Pubdate: Sat, 04 Nov 2017
Source: New York Post (NY)
Copyright: 2017 N.Y.P. Holdings, Inc.
Author: John Aidan Byrne


Pot smokers in the US can't get off scot free, since many will now
have to take it on the chin and pay a steep marijuana penalty -- to
sign up with life insurers, that is.

Marijuana indulgence, recreational or medicinal, is sharply raising
the price of some premiums, with certain issuers making the same risk
assumptions for pot smokers as cigarette smokers.

The cost of a 20-year, $1 million life insurance policy, for example,
can be as much as five times higher for a pot smoker compared with a
clean-living nonsmoker, according to one broker.

There are no consistent industry mandates, or best practices, as
marijuana comes out of the shadows and is legal in eight US states and
the District of Columbia. "We don't get into that side of things, that
is something for individual company operations," Jack Dolan of the
American Council of Life Insurance told The Post, referring to
insurance companies' marijuana rules.

But one broker has plenty to share about weed. And the numbers are

Mark Maurer, president of LLIS, an independent insurance agency in
Tampa, Fla., addressing a recent conference of the National
Association of Professional Financial Advisors, recommended
practitioners ask clients about pot habits when reviewing their life
insurance. Although some issuers will overlook occasional usage,
others will boost rates if you smoke dope at all, which puts marijuana
users on the same spectrum as cigarette smokers. "Right now, I don't
know of any life insurance companies who will out and out decline an
applicant because they smoke marijuana," Maurer said.

Maurer told of a 36-year-old New Jersey woman who informed him she
vapes marijuana once or twice a week, and then got sticker shock on
her 10-year, $1 million policy quote. One of the issuers offered an
annual premium of $3,772 -- the same rate as on the 10-year plan for
tobacco users. Another issuer asked only $677, the rate for which it
would hit up a non-tobacco user.

Maurer says the New Jersey client's transparency paid off because she
could stay clear of a costly contract, and avoid trouble later if the
insurer discovered her usage through medical or other records.