Alcohol and Life Insurance Underwriting

Consumption of alcohol is common in American society.  For the majority of drinkers of alcoholic beverages, there is little risk to health or longevity.  It is only when alcohol consumption becomes excessive does it have any effect on life insurance underwriting.

There are many studies suggesting that alcoholism is genetic, while other reports suggest social causes.  This is a discussion for another venue.  My intent is merely to relay the effect excessive alcohol consumption has on life insurance underwriting.

According to Prudential Life Insurance, there are several complications arising from excessive alcohol consumption that are significant to life insurance underwriting:

  • Cardiac:  Atrial fibrillation, cardiomyopathy, hypertension
  • Nervous System:  Blackouts, seizures, delirium tremens (DTs), peripheral neuropathy, tremors, brain damage, psychosis, balance and gait impairments.
  • Gastrointestinal:  Fatty liver, hepatitis, cirrhosis, pancreatitis, gastrointestinal bleeding due to gastritis, cancer, diarrhea.
  • Bone marrow:  Abnormal blood counts including anemia.
  • Miscellaneous:  Aspiration, pneumonia, accidents and trauma.

The good news is that if the individual is able to successfully stop drinking alcohol without relapse, after 7 to 10 years, the mortality rate approaches that of the general population.

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