Route Guide    Partners    Forum    Photos    What's New    Journal        
Sign Up  |   Log In:Login with Facebook
REI Community
Life Insurance and Climbing
View Latest Posts in This Forum or All Forums
Page 1 of 1.  
Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
 
Nov 25, 2015
I put this in the CO thread because I gotta believe there are plenty of people in this state that have explored getting life insurance while at the same time being climbers.

I'm not looking for insurance because I climb, just for a range of other reasons people typically get term life insurance.

Anyways, has anyone had companies jack up the rates incredibly high if you mention that you climb? I was quoted in the high $20s to low $30s per month from a few companies for a $500k policy. Then one asked if I climbed. I said as a hobby and that triggered them to open another questionnaire.

My first inclination that they had no clue how wide the range of "rock climbers" is, was when they asked how I would rate my average climb, A1-A5.

Trying to explain to an insurance rep that I don't aid climb was painful and useless.

He sent me rates this morning that are more than 500% higher! Needless to say I told him no.

Anyone else experienced something similar?
DamnitHiggins
From Denver
Joined May 25, 2012
23 points
Nov 25, 2015
Good luck with purchasing life insurance. I was able to purchase a $500K, 30 year term policy last year for the same reasons most adults do. I want to provide financial protection for my family. I was truthful about my climbing and they did not increase their rates for me. I've heard stories where only rock climbers can still get good rates. If you ice, alpine, or high altitude climb, there is no way to afford it.

I will agree with you when the underwriter was asking me follow up questions regarding climbing, they have no clue about the sport. They are just basing their decisions off of what some actuary concluded about risks and climbing. Hopefully the insurance industry will become more informed about the broad spectrum of climbing and the type of risks associated with it and price their insurance accordingly.
Brendan Magee
From Parker, CO
Joined Jun 14, 2013
15 points
Administrator
Nov 25, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Before the whip (photo by Jay Knower)
Even the folks who offer life insurance through the AAC are woefully uninformed about climbing. The conversation sounded something like this:

Underwriter: How many climbs do you do in a year?
Me: What constitutes a climb?

Underwriter: Uhhhh...
Me: If it's everytime I leave the ground then it's 100's. But that's not an accurate picture of the risk I take. I might tie in twenty times for a day of top-roping at my local crag - does that count as 20 climbs? I also just did the Cathedral Traverse in the Tetons, how many climbs does that count as? One?

Underwriter: They all count.
Me: Okay then it's hundreds.

Underwriter: Do you ever climb without a rope?
Me: Yes, but only on short routes or routes well within my ability, where either consequences and/or likelihood of a fall are infinitesimal.

Underwriter: So you climb without a rope?
Me: Yes.

Underwriter: Do you ice climb?
Me: Yes, but again, to illustrate a point, if I am top-roping a 40ft. frozen waterfall I am taking more risk on the way to the route than I am taking on the route - even if I climb it 20 times that day.

Underwriter: So you ice climb?
Me: Yes.

Underwriter: Have you been to over 13,000 feet in the last year?
Me: Yes, in the Tetons. But again, I can drive to over 14,000 feet in Colorado, so why is some arbitrary number the cutoff?

Underwriter: Okay, I have what I need, I'll get back to you in a few days.


I never heard back from them. You'd think the insurance company that works with the AAC would be a little more knowledgeable, but they're not.
James M Schroeder
From Sauk County, WI
Joined May 7, 2002
3,199 points
Nov 25, 2015
James M Schroeder wrote:
Even the folks who offer life insurance through the AAC are woefully uninformed about climbing. The conversation sounded something like this: Underwriter: How many climbs do you do in a year? Me: What constitutes a climb? Underwriter: Uhhhh... Me: If it's everytime I leave the ground then it's 100's. But that's not an accurate picture of the risk I take. I might tie in twenty times for a day of top-roping at my local crag - does that count as 20 climbs? I also just did the Cathedral Traverse in the Tetons, how many climbs does that count as? One? Underwriter: They all count. Me: Okay then it's hundreds. Underwriter: Do you ever climb without a rope? Me: Yes, but only on short routes or routes well within my ability, where either consequences and/or likelihood of a fall are infinitesimal. Underwriter: So you climb without a rope? Me: Yes. Underwriter: Do you ice climb? Me: Yes, but again, to illustrate a point, if I am top-roping a 40ft. frozen waterfall I am taking more risk on the way to the route than I am taking on the route - even if I climb it 20 times that day. Underwriter: So you ice climb? Me: Yes. Underwriter: Have you been to over 13,000 feet in the last year? Me: Yes, in the Tetons. But again, I can drive to over 14,000 feet in Colorado, so why is some arbitrary number the cutoff? Underwriter: Okay, I have what I need, I'll get back to you in a few days. I never heard back from them. You'd think the insurance company that works with the AAC would be a little more knowledgeable, but they're not.


I've come to the conclusion they just want yes or no answers so they can check off a box or not. Then they just plug it into their formula and a rate is determined. There is no professional judgement or decision making at all.

Also, the insurance company through the AAC was awful. I tried contacting them several times, but no responses at all. Ended up somewhere else.
Brendan Magee
From Parker, CO
Joined Jun 14, 2013
15 points
Nov 25, 2015
Ha I got the elevation question too. Do you climb to elevation? WTF does that even mean?

I'd love to hear if someone on these forums has worked in the insurance world and has insight.

I might just tell them I mountain hike, just like all the news stories call it.
DamnitHiggins
From Denver
Joined May 25, 2012
23 points
Nov 25, 2015
Brendan Magee wrote:
I've come to the conclusion they just want yes or no answers so they can check off a box or not. Then they just plug it into their formula and a rate is determined. There is no professional judgement or decision making at all. Also, the insurance company through the AAC was awful. I tried contacting them several times, but no responses at all. Ended up somewhere else.


I worked in the insurance industry. They can't exercise professional judgement. You aren't treated as an individual when you apply for life insurance. You fit in to a class of people relative to risk which includes health and lifestyle (climbing).
Gene S
Joined Sep 17, 2015
0 points
Nov 25, 2015
Gene S wrote:
I worked in the insurance industry. They can't exercise professional judgement. You aren't treated as an individual when you apply for life insurance. You fit in to a class of people relative to risk which includes health and lifestyle (climbing).


I realize it's not practical for every person to receive an individualized quote based on their behavior. I think the issue is they don't understand the sport and ask questions that don't make sense. They asked the OP what the average climb he does and listed aid climbing grades. The actuaries and underwriters should learn more about the sport so they can provide better service to the increasing class of climbers who want life insurance.
Brendan Magee
From Parker, CO
Joined Jun 14, 2013
15 points
Nov 25, 2015
Lie through your teeth, then don't die for 2 years. After the first two years of coverage, the contesability period is up and the insurance company cannot deny your claim. Derrick W
From Salt Lake City, UT
Joined Jun 3, 2012
115 points
Nov 25, 2015
Brendan Magee wrote:
I realize it's not practical for every person to receive an individualized quote based on their behavior. I think the issue is they don't understand the sport and ask questions that don't make sense. They asked the OP what the average climb he does and listed aid climbing grades. The actuaries and underwriters should learn more about the sport so they can provide better service to the increasing class of climbers who want life insurance.


I think the point is they don't need to understand rock climbing. Insurance companies don't want risk. They want really healthy people who have a low probability of death. Things like driving, flying, and other common activities are already factored in to their pricing because pretty much everybody participates in those activities. Things like climbing are low participation activities and insurance companies would rather not have you on their books. I was asked some pretty dumb questions when I applied, but the point was not for them to better understand climbing, but to try to eliminate me based on max elevation, max YDS, and whether I use gear or not.
Gene S
Joined Sep 17, 2015
0 points
Nov 25, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: J-Tree
I had a decent experience with West Coast Insurance. I was probably 45 when I got my $500k 20 year term policy which runs me about $800/year. My high cholesterol hurt me more than climbing. They broke climbing down into broad categories, gym, rock, mountaineering or something along those lines and wanted to know how many days/year for each. I was covered for death by climbing even in the first two years. I was motivated to get insurance since I had a young daughter (not so young anymore). David Hous
From Boulder, Colorado
Joined Nov 18, 2001
191 points
Nov 25, 2015
David Houston wrote:
I had a decent experience with West Coast Insurance. I was probably 45 when I got my $500k 20 year term policy which runs me about $800/year. My high cholesterol hurt me more than climbing. They broke climbing down into broad categories, gym, rock, mountaineering or something along those lines and wanted to know how many days/year for each. I was covered for death by climbing even in the first two years. I was motivated to get insurance since I had a young daughter (not so young anymore).


Good to hear. Although for me I think $800/year sounds high. The $1,800/year I got was crazy! I'm 28 and healthy, no other reason beside the climbing to jack up that much. Like I said $30/mnth $360/year was about average for what I was being quoted by other companies.

I think it'll be fine just going with one of the other companies. I just thought it was crazy how limited the conversation about our hobby was with these guys.
DamnitHiggins
From Denver
Joined May 25, 2012
23 points
Nov 25, 2015
Rock Climbing Photo: Dolomites
I posted some links on this subject a few months ago. If you search me or the theme they should come up. If I have a sec I will dig them up.

In essence, I found one good source: www.hinermangroup.com/blog

But...the key is to just keep applying. It is clearly the relationship between the agent and the underwriter that matters (i.e. a chain is not likely to get you a good policy - an individual seems to be). Eventually, after multiple multi-thousand dollar quotes, I found someone who was reasonable ~$120 month for $1,000,000.

There was no logical theme to the process except not accepting a poor offer. When agents would attempt to guilt-trip me for applying to different agents, I would simply respond, "What other multi thousand dollar investment do you not seek out multiple offers for?"

Good luck!
Drew_n
From Park City, UT
Joined Jul 23, 2010
24 points
Nov 25, 2015
Drew_n wrote:
I posted some links on this subject a few months ago. If you search me or the theme they should come up. If I have a sec I will dig them up. In essence, I found one good source: www.hinermangroup.com/blog But...the key is to just keep applying. It is clearly the relationship between the agent and the underwriter that matters (i.e. a chain is not likely to get you a good policy - an individual seems to be). Eventually, after multiple multi-thousand dollar quotes, I found someone who was reasonable ~$120 month for $1,000,000. There was no logical theme to the process except not accepting a poor offer. When agents would attempt to guilt-trip me for applying to different agents, I would simply respond, "What other multi thousand dollar investment do you not seek out multiple offers for?" Good luck!


That is a pretty good deal. I am 45 and was quoted $87 per month for $250,000. I ended up going with $200,000 term insurance through my employer that didn't require any underwriting for $30 per month.
Gene S
Joined Sep 17, 2015
0 points
Dec 2, 2015
Group life is your best bet if available from your employer. It doesn't matter what you do then. Individual term and climbing results in high rates. I applied with several companies and quickly realized it was twice as expensive as the group plan available through my work. Don't lie on your application because the likelihood of being denied is high and your beneficiaries will be SOL. Dan Mathews
Joined Apr 23, 2012
27 points


Follow replies to this topic? Notify me at the top of web site.
1

Email me.
Page 1 of 1.