Marijuana use of growing concern to life insurers

Marijuana use of growing concern to life insurers 

Marijuana Use concerns Life Insurers

Marijuana Use concerns Life Insurers

The reason: potentially severe medical problems that may result from increasing use of the once-illegal drug. Hendricks noted that four states now approve of recreational use of marijuana; and 23 states permit medicinal marijuana.

While observing an increase in medical effects associated with marijuana use, life insurers remain divided about how to classify policy applicants who test positive for the drug and/or admit to being users on follow-up medical questionnaires. That's because little if any research exists connecting marijuana use to higher mortality rates.

"There is no credible study I know of in the last 70 to 80 years that show [such a correlation]," said Lincoln Financial's Carreira.

All that such tests can do is show the presence of THC in blood. Underwriters cannot reliably use the test to classify policy applicants as, say, occasional or regular users because they metabolize THC at different rates.

"We really don't have the science yet to actively quantify THC in a person's system, so classifying users is nearly impossible," said Hendricks. "All that we can do is document exposure."

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