(Washington, DC) — This month marks the eighth anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Although the thought of life’s tragedies is one that most people seek to avoid, the thought of your loved ones suffering financially after a life tragedy may be worse. Death is a painful emotional experience for those left behind, but it can affect loved ones even more financially due to inadequate life insurance protection. According to LIMRA International, an insurance research firm, an estimated 68 million adult Americans do not have life insurance; and most of those with coverage are underinsured, carrying far less than most experts recommend. Life insurance is used as a financial tool to protect your loved ones against the risk that a person will die too soon and be unable to fulfill the financial obligations left behind. In the event of your passing, life insurance provides money directly to your beneficiaries. To urge more District residents to consider life insurance in their financial planning, the DC Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) is encouraging all to take stock of their life insurance needs during this year’s Life Insurance Awareness Month in September; and to especially consider it on this heartbreaking anniversary. “Each year, DISB has supported Life Insurance Awareness Month’s efforts to continue to inform and educate District residents about the benefits of life insurance,” said DISB Acting Commissioner Gennet Purcell, “so that in the event of a death, the family will be spared the economic hardships that too often accompany this tragedy.” If persons have doubts about how their family would manage without them, Acting Commissioner Purcell suggests that it’s time to take charge of the situation by getting a life insurance check-up today. She offers the following tips: Step 1:Check out DISB’s website. It offers a wealth of information about various types of life insurance, and allows you the opportunity to check whether an agent or a company is licensed in the District. Spending some time on the Web site will educate you about key insurance terms and concepts, and give you the knowledge you need to make well-informed decisions. Step 2:Know the right questions to ask. Once you’ve determined that you have a need for life insurance, the very first question you always need to ask is, “How much do I need?” If you die prematurely, you want to know that your loved ones will have enough money to continue living the kind of life you hoped they’d have. To make it easy for you to get a general sense of your needs, check the LIFE Foundation’s life insurance needs calculator. It’ll walk you through the process and provide you with an estimate of your insurance needs in a matter of minutes. Once you know how much life insurance you need, then you’re ready to look at the various types of policies available to you (e.g., term insurance, permanent insurance or maybe a combination of the two). Step 3:Remember, the calculator is no substitute for the guidance and assistance you’ll get by meeting with a licensed insurance agent or other financial professional. So if you’re seriously considering ways to protect your family’s future, seek professional advice. There are lots of factors to consider when determining how much and what kind of life insurance to buy, and the purchasing process can be quite complicated. So when you’re ready to shop, it’s always a smart idea to seek assistance from a qualified life insurance professional. A good insurance advisor will take the time to carefully assess your needs, and provide you with options from which to choose. To find out whether an agent or company is licensed in the District of Columbia, contact DISB at (202) 727-8000. “Don’t gamble with your family’s financial future,” Acting Commissioner Purcell added. “Take charge of your life insurance situation today and rest easier knowing your loved ones will be taken care of, should the unexpected occur.” Life Insurance Awareness Month was created by the LIFE Foundation in response to growing concern about the large number of Americans who lack adequate life insurance protection. The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) is a nonprofit organization, founded 1994, which is dedicated to helping consumers make smart insurance decisions to safeguard their families’ futures. It was created in response to the public’s need for information and education on life, health, disability and long-term care insurance. DISB has signed on in support of Life Insurance Awareness Month. The agency will use the month, designed to increase public awareness about the importance of life insurance in providing protection for unforeseen events and the benefits of advice from financial-service professionals. DISB will discuss life insurance issues at several events around the city. Please check DISB’s website for calendar updates. Highlights Sunday, September 13, from 11 am to 3 pm, Family Health Fair. DISB will have a table at this Mayor’s Office of Latino Affairs’ event at 1470 Irving Street, NW. It will provide tidbits on health and life insurance, including long-term care insurance information for the immigrant population. Sunday, September 13, from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm, Being Healthy is Our Responsibility health fair, Ethiopian Orthodox Church, 1350 Buchanan Street, NW. Look for the agency at this event with consumer alerts and information on health and life insurance. Saturday, September 19, from 9 pm to 7 pm, H Street Festival 2009. DISB will be on hand with consumer alerts and tips on life and homeowners insurance issues at 441 Chaplin Street, SE. Each Week, DISB will send out tips on life insurance. DISB will use various methods to ask District residents to consider, and to prepare for the “What ifs” in life. The agency will continue to have media appearances to discuss life insurance. DISB staff will attend other District events to give information on life insurance in select areas in the District of Columbia.