Insurance Perspectives on Smoking Risks

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17 December 2019
Tom Scales

There are more than a billion smokers in the world today, and a billion people could die of tobacco-related causes this century. Reducing tobacco use and implementing tobacco control is a theme running throughout the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, particularly related to efforts to reduce the burden of noncommunicable disease.

Life and health insurers worldwide are exposed to the mortality and morbidity effects of smoking, and the general practice is to apply tobacco surcharges to premiums. The industry also has a part to play in influencing and enabling people to quit smoking – many insurers raise awareness of smoking risks and provide access to smoking cessation incentives and interventions. Insurers have not radically changed their approach to quantifying and managing smoking risks in decades.

But the context is changing:

(a) Tobacco risks are becoming more complex, with evolving products, regulations and patterns of use; and

(b) New technologies and solutions are emerging to improve risk assessment and smoking cessation.

It is time for a re-think of today’s practices, as there may be missed opportunities to improve health and quality of life for those who are insured and open a door for smokers who were previously uninsured.

This report, based on a global survey and interviews with insurers, reinsurers and other relevant stakeholders such as data analytics firms and digital health startups, reviews current insurer practices relating to smoking risks, identifies challenges, and suggests potential solutions for the industry to consider. The report is for everyone in the industry— in underwriting, pricing, product development and business leadership roles—and we hope it will inspire ideas and action to improve public health and profitability at the same time.

The report is available to all registered users with or without a Celent subscription.

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Insight details

Life & Health Insurance
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Insurance, >>Life/Annuities Insurance
Insight Format
Geographic Focus
North America