Australian insurance companies won the right in court to charge higher premiums to smokers in 2015, and immediately took to including vapers in the same bracket.
Over the intervening years, the Cochrane Review, Public Health England and the Royal College of Physicians published reports detailing how vaping carried a fraction of the risk of smoking. Millions of smokers began switching over, reducing their exposure to tobacco-related diseases.
It mattered little.
By 2017, the Daily Mirror was detailing that the insurance industry saw no difference between people smoking cigarettes or vaping [link].
Vapers were being warned that insurance companies felt that all forms of nicotine consumption carried equal risk and therefore had to declare their habit when taking out a policy or risk finding it cancelled upon a claim.
"From a customer perspective,” said ActiveQuote’s Phil Nash, “there is clearly a lack of awareness that vaping increases the cost of premiums. There is the likelihood that customers will not only be paying significantly inflated premiums at outset, but that if they do stop smoking (normally for a 12-month period) then they could benefit from much lower non-smoker premiums."
Things changed last year with Future Proof’s David Mead announcing that vapers could obtain substantially cheaper policies through his company. “Future Proof Insurance have teamed up with the UK's Vaping Industry Association to bring cheaper than smokers’ rates to vapers,” he said. “Future Proof have access to the UK’s only Insurer who have created discounted Life Insurance rates for people who have swapped from cigarettes to vaping,” he added. “The lower premiums reflect the health benefits of not smoking cigarettes. Public Health England estimates vaping is 95 per cent less harmful than regular cigarettes.”
Thanks to the current level of hysteria in the United States, insurance companies have lined up to reject the evidence of the benefits offered by a switch to vaping.
Aviva and Zurich have reversed their policy on vaping this week and now vapers will have to pay the same ‘double’ rates as tobacco smokers.
Nick McGowan, a Lion.ie mortgage broker, said: “The reinsurers changed their stance due to the lack of long-term data. They’ve taken a cautious approach.”
LA Brokers’ John Geraghty added: “Most life insurers ask applicants have they smoked cigarettes, cigars or pipe tobacco or used nicotine replacement products or e-cigarettes in the past 12 months. If the answer is yes, their premiums are loaded.”
This discrimination is the result of wilful ignorance of statements made by Public Health England, the Department of Health, the NHS and Cancer Research UK.
- Life Insurance for Vapers, POTV – [link]