The purpose of life insurance in general is to financially help the dependents of the insured after their death. Whole Life Insurance (sometimes called "straight life" or "ordinary life") is a type of life insurance policy that remains in effect for the insured person's entire lifetime as long as the premiums are paid, or to the maturity date of the policy.
Premiums paid are fixed and do not usually increase with age. Whole life insurance belongs to the cash value category of life insurance, unlike term life insurance which has no cash value as is thus cheaper to purchase.
The benefits of having this type of policy are that the policy's cash value increases every year, that the policy is considered a liquid asset as they are easily accessible during the insured person's lifetime, the policies are tax free, and of course that the insured's beneficiaries will be compensated financially upon the death of the insured person which will mitigate the loss of their loved one.