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Mortality Revolution Impacts Financial Products Like Never Before
Over 14 years ago, the front page of the Arizona Republic featured tri-centurions born in1898 and 1899. Mostly women, they had already lived in three centuries. For those born 100 years later, beginning in the 1990s, many will become super centurions, pushing toward 200 years of age.
This phenomenon is not an aberration. There are more Americans living past 100 years of age than ever before.
It may be hard to believe, but today’s centurions are the fastest growing segment of the United States geriatric population. If this trend continues, in the not too distant future, advances in medicine, technology, diet and exercise will push mortality far beyond what we know it to be now.
As a consequence, “about half of all life insurance policy owners are in the wrong rate class and consequently paying too much for coverage,” says Tim Ash, CEO of Ash Brokerage, one of the nation’s largest distributors of insurance products to financial professionals.
"Indeed, living longer has affected healthy policyholders in their twenties to the point that the policy fee for $100,000 of ten-year term life insurance is sometimes more than the mortality charge itself.” says Steve Savant, host of the highly viewed web TV show in the financial community, ‘Let’s Get Down To Business’. “The mortality tables are ever evolving, updating underwriting protocols and utilizing reliable new medical information whenever it becomes available.”
“Though living longer can evoke an ‘I need more!’ reaction when considering retirement planning, the trend can actually mean ‘I need less’ when shopping term life insurance premiums,” says Frank T. Gencarelli, Senior Vice President of Sales, Marketing and Product Management at Legal & General America. “As a major writer of term life insurance for many years, Legal & General America has and will continue to reflect extended life expectancy in our pricing.”
Online life expectancy calculators like www.livingto100.com present a battery of behavioral questions and inquiries that delve into personal family history in an effort to accurately project life expectancy.
With mortality going the way it is, even unhealthy lifestyles can be modified to extend current life expectancy. Quit smoking today, and your life insurance carrier may evaluate you in a whole different way – not something it offered only a few years ago. Indeed, mortality statistics are so strong that some term life carriers will practically dismiss the consequences of smoking after five years of continuous cessation.
Rightly so, the public is curious about mortality products like life insurance and annuities, especially annuity income you can’t outlive. Justin Blase, CEO of www.Insurancelibrary.com, reveals this telling insight: "Consumers are asking more questions related to life insurance than any other type of insurance on InsuranceLibrary.com. Life insurance questions outnumber auto insurance questions threefold -- which is very significant since having auto insurance is required by law. We continue to see several thousand life insurance questions asked every year on topics such as how to obtain coverage, who offers the best coverage, and whether or not coverage is available with a specific health condition. And the demand for answers to these questions is only increasing."
Presently, there are 20 known super centurions, already age 113 to 116.With the mortality revolution upon us, and records like Jeanne’s soon to be broken, mortality product pricing and retirement planning will continue to be impacted like never before.