Today only 44 percent of Americans have individual life insurance and half of those who do say their coverage is insufficient, according to a 2012 research report from the life insurance industry association, LIMRA.

To help families secure their financial future, Sallie Mae Insurance Services announces the Upromise Life Insurance Plan, which offers a competitively priced whole life insurance product underwritten by Minnesota Life Insurance Company. The millions of Americans who have joined Upromise by Sallie Mae to save for college can also now rely on the Upromise Life Insurance Plan to give their family greater financial security.

"Too many families have not yet planned ahead to protect their family and to ensure their children can pursue their education goals even if the unexpected occurs," said Charlie Rocha, senior vice president, Sallie Mae, the nation’s No. 1 financial services company specializing in education. "Sallie Mae’s Upromise program empowers families to save for college and now to safeguard family finances. The Upromise Life Plan gives parents and their children peace of mind and options as their needs change."

There are two plan types: parents may buy a policy for themselves or their children. The child’s coverage automatically doubles at age 18, and the plan continues with fixed premiums into adulthood. Adult plans also have fixed premiums, and both plans have no medical exams, are easy to apply for, and offer instant decisions. The entire application process is online.

The Upromise Life Insurance Plan’s cash value grows over time and provides permanent protection as the policyholder ages. Policyholders have the option to cash out of the plan or borrow against the policy to help pay for college, a mortgage, or any of life’s unexpected expenses.

The plans are available to members of Upromise by Sallie Mae. Free to join, Upromise enables members to earn rewards for their child’s college education fund whenever they shop with participating retail partners. As an added benefit, 5 percent of the Upromise Life Plan policy’s cash value plus a portion of the premium may be credited into the policyholder’s Upromise rewards account for up to five years. For example, a $50,000 policy covering a 10-year-old child could generate up to $198 of savings in the policyholder’s Upromise account over five years.

Coverage is available in all states except New York. Learn more at Sallie Mae also offers a term life insurance program.

Sallie Mae Insurance Services offers America’s college students and young adults insurance programs that address their unique life-stage needs, including tuition insurance, renters insurance, life insurance and health insurance. In addition, Sallie Mae also provides colleges and universities access to specially designed insurance products, such as the Student Protection Plan, a package of tuition insurance, ID theft protection and other services to meet the needs of a typical college student. Sallie Mae Insurance Services is a strategic initiative between Sallie Mae and Next Generation Insurance Group, which is the licensed insurance agent for this program in all 50 states.