While researching January’s Spotlight on Life Insurance, I stumbled upon something called a "death map." Jean Claude Van Damme’s latest foray into the violent world of cartography? No, this morbidly named, but presumably useful, tool was actually created by researchers at the University of South Carolina, Columbia, using over 30 years of data to track where Americans are most likely to be killed by forces of nature.
I’ll be the first to admit that I find studies like this fascinating. As a resident of the Rocky Mountain region, I was disconcerted to see that I, along with those who live near the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts and those located in the northern Great Plains, face increased mortality levels due to Mother Nature when compared to the rest of the country.
Also interesting was the fact that, despite the attention-grabbing headlines that hurricanes, earthquakes and tornadoes receive, the study finds that everyday hazards like winter weather and heat account for far more deaths each year.
But as I was reading, I started to wonder, how useful is this information? I mean, beyond the curiosity factor, do studies like this really benefit those in the insurance industry? Would a life insurance or property/casualty underwriter be able to take something like this and translate it into sales? Could this information be used as the final piece in the puzzle to convince a prospect of their need for coverage? I’d be curious to hear from those of you who are out there selling policies every day. What’s the verdict?