Top 10 health hazards for life insurers

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Ready to buy life insurance? You can expect that an underwriter will put your application under a highly magnified microscope. Multiple factors are considered before you are — or aren’t — offered a policy:

  • Your age.
  • Your gender.
  • Your occupation.
  • Your financial status.
  • Any risky pastimes you may have.
  • Your lifestyle (particularly any tobacco, alcohol or drug use).
  • The face amount of the policy.
  • Your health.

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Armed with actuarial tables drawn from the company’s claims history, the underwriter will place you in a risk class based on the likelihood that you will expire before your policy matures, thus forcing the company to take a loss on you.

Those deemed a good bet to go the policy distance may qualify for the preferred or preferred-plus rate class (offering the best rates). Riskier applicants may qualify only for standard or substandard rates, while some individuals may be deemed too risky to insure.

Which health conditions are most likely to adversely affect your life insurance rate?

We asked Stephen Bloom, the retired chief underwriter for New York Life, and Dr. Jacki Goldstein, vice president and chief medical officer for MetLife, to walk us through the top 10 costliest health hazards for a 40-year-old man.