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What do white chocolate, basketball, and the sewing machine have in common? They were all invented in Massachusetts, along with volleyball, birth control pills, and Dunkin’ Donuts. Massachusetts also has some obscure laws. For example, Happy Hour is strictly illegal, and goatees are illegal unless you pay a license fee to wear one. Massachusetts boasts the nation’s lowest rate of diabetes, second lowest rate of firearm deaths, and third lowest rate of obesity – all of which impact insurance rates in the Commonwealth.
The information on this page was collected to help people who call Massachusetts home make an informed decision about life insurance.
Specifically, you’ll find details about the state’s life insurance regulations below. You’ll also discover which factors affect rates, as well as the leading causes of death and how they contribute to what residents pay for life insurance.
After you’ve taken all of that in, be like the 6,602 people in Massachusetts who used QuoteWizard last year to shop for the perfect policy.
Below are the major factors that affect life insurance rates.
Age - Age is one of the largest factors affecting life insurance rates. The younger you are when you purchase a life 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 Massachusetts is 80.5 years, much higher than the life expectancy at birth for the US overall, which is 78.9 years. So, if you purchased a 30-year term life policy in Massachusetts 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 policy, you would be well under Massachusetts’s life expectancy of 80.5 years old 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 - This might seem like a confusing inclusion, as this page is about life insurance, not auto insurance, but 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 insurance rates. A significant part of these untimely deaths comes from firearm injuries, which account for about 33,000 deaths in the US every year. In Massachusetts, the death rate from injury due to firearms is3.1 per 100,000 deaths, the second-lowest rate in the country, only Hawaii has a lower rate. Nationwide, the average firearm death rate is 10.4 per 100,000.
Gender - Since women live longer than men on average, they pay less for insurance than a similar man would, other things being equal. In Massachusetts, the percentage of the population that’s female is 51.5%, and the percentage that’s male is 48.5%. In the US as a whole, women are 50.8% of the population, and men are 49.2% of the population.
Health History - While most of us have one or two minor health issues, if you have been diagnosed with a serious illness, or if you have a family history of such illnesses, this can have a significant impact your rates.
There are certain conditions, such as heart disease or certain kinds of cancers, which can make your insurance premiums much higher if you have them or a family history of them. In some cases, a pre-existing condition can make you ineligible altogether, which is 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, other things being equal, than those who don’t. This is especially relevant in Massachusetts, where skiing and hunting are common recreational activities.
Marital Status - Research shows that on average, 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 most recent data available from the US Census, in Massachusetts in 2009, the rate of marriage for people over 15 was 29.9 per 1,000 people, the rate of divorce was 14.8 per 1,000 people, and the rate of widowhood was 11 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, other things being equal. The most common job in Massachusetts, proportionally, is a biochemist.
Tobacco Use - Because tobacco users don’t live as long as non-tobacco users (other things being equal) tobacco users pay substantially more for life insurance than an identical non-tobacco user would pay for the same policy. Tobacco use is associated with a number of health complications, such as 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 2014, approximately 16.6% of Massachusetts adults smoked cigarettes – about 876,000 adults.
Travel - If you regularly travel to developing countries, particularly countries on the US State Department’s Warning List, you will pay more for insurance than a traveler who sticks to developed countries.
Value of Policy - It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that one of the largest, if not the largest contributing factor, to a 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. Like tobacco use, obese or seriously overweight people have a lower life expectancy, which means an increased probability of their policy being paid out. Because obesity increases the likelihood of health problems such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers, overweight and obese individuals can expect to pay higher rates than similar individuals who are not obese.
As of 2013, the adult obesity rate in Massachusetts was 23.6%. This makes Massachusetts the third-least obese state. Overall, the average obesity rate in the US 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||2,572||31.7||46th||42.1|
|6||Alzheimer's Disease||1,699||19.4||38th (tie)||23.5|
|*Death Rate calculated as: (deaths from that cause / total population) / 100,000|
|Rank||Company||Direct Premiums Written (in thousands)||Market Share|
|2||Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co.||$1,301,877||7.9%|
|3||Manulife Financial Corp.||$1,016,749||6.1%|
|4||New York Life Insurance Group||$1,003,652||6.1%|
|5||Jackson National Life Group||$966,341||5.8%|
|6||Prudential Financial Inc.||$805,985||4.9%|
|7||TIAA - CREF||$727,346||4.4%|
|8||Voya Financial Inc.||$670,536||4.0%|
|9||Lincoln National Corp.||$637,152||3.8%|
|10||Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Co.||$606,829||3.7%|
Source: A.M. Best (Ratings as of 8/27/2015)
Insurance in Massachusetts is governed by the laws defined by Title 22, Chapter 175 of the General Laws of Massachusetts, as outlined by the General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
This legislation is used to regulate claims and provide certain protections to Massachusetts consumers, for example:
Timely Payment of Claims: In Massachusetts, it is required that insurance companies pay out claims in a timely manner, meaning within 30 days. If unreasonable delay occurs, the state will fine and/or sanction the insurance company and interest will accrue beginning on the 31st day. The interest is then paid to the beneficiary as well.
Guarantee of Benefits: If an insurance company is unable to make payments on death claims, the Massachusetts Life and Health Insurance Guaranty Association will cover up to $300,000 of death benefits, and up to $100,000 in cash reimbursements. This is so that consumers have confidence that their beneficiaries will receive at least some of their death benefit in the case of insolvency of the insurance company. It is important to note that the amount is the same regardless of how much the policy is worth.
These regulations don’t just protect consumers; they also protect insurance companies from fraud. For example, Massachusetts 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 MLHIGA. Their contact info is below:
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