A financial adviser in Northamptonshire has recently hit a problem with a client life insurance application due to the client using nicotine chewing gum, having stopped smoking 5 years ago.
If you are older or if you apply for a large life sum assured you are likely to have life insurers requiring some form of medical underwriting. In most cases, this involves a simple GP’s medical report but increasingly insurers are requesting additional medical information by way of a medical examination or other tests such as blood and cotinine tests.
In the above case, the client had stated that they were not a smoker but then a cotinine mouth swab test suggested otherwise. In this case, the test had confirmed the client’s exposure to nicotine and both broker and client then fought with the insurer to secure non-smoker status.
Some larger insurers have the capacity to make distinctions between and have different rates for non-smokers, smokers, vapers and those on nicotine replacement therapies, others only have smoker and non-smoker rates and may class you as a smoker if you vape or use nicotine gums.
This presents a challenge for advisers and consumers in securing the lowest premium rates for life and critical illness insurance protection and at the other end, securing the highest annuity rate for smokers, vapers et al.
Be careful with smoking but be careful with replacement therapies.