Pot-friendly carriers are the bong, says advisor

by Will Ashworth10 Jun 2015
A large swath of insurance companies don’t consider pot smoking ‘really smoking’ saving some clients considerable cash.

“If 36% of these companies consider smoking dope as non-smoking, then those are the companies we want to put our business with,” says B.C. advisor Ken MacCoy, “because if somebody says no [to being a smoker] and they’ve already stipulated that they consider dope smokers non-smokers than if you don’t disclose that you smoke dope, it’s not a materially change in the policy for that particular company.”

MacCoy’s making reference to the recent Munich Re survey that was conducted by the Association of Home Office Underwriters (AHOU) at their annual conference at the end of April. The results reflect the views of the 148 life insurance underwriters in attendance.

The key finding of the survey, which is alluded to previously, is that 36 per cent of the underwriters at the conference felt that marijuana users are non-smokers.

Interestingly, one in five companies don’t have a policy in place to deal with this issue. Also notable is the fact 49 per cent of underwriters surveyed believe there is no difference in risk between underwriting a marijuana user who smokes the drug and a user who ingests it.

With life insurance premiums considerably higher for smokers versus non-smokers, a slight difference in the interpretation of a policy could represent hundreds of dollars in annual savings for clients who don’t smoke tobacco but do occasionally partake in marijuana.

“They call them standard rates, which are smoker rates, and then they have non-smoker rates,” says MacCoy. “So, in other words the standard rates are 40% higher or you could say you get a 40% discount.”w
So, the next time your client says they smoke, don’t assume they’re talking about tobacco – because doing so could cost them money.