Impact of a parent’s death on the family

ANZ-commissioned research shows the emotional impacts of parental death are far reaching.

In 2010, we commissioned research with Ipsos on the impact of parental death on the family unit.

Titled, ‘Picking up the Pieces’, some of you may remember the research illustrated that many of the negative outcomes associated with the death of a parent could potentially be lessened, or even avoided, by having an adequate life insurance policy in place.

In 2015, we’ve conducted a similar study*

Again, we have been heartened to see the relief insurance gave those who were covered, but equally saddened due to the extra stress and pressure felt by those who weren’t.

Some of the major findings from the recent study are below:

  • Little to no warning – 64% of respondents had less than a week’s notice of their spouse or parent dying, and over 40% had no warning at all, finding out about the death, post the event
  • 75% of those without cover agree that in hindsight a life insurance policy would have helped
  • 28% of children who lost a parent, suffered from a mental health condition at some stage after their loss
  • 14% of those without insurance rated their finances as ‘struggling’ before the death, after the death this number more than tripled to 47%
  • 1 in 4 of the parents stated that their children (aged 14+) took on a job due to financial pressure
  • Over 1 in 4 families had to move after the death due to financial pressures.

So what does the research tell us? 

The financial and emotional impacts of the death are far reaching, however those who were covered by insurance felt these impacts less severely than those without. 

While all families experienced changes as a result of losing a parent, families with life insurance in place to support them had a more stable lifestyle – fewer moved house due to financial pressure and relatively fewer parents reported that their children had to take up a job.  

Sadly, the vast majority of families were blindsided by the death of a parent. With few people having the opportunity to prepare in any way, insurance can be one of the simplest ways to safeguard their family’s financial future.

It was hard, but I got through it. It made me a stronger person.

– Respondent with life insurance.

How does the research help you?

Risk advisers often speak about the need for financial protection using ‘what if’ scenarios to get their clients thinking about their family’s future. This study gives you real-time insights into what actually happens – making it a clear and powerful way to demonstrate the benefits of life insurances.

For example, 40% of parents that did not have insurance reported that they missed out on more key moments in their child’s life. While only 32% of parents with life insurance felt they missed out.

15% of respondents without life insurance reported that their children had to change schools as a result of family pressure. While only 6% of parents with life insurance responded in the same way. 

Download the full report here.

If you have any questions about the study, please contact your ANZ Wealth Business Development Manager. 


July 2015