Posted January 29, 2020
Blog by Barry Jones, Moneyfacts UK Protection Adviser of the year 2019
Whilst it may not make for the most comfortable conversation, talking to your clients about their weight, and its impact upon their life insurance costs, is something that should form part of the advice process and can often end up with a real positive outcome.
Most companies fall into broadly similar underwriting stances, with lines drawn at certain BMI points impacting upon the cost or availability of cover. Being aware of these break points is important, and sharing them with clients can influence their behaviour in an often surprising manner.
As example for a typical male aged 5’11”, if BMI is over 43 then critical illness cover will generally be declined (this is a weight of 21 stone 7 pounds or above). Any weight of 16 stone 7 pounds or below will be accepted at standard cost, with a sliding scale between the two. If this same client was a weight of 18 stone 7 pounds, his premium would be increased by 50% of the initial quote.
Sharing this information with clients can have a profound impact upon their behaviour, and perhaps gives us a bit of an insight into the human mind, and what drives us. Clients understand that being overweight will have a long term negative impact upon their health, but may have buried their heads in the sand for many years- it can be hard to prioritise worrying about something that may impact you in the future but probably not today. If they suddenly end up paying what in effect feels like a financial penalty every month, this draws the issue into sharp focus and can help drive long term positive lifestyle changes.
Sharing this information with a client, and giving them specifics- if your weight is X then your premium would be Y- is a powerful and positive way of dealing with this common underwriting concern that can create hugely positive outcomes for all.