Alcohol has been part of human culture for all of recorded history. However, it doesn’t fare well in life insurance rating systems. Alcoholism and life insurance availability is a challenge.
The effects of alcohol consumption on physical and mental health come at an economic cost that includes loss of productivity, healthcare costs and costs related to property damage and alcohol-related crime.
Why does this matter when it comes to life insurance?
Insurance companies are in the business of insuring the lives of their clients and providing monetary benefits to their beneficiaries when they die. In order for companies to determine how to rate someone for a premium, they will use a series of questions, risk factors and classifications to determine their risk towards the company.
Alcohol consumption–beyond social drinking–is seen as incredibly risky due to the future implications that may affect the consumer later in life.
During the underwriting process, companies will usually look at three determinants when figuring out your life insurance rate:
- Simple questions regarding your average alcohol consumption
- Your driving record and any history of DUI’s or DWI’s
- Results from your medical examinations
However, due to ever-adapting cultural norms, certain insurance companies are less strict in regards to alcohol consumption than others. This makes shopping around for life insurance policies vital as you could be saving money on premium payments.
Calculating the true burden caused by alcohol on a local, national and a global scale can be challenging. But, researchers have been developing and perfecting techniques to help graph alcohol’s influence on health, social life and economics.
The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism releases a quarterly Alcohol Alert bulletin that disseminates important research findings on a single aspect of alcohol abuse and alcoholism.
In the most recent bulletin, the Alert focused on assesses alcohol’s burden on morbidity and mortality, separate from its role in alcohol use disorders. It breaks down alcohol’s impact on a local, national and global scale.
Research casually links alcohol abuse to more than 200 diseases and injuries, but the majority of alcohol-related deaths can be categorized into three broad groups – alcohol-attributable cancer, liver cirrhosis and injury. These three categories are used to determine the total number of alcohol-related deaths globally.
In 2010, it was estimated by the Comparative Risk Assessment Study that alcohol-attributable cancer, liver cirrhosis and injury caused approximately 1,500,000 deaths worldwide. This number increased from 1990 to 2010, suggesting that alcohol is a significant and increasing risk factor on the global burden of mortality.
The World Health Organization ranks alcohol consumption as the eighth leading risk factor for deaths worldwide and third leading cause of death in the United States.
Excessive alcohol consumption can be attributed to 25 chronic diseases and conditions – such as liver disease, fetal alcohol syndrome, chronic pancreatitis, cardiovascular disease and colon cancer. For this reason, alcoholism and life insurance availability is a challenge.