Last month, the University of Michigan agreed to an amendment with head football coach Jim Harbaugh on his existing contract. After a successful first season, the school rewarded Harbaugh with increased compensation in the form of a life insurance loan, according to ESPN.
In addition to his base salary, Michigan will loan Harbaugh $4 million in 2016 and an additional $2 million in each of the five years that follow to support the premium on a life insurance policy. Harbaugh will not be obligated to repay the loan until his passing. When that occurs, the university will be allowed to recoup its original investment. The rest of the payout will go to Harbaugh’s beneficiaries. According to the terms of the contract, they will receive no less than 150% of the policy that has been paid out at the time. Harbaugh himself is also allowed to borrow from the policy while living, though he must keep 150% of the value untouched, in order to protect the school’s investment.
While such a contract provision is unique in the sports world, there’s no denying that Coach Harbaugh sees the importance of valuing (and subsequently benefitting from) a life insurance policy.
Another notable sports figure, former NFL player and current commentator Boomer Esiason, also understands the value of life insurance. After his mother passed away, Esiason watched at a young age as his family struggled. They had not invested in life insurance.
“We were very lucky we had neighbors who could help out and make sure I was being looked after while my dad was at work,” he shared as part of his partnership with Life Happens. “I learned at 7 that no one is guaranteed a tomorrow, so I’d probably look them in the eye and say, ‘Just imagine if something happened to you and you hadn’t done the planning. The people you leave behind will feel the brunt of your mistakes.'”
This year’s spokesperson, professional race car driver Danica Patrick, concurs. “I’ve been fortunate to have a successful career from the beginning, and I want my family to be looked after if something were to happen to me, especially since my parents sacrificed so much for me to get where I am. But going a bit deeper, both my parents lost their dads when they were teenagers, and neither had any life insurance. My mom was one of five kids, and remembers that her mom had to sell most of the farm off as a result. When my sister and I came along, my parents got life insurance,” she said.
Traditionally, the biggest names in sports serve as role models because of their talent on the field/track. As demonstrated here, the choice to raise awareness for life insurance gives fans another reason to look up to them.
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