By: Tadi Abedje
The COVID-19 pandemic has taken its toll not only on America, but throughout the world. One of the key demographic groups that has bore the brunt of this pandemic is Black Americans.
According to the APM Research Lab website, “For each 100,000 Americans (of their respective group), about 180 Black people have died from the coronavirus, the second-highest actual mortality rate of all groups, behind only Indigenous people (256).”
One of the Black Americans that fell victim to this deadly virus was Jonathan Oaks. He passed away two days after Christmas in 2020, shortly after catching the disease and suffering from severe coughing. Jonathan’s father, Johnny Oaks, was devastated as a single father, losing his son at age 28. However, Oaks was blessed to have life insurance to cover the costs of Jonathan’s funeral and burial.
“I’ve seen where people have had to raise money to bury their loved ones. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone. J’s death took me for a loop. I couldn’t believe it, but then there’s a funeral to plan,” Johnny Oaks said in an NBC News article. “To have to worry about expenses for a service would be too much, although I know many people, unfortunately, have that worry.”
As a result, there has been an increase of Black Americans by three percentage points in getting life insurance during the pandemic this year from the previous year, with the total percentage of Black Americans who have life insurance now sitting at 56%.
According to LIMRA, “Black Americans were significantly more likely to be concerned about being able to save for an emergency fund, pay their monthly bills and their mortgage, and leaving their families in a difficult situation due to a premature death.”
“Life insurance is one of those things that almost everyone needs, but no one wants to talk about until someone experiences the difference it makes,” said Terry Rasmussen, president and CEO at Thrivent, in a LIMRA video.