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Olympic Gold Medalist Shares Personal Story during Life Insurance Awareness Month

Washington, D.C. ‘ August 28 ‘ Every day, millions of Americans skate on thin ice with their family‘s finances by not having adequate life insurance coverage. This September, Olympic Figure Skating Gold Medalist Scott Hamilton hopes to change that by sharing his personal experience of losing his mother at a young age and overcoming a life-threatening illness to illustrate the importance of planning financially for the unexpected. Scott is this year‘s spokesperson for Life Insurance Awareness Month, and hopes his story will motivate more people to take stock of their life insurance needs and take steps to ensure their family‘s finances remain on solid ground.

Scott was only 19 when he lost his mother to cancer. On a personal level, Scott took the loss very hard but his mother‘s death also strained the family‘s finances. Without his mother‘s income, there wasn‘t enough money to continue to pay for Scott‘s training. Had it not been for the generosity of an anonymous donor, Scott would have given up the sport he loved right before his skating career was about to take off. As it turned out, the experience strengthened his resolve to achieve skating greatness and he went on to become one of the most successful skaters in the history of the sport, eventually winning gold at the Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. Thirteen years later, Scott achieved an even more important victory when he successfully completed treatments for testicular cancer.

"Losing my mother and fighting my own battle with cancer taught me that unexpected events can rock your family at any time," said Scott Hamilton. "When my mom died, the emotional challenges that my family and I faced were compounded by financial struggles because she didn't have any life insurance. Because of that experience, I've owned life insurance since I was a young adult. Now that I'm married and have a son who‘s almost three, I value the financial security life insurance provides more than ever."

During September, Scott will share his story through public appearances and interviews with newspapers, magazines and radio and television stations throughout the country. Scott will also help rally insurance industry support for Life Insurance Awareness Month at the annual convention of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors on August 28, in San Francisco.

Scott‘s participation in Life Insurance Awareness Month was secured by the Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE), a nonprofit organization that is coordinating the industry-wide campaign.

‘Scott‘s a big believer in life insurance because he understands that there are no guarantees in life and that acting today can keep a personal tragedy from turning into a financial one,‘ said David F. Woods, CLU, ChFC, LIFE‘s president. ‘We‘re so thrilled to have someone as inspirational and passionate as Scott helping to deliver our life insurance messages to the public.‘

LIFE will spend millions of dollars in September educating consumers about the need for life insurance and the importance of seeking advice from qualified insurance professionals. LIFE‘s publicity plans include print, radio and television advertising, including the annual realLIFEstories special section that will appear in the September 4, issue of Newsweek. LIFE will also sponsor a series of radio public service announcements and run special life-insurance features on its website and blog. In addition, LIFE will announce the winners of its LIFE Lessons Scholarship Program, an essay contest in which 15 students are awarded money for college for writing essays that recount the financial and emotional impact of losing a parent at a young age.

More than 100 leading insurance companies and industry trade groups will participate in Life Insurance Awareness Month. Collectively, they will spend tens of millions of dollars on awareness-building and marketing efforts during September. Most of the nation‘s top insurance companies are participating in the campaign including State Farm, AEGON, New York Life, MassMutual, John Hancock, Penn Mutual, Guardian, AXA, Principal Financial Group, Nationwide, Southern Farm Bureau, COUNTRY Financial, Farm Bureau Financial Services and Prudential, The Hartford, Thrivent Financial and Allstate

About Life Insurance Awareness Month
Life Insurance Awareness Month was created in response to growing concern about the large number of Americans who lack adequate life insurance protection. According to LIMRA, 68 million adult Americans have no life insurance. Those who own life insurance have an average of four times their annual income in coverage, which is considerably less than most experts recommend. Held each September, Life Insurance Awareness Month is an industry-wide effort that is coordinated by the LIFE Foundation.

About LIFE
The Life and Health Insurance Foundation for Education (LIFE) was founded in response to the public‘s growing need for information and education on life, health, disability and long-term care insurance. LIFE also seeks to remind people of the important role insurance professionals perform in helping families, businesses and individuals find the insurance products that best fit their needs. To learn more about these topics, please visit

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