Role of life insurance in financial independence of women

As more women join the workforce and contribute to economic activity, it is imperative that they have access to adequate life insurance coverage.

It has been a long and hard trudge for women globally to be recognised and counted as equals. From fighting for the right to vote to advocating for equal pay and the end of gender bias, the struggle has been a long one.

Though there is still a long way to go, gender distinctions have, over time, started to blur, especially at the workplace, with women excelling in every sphere. Women have been challenging barriers and bringing down male bastions with regularity and aplomb.

And, as more women enter the workforce and gain financial independence, it is turning out to be a game-changing moment for women around the world. With financial autonomy, women can liberate themselves from being reliant on others and make choices that align with their personal objectives and dreams. This empowerment leads to a brighter future for their families, allowing them to provide the best education, healthcare, and experiences for their loved ones.

To achieve financial independence, obtaining financial security is essential, and life insurance products play a crucial role in this. Women comprise roughly 49% of the total population of India. As more women join the workforce and contribute to economic activity, it is imperative that they have access to adequate life insurance coverage.

Recognising that the contribution of women to the economic activity of the country is significant and is increasing every year, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI), in its annual report for the year 2021-22, noted that “there is a need for life insurers to recognise the growing significance of women population in the economy, identify their special needs or requirements, if any, and develop suitable products/solutions to provide adequate life insurance cover’’.

What is heartening is that there has been a steady increase in the number of life insurance policies sold to women in the country in recent years. According to a study by the IRDAI, the number of policies issued to women in the year 2021-22 was around 1.01 crore which is 34.7% of the 2.91 crore total policies issued in that year.

“Life insurance is available to women on the same terms as that of men, subject to their income earning capacity”, the IRDAI study noted. It further points to the healthy practice of preferential treatment for women by most life insurers while charging premium, as their life expectancy is higher. According to the IRDAI, insurance for women also depends on literacy levels, financial independence, and financial decision-making.

The industry is doing its bit. Take ICICI Prudential Life Insurance, for instance. It offers lower premiums for women in its term insurance products, iProtect Smart and iProtect.

Return of Premium: These products also provide coverage for women-specific illnesses like breast and cervical cancer. Additionally, the ICICI Pru Heart/Cancer Protect plan offers a 5% discount on the first premium payment if purchased by both spouses.

Ashwini Bondale,
Senior Vice President,
ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Company Limited

As gender distinctions blur and today’s women share the burden of household expenses, EMIs, mortgages, children’s education costs, and medical expenses, it is important that their income and their financial contribution are protected.

Hence, it is important that women are made aware of the benefits of life insurance as an instrument to protect their and their family’s financial future. Since women have a longer life expectancy than men, it is also important for them to be financially prepared for a happier and independent life.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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