Top 10 health hazards for life insurers

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Sleep apnea
Sleep apnea © KieferPix/

Sleep apnea

Some people often stop breathing while sleeping or can fall asleep without warning, such as when driving a motor vehicle.

These life-threatening health conditions, known as sleep apnea and narcolepsy, respectively, will almost certainly serve as a wake-up call for a life insurance underwriter.

The dangers are obvious if a person with narcolepsy suddenly falls asleep at the wheel. As for sleep apnea, it "can be associated with high blood pressure, coronary artery disease, etc.," Goldstein says, "so it's more those associated issues that make it a risk classification matter."

That said, she also has good news for sufferers of this rare condition.

"I don't want to say that it never affects the risk class, but even if it is a severe degree of sleep apnea, if it is well-controlled and well-managed, they can get very favorable underwriting. It's only when it is severe and untreated that it becomes a risk classification issue," she says.


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