Pot, the president, and life insurance
By Steve Kobrin
The Firm of Steven H. Kobrin, LUTCF
President Obama’s recent remarks about marijuana being less dangerous than alcohol have “stirred the pot” about this controversial topic. To what extent current laws should be changed has once again entered the national debate.
Even though recreational marijuana use is legal only in Colorado and Washington state, it has nonetheless become a very mainstream pastime. Over the years, I have seen life insurance companies underwrite candidates with more leniency. Here is an overview of my experiences thus far:
1. It is possible for pot smokers to receive nonsmoker rates, under certain conditions. They can even qualify for preferred underwriting.
2. Potential applicants must go through full disclosure and be comfortable detailing the frequency, amount and duration of their habit. In addition, they must disclose the prior use of hard drugs, if applicable.
3. If physician notes indicate that they are suffering from anxiety or depression, and that they have been self-medicating for this with marijuana, that may create an obstacle to approval.
4. Candidates can be nervous about disclosing what is still an illegal activity. They must be reminded that strict ethical and legal privacy regulations prevent the broker, the general agent and the carrier from reporting drug use to the authorities.
5. Medical marijuana is typically treated the same as recreational marijuana. Some exceptions may exist.
These lessons are simply guidelines. Pre-qualification would give the potential applicant a firm idea of what pricing could be available.
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