I love to work on my back porch where I have a glimpse of the Rocky Mountains, home to the honored distinction of being the first place in the country to legalize recreational marijuana use. I found myself pondering my place in the life insurance industry.
I am a licensed independent life insurance broker in Denver and I know there are plenty of marijuana users here in my backyard who want life insurance without being treated like a cigarette smoker. My personal views on marijuana use fall in line with a Novemember 2014 Gallop poll that states 51 percent of Americans believe pot should be legal. I believe, from a risk perspective, there is much less risk to insure a pot smoker vs. an alcohol user, but I am not an underwriter, physician, nor do I own a life insurance company. I do know that life insurance carriers are looking for reasons to rate our clients. Whether its via nicotine use or obesity, the insurance industry seems to have their finger on the pulse of society.
I do know that as a broker it is my job to serve my clients to my very best ability and it is my job to know which companies view pot use as less of a risk. And I am honored to share that information with you, my trusted colleagues, on this journey to insure the millions of uninsured.
I decided to do some research online and I first searched the phrase “life insurance marijuana” and what I found is that most are searching for details about life insurance exams and marijuana. It seems the consumer has spoken, just like many polls suggest that the majority of Americans now favor legalized marijuana and want to be able to insure themselves at affordable, non smoker rates.
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have legalized Marijuana for medicinal purposes, so where does that leave the life insurance industry? How can a proposed insured be prescribed Marijuana and still qualify for preferred life insurance rates just like a prescription for a narcotic or some other widely used prescription drug.
If your clients do use marijuana, they are not alone. Marijuana is the third most popular drug in the world after alcohol and nicotine and in the U.S. moret than 10 percent use it daily while close to 40 percent of our population has tried pot at least once, according to a 2013 Gallop poll.
While knowing that much of society thinks marijuana is OK is comforting, the question on the minds of advisors and producers is, clearly, how can we insure our clients who do use marijuana and help with the best possible outcome? There is no question that there is a wide variety of opinion in the underwriting departments of the top U.S. life insurance companies these days. To think that a short decade ago, an underwriter would have declined all marijuana users. However, with a prescription today, if it helps him sleep, we are in business! While most carriers still consider a pot smoker the same as a cigarette smoker, there have been a handful of companies in recent years that have relaxed their perspective.