Percentage of U.S. adults
who owned individual life insurance in 1960:
Percentage who owned individual life insurance in 2010:
Those figures come from Prudential's The Life Insurance Coverage Gap. Today's two-income couples may carry insurance if they have dependents. Otherwise, apparently … not so much.
In addition, Prudential acknowledges, the mind-boggling complexity of many life insurance products scares people. Agents may stand a better chance of gaining traction if they lower their sights and sell simple term policies.
Surely that's not what an insurance company would have suggested back in 1960!