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Obesity will not weigh on all premiums

Protection IFAs believe rapidly rising obesity in the UK will affect prices for obese people on all health insurance policies that involve underwriting but is unlikely to push up costs for everyone in the near future.

The comments follow reinsurer Swiss Re&#39s call for the life insurance industry to tackle the issues associated with increases in obesity by ensuring that the related risks are accurately assessed and rated and that consumers are char-ged an appropriate premium to reflect the risk they present.

Swiss Re&#39s comments follow the release of its report, Too Big To Ignore – The Imp-act of Obesity on Mortality Trends, which put obesity in the developed world at 10-20 per cent for men and 10-25 per cent for women. The firm says in the UK and the US, obesity has increased two to threefold in 20 years. It believes this will be a challenge for underwriters and actuaries.

Lifesearch senior technical adviser Kevin Carr says he believes reinsurers have star-ted tightening their definitions of obesity and those falling into the obese category will find loadings of 50-100 per cent on average added to their policy.

He says prices for all health insurance products which involve underwriting, including income protection and private medical insurance,are affected. Carr says: “I cannot see a time where it will automatically affect everyone&#39s premium although there are warnings on that.”


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