The perplexing importance of life insurance for runners

The perplexing importance of life insurance for runners: Runners frequently perform well in the metrics that insurance underwriters look at when determining life insurance premiums, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, and weight to height ratio. One study of 50,000 adults conducted at Iowa State University and other institutions revealed that running as little as four to five miles per week at a pace of 11 or 12 minutes per mile can increase life expectancy by as much as three years when compared to not running.

At least one significant life insurance provider, John Hancock, has launched a programme that offers discounts of up to 15% to subscribers who meet exercise targets as determined by fitness monitors.

The perplexing importance of life insurance for runners
The perplexing importance of life insurance for runners

According to Steven Rigatti, M.D., vice president and chief medical officer at the mutual life insurance company MassMutual, “those who run may be at an advantage when it comes to being eligible for the best life insurance premium rates available from insurers.” Running improves HDL, or the “good” cholesterol, and lowers blood pressure and body weight.

However, that only constitutes a portion of the premium calculation procedure. According to industry experts, your workout routines may be overshadowed by your personal or family medical history. Triathlon is one extreme sport that may attract increased attention from life insurance rate-setters in some circumstances.


According to Kyle Winkfield, managing partner of the financial planning firm O’Dell, Winkfield, Roseman & Shipp in Washington, D.C., “some runners may not check out as healthy as they appear.” The mere fact that you run does not guarantee that you will receive these fantastic rates.

According to the American Heart Association, jogging generally lowers the risk of having high blood pressure by more than 4%; however, Winkfield noted that some runners may still have higher blood pressure or medical histories that involve surgeries or other difficulties. Winkfield, a decathlete in college, remarked, “You could be a really accomplished runner, but you had a heart attack 10 years ago.”

Runners frequently perform well in a category that underwriters also frequently inquire about: their diet. Make sure your nutrition is as sound as your passion for running, advised Winkfield, who is also a writer of the book SuccessOnomics, if you are a terrific runner and you enjoy it.

According to Jamie Hopkins, co-director of the New York Life Centre for Retirement Income, professor at the American College of Financial Services, and an avid runner who has been running every day for the past six and a half years, it’s not running in and of itself that affects life insurance rates.


Hopkins stated that there is a very slim chance that running will result in a reduction in your life insurance costs. “Running by yourself probably won’t result in the cost savings you’re expecting for. However, the benefits of running to your quality of life will affect your premiums.

These advantages are enjoyed by many people, not just runners. According to a Taiwanese study, even 15 minutes a day of vigorous walking can add the same amount of time to life expectancy.

Gretchen Dinucci, chief underwriter of Penn Mutual Life Insurance Company, stated, “We don’t have a specific risk class that says runners will get the best possible rate, but we certainly take it into consideration.” “The fact that you’re physically fit probably won’t matter as much as that family history.”

Most likely, runners will get the most from their sport in the required physicals for some life insurance policies. High scores are awarded to those who engage in at least 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 15 minutes of intense activity, pushups, situps, weightlifting, and similar exercises per week.


“There is usually an opportunity to tell us that,” Dinucci said. “Many companies have a question on the application [asking] if you regularly exercise.” “Tell us, it will only be helpful,”

However, some studies indicate that strenuous exercise, such as running, may actually worsen heart damage rather than prevent it. Additionally, insurance companies are more inclined to carefully review participation in extreme activities. For example, 1 in 76,000 competitors have passed away during or right after USA Triathlon competitions. The most likely reason for many of these deaths, according to study, is pre-existing and undetected cardiac issues.

“We’re going to look at that very carefully and see what they’re doing,” Dinucci said in reference to someone who participates in extreme sports. If you overdo it, there may be a larger chance of injury.

According to a new programme started in South Africa, Australia, and the United Kingdom, John Hancock is now employing fitness trackers to offer savings to owners of life insurance policies. This is similar to how health insurers do it. Industry observers and representatives from other carriers confirm that it is now the only American business to do this.


FitBit-tracked activity is rewarded by Hancock’s Vitality life insurance line, which also awards points for healthy food purchases, attending gym classes, running and other activities. Receive annual discounts of up to 15%, gift cards, and discounts at stores like REI and Whole Foods when you reach frequent flyer-style status levels.

It keeps you encouraged and motivated to lead a healthy lifestyle, according to Hancock spokeswoman Laura Vail Wooster.

Winkfield said that when you get a policy, the life insurance company is essentially hoping that you won’t do something. They sincerely hope you live.

According to Hopkins, some policyholders might be more concerned about their privacy than possible reductions. But, he said, “Runners are unique. We take great pride in our running. He stated that he anticipates other businesses to take Hancock’s lead.


According to a survey by LIMRA, formerly known as the Life Insurance Market Research Association, half of millennials and a third of the general populace are open to sharing the data from their activity trackers with a life insurance firm in exchange for a discount.

Even then, according to Cliff Wilson, board chairman of the industry-funded consumer education charity Life Happens, “Just saying ‘Because I exercise I’ll get a better rate’ may not be true.” We have no control over some things. No one can choose our parents.

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