Monday, October 15 10:55:39
Lifestyle "vices" cutting life expectancy and can double cost of life cover, according to Caledonian Life. 39pc of Irish adults are overweight, while 25pc are obese and 7,000 people die from smoking related disease in Ireland every year. These and other lifestyle characteristics are pushing up the life assurance premiums of certain demographics in Ireland.
"When we underwrite Specified Serious Illness and Life assurance applications, the most common medical issues that we encounter are obesity, elevated lipids (cholesterol) and hypertension (raised blood pressure)," said Daragh Feely, Sales Manager at Caledonian Life. "There has also been a rise in the numbers of applicants with Type 2 Diabetes which is often related to obesity. A higher than average Body Mass Index (BMI) continues to be a telltale sign of potential problems down the road for many people.
"If someone is about 10 pounds over their "ideal" weight, the cost of life assurance should not be affected. But if a person is obese, and especially if they have additional medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, they could have difficulty getting approved for life assurance and where it is approved, they'll invariably pay considerably more. A doubling or more of an applicant's premium due to obesity used to be unusual, but not anymore."
Diet, exercise and sleep are the core lifestyle factors that impact on health and the cost of cover as a deficiency in these can often lead to medical problems.
"It should not come as a surprise to people that these factors are important," said Peter Mahony, Director at online Insurance intermediary SmartQuotes.ie.
"We are constantly told that it's important to eat regularly and choose nutritious foods that you enjoy. Similarly, keeping active is essential for promoting health, and having regular, quality sleep is also critical. Underwriters are particularly conscious of obesity, smoking and alcohol intake as they do not exist in a vacuum; they can lead to other serious health conditions, which is why it can affect your Life assurance rates."