Counsel, former Chairman of the ERISA Advisory Council, and has written numerous books, chapters, and articles on retirement security issues and cognitive bias in legal decision-making.

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