September Is Life Insurance Awareness Month

From: Tony Garcia, President & CEO, TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company

Tony Garcia - Color Portrait
Tony Garcia

It isn’t often the life insurance industry gets to mark the impact we have on the lives of people in our communities, but September’s Life Insurance Awareness Month (LIAM), organized by the nonprofit organization, Life Foundation, is the perfect time to do just that—celebrate the fact that we help millions of people safeguard their families’ financial futures through proper life insurance planning.

It’s not easy getting people to consider their mortality and contemplate how their loved ones would manage financially in their absence. But it’s extremely important we have these conversations because each year nearly 600,000 Americans die in the prime of their lives.1

Lamar Odom’s Story
To help Americans understand the profound impact that life insurance can have on a person’s life, the insurance industry has turned to a celebrity whose life experiences have taught him this valuable lesson. This September, Lamar Odom, Los Angeles Lakers forward and star of the hit reality TV show Khloé & Lamar, will serve as the national spokesperson for LIAM.

Despite his all-star image and the celebrity lifestyle he enjoys today, Odom’s journey began humbly in a single-parent household in Queens, N.Y. Even though his mother, Cathy, earned a modest income working as a corrections officer, she sent him to Catholic school because of concerns about the public schools in the South Jamaica neighborhood where they lived. When Odom was 12, his mother died of colon cancer. Because she had life insurance, Odom was able to continue his Catholic school education.

When Odom graduated high school at 18, life insurance again made a difference in his life. Odom was considered to be one of the best young basketball players in the country but knew it would be best for his career if he did not pursue a professional career right away. Because he and his grandmother, who raised him through high school, were financially stable, Odom did not need to immediately earn a paycheck. Instead, he attended college for several years prior to turning pro.

Most people aren’t blessed with the kind of innate athletic talent Lamar Odom possesses, but his story isn’t that different from anyone else’s.

When his mother died at an early age, his life could have gone in one of two directions. At that critical juncture, life insurance made a big difference—exactly when he needed it. “I’m sure my mom didn’t think she would die at age 35, but that didn’t stop her from doing the responsible thing and buying life insurance,” says Odom. “Her wise decision gave me the foundation to move on in my life, and played a big role in making me the person I am today.”

That’s what a company like TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company (TIAA-CREF Life) does. We make promises to be there for people at their time of greatest need, and policyholders know we will deliver on our promises.2

Unfortunately, for every person who has the peace of mind of knowing they’ve planned properly, there are probably several others who haven’t taken the same steps to secure their families’ financial futures with life insurance. That is why LIAM is so significant. It’s our opportunity to reach out to people and remind them of the importance of life insurance in a sound financial plan.

You can participate in LIAM
Use LIAM as the impetus to start a life insurance discussion with people in your community. You never know—this may be a time when life insurance is already on their minds.

For more on LIAM and how you can get involved, go to the LIFE Foundation’s website at Or, to learn more about TIAA-CREF Life’s life insurance and how it may benefit you, contact our Life advisors for a no obligation review at 877 276-9429.

1 Source: Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE), September 2011
2 All guarantees are subject to TIAA-CREF Life's claims paying ability.

This story describes the financial circumstances and experiences of a specific individual. Individual results and experiences will vary.

TIAA-CREF Life Insurance Company (TIAA-CREF Life), 730 Third Avenue, New York, NY 10017.


© 2014 and prior years, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association - College Retirement Equities Fund (TIAA-CREF), New York, NY 10017