A managing general agency (MGA) in Minneapolis says it has started using information about life insurance applicants’ epigenetic markers in life expectancy forecasts.
The MGA, YouSurance, says it will use epigenetic biomarkers when assessing applicants’ overall health, gauging how quickly the applicants are aging, and predicting how likely the applicants are to die.
YouSurance, a unit of GWG Holdings Inc., offers life insurance quotes from multiple carriers to consumers through the web.
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When YouSurance is underwriting applicants, it asks the applicants to mail in saliva samples. It then has a lab screen the genes in the cells in the saliva sample, to look at the pattern of “methylation” in the genes’ DNA.
Consumers who apply for life insurance through the YouSurance site will get a longevity report that gives them an estimate of their “epigenetic age,” or age based on their DNA methylation, the company says.
The company says it believes it’s the first to give life insurance applicants information about their epigenetic age.
Why does YouSurance look at epigenetic information?
Genes are like the cells’ software. DNA is the system that genes use to store their instructions.