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Alaska makes up about a fifth of the total area of the US and has more coastline than all of the lower 48 put together. Its reputation for great fishing, hunting, and beautiful wildlife makes it one of the most popular cruise destinations on Earth. However, with the highest rate of firearm deaths and one of the highest smoking rates in the country, Alaskans may face higher average life insurance premiums. So finding the right insurance is crucial.
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|Rank||Company||Direct Premiums Written (in thousands)||Market Share|
|1||Sammons Enterprises Group||$474,133||64.5%|
|2||New York Life Insurance Group||$53,283||7.3%|
|3||Tiptree Financial Group||$17,483||2.4%|
|4||American International Group||$17,326||2.4%|
|5||Prudential Financial Inc.||$16,321||2.2%|
|7||Lincoln National Corp.||$10,546||1.4%|
|8||John Hancock Life Insurance Co.||$8,355||1.1%|
|9||Zurich Insurance Group||$5,892||0.8%|
Source: A.M. Best (Ratings as of 8/28/2015)
Age - Age is one of the largest factors affecting life insurance rates. The younger you are when you purchase a policy, the less likely it is that it will pay out, so the lower your rates will be, other things being equal.
Life expectancy at birth in Alaska is 76.7 years, slightly lower than life expectancy at birth for the US overall, which is 78.9 years. So, if you purchased a 30-year term life policy in Alaska at age 55, you would be more likely than not to pass away before 85 years of age, the end of the term.
On the other hand, if you were 35 years old and purchased a 30-year term life insurance policy, you would be well under Alaska’s life expectancy of 76.7 years when the policy term ended. You’d be a much lower risk to insure and would therefore pay much lower rates than the person in the former example.
Driving Record - Car accidents are incredibly common; they kill more than 30,000 people per year. If someone has a driving record littered with moving violations, they are at an increased risk of a premature demise. The result is higher rates.
Firearm Deaths - Places that have higher rates of accidental or premature death generally have higher rates. A significant part of these untimely deaths comes from firearm injuries. These account for about 33,000 deaths in the US every year. In Alaska, the death rate from injury due to firearms is 19.8 per 100,000 deaths, the highest in the country. It's almost twice the national average firearm death rate, which is 10.4 per 100,000.
Gender - Women live longer than men on average. So they pay less for insurance than a similar man would, other things being equal. In Alaska, the percentage of the population that’s male is 52.4%. The percentage that’s female is 47.6%. In the US as a whole, women are 50.8% of the population, and men are 49.2% of the population.
Health History - Most of us have one or two minor health issues. But if you have a serious illness or a family history of such illnesses, this can affect your rates.
There are conditions like heart disease or cancer which can make your insurance premiums much higher. In some cases, a pre-existing condition can make you ineligible altogether. That's why it’s important to get life insurance before something serious happens.
Lifestyle & Hobbies - People who engage in adventure sports or who have potentially dangerous hobbies will pay more for insurance. This is especially relevant in Alaska, where skiing and hunting are common recreational activities.
Marital Status - Married people live longer and are healthier than similar single people. So, if you’re married, you can get a modest discount on life insurance. According to the US Census, in Alaska in 2009, the rate of marriage for people over 15 was 50.7 per 1,000 people. The rate of divorce was 28.7 per 1,000 people. And the rate of widowhood was 10.3 per 1,000 people.
Occupation - People with hazardous jobs like logging and fishing will pay more for insurance than someone with a less dangerous, mundane office job. The most common job in Alaska, proportionately, is butcher.
Tobacco Use - Tobacco users don’t live as long as non-tobacco users. So tobacco users pay much more for life insurance than an identical non-tobacco user. Tobacco use is associated with a number of health complications like heart disease, stroke, and COPD. Any of which may cause higher rates and an earlier death.
As of 2013, the national average rate of smoking was 19%. To compare to the most recent data available, in 2013, approximately 22.6% of Alaska adults smoked cigarettes – about 124,000 adults.
Travel - Do you regularly travel to developing countries, particularly countries on the US State Department’s Warning List? If so, you'll pay more for insurance than a traveler who sticks to developed countries.
Value of Policy - The largest contributing factor to an insurance policy’s premiums is the value of the policy. As with anything, you get what you pay for. The more protection that you purchase, the more you pay.
Weight - Obesity has surpassed smoking to become America’s largest public health cost and problem. Obese or seriously overweight people have a lower life expectancy. This means an increased probability of their policy being paid out.
Obesity increases the likelihood of health problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers. So overweight and obese individuals can expect to pay higher rates.
As of 2013, the adult obesity rate in Alaska was 28.4 %. This makes Alaska the #34 most obese state. Alaska’s obesity rate is a bit lower than the average obesity rate in the US, which is 34.9%.
While each of these factors plays a big role in the cost of your policy, some aspects of life insurance are entirely individual. Insurance companies calculate your rates based on your own health, habits, and lifestyle. That’s why shopping around and comparing quotes is so important–to make sure you’re getting the best rate possible.
|Rank||Cause of Death||Total Deaths||Death Rate||State Rank||US Death Rate*|
|3||Lower Respiratory Disease||197||37.9||39th||42.1|
|*Death Rate calculated as: (deaths from that cause / total population) / 100,000|
Insurance in Alaska is governed by the laws defined under Title 21 of the Alaska Statutes, as outlined by the Alaska Department of Insurance.
The statute contains 97 sections used to regulate claims and provide certain protections to Alaska consumers, for example:
Free Look Period: Free look is a period of time in which the consumer can test out their policy after buying it. In most states, the length of time of a free look period is 30 days, but in Alaska, it’s only 10 days. During this period of time, consumers gain better understanding of their policy and have the option to return it for a full refund, with no added fees.
Grace Period: Any life insurance policyholder in Alaska is entitled to a 30-day “grace period” to make up a missed payment without punishment or file a death claim after the missed payment. This is to prohibit the insurance company from withholding a claim or cancelling a policy because of a slightly late payment. If the insured individual passes away during the grace period, the insurance company is responsible for paying the claim.
These regulations don’t just protect consumers; they also protect insurance companies from fraud. For example, Alaska insurers may challenge any information in your insurance application for up to two years from the policy’s effective date. If they find any evidence of fraud, they can terminate your policy immediately.
This organization assists the customers of any insurance company that is found to be insolvent. If you have concerns about the financial well-being of your carrier, you should contact the ALDIGA. Their contact info is below:
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