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Life Insurance - pounds off for pounds lost.

By: Michael Challiner

It is too easy to view the Americans as a nation of the overweight, but ignore the fact that the citizens of the UK are heading in the same direction. We don’t seem to do too well in sport these days, but look set to be world beaters for weight gain from generation to generation. Statistics issued by a government department always give cause for doubt, but when you take a stroll down your local High Street just look around. It is possible to see indications of the justification for claims that in 18 years time obesity will be a very major problem.

This spells future problems for the health service, as obesity is regarded as excess weight reaching the point where health problems can be the expected outcome. Even today the cost of lost working hours, disability pay and other problems associated with illness due to excess weight is said to be in excess of £20 billion. Take that 18 year leap coupled with the projected statistic that by then 1/3rd of girls and 1/4 of boys will be clinically obese, and you get a picture of a grossly unfit nation which will struggle to meet the health demands of its inhabitants.

It is generally accepted that the ‘chubbier’ members of society have to visit their medical practitioner more often than do those with a lower body mass index (BMI), and that there are costs associated with these visits. The NHS claims that obesity problems use around £15 billion of their annual budget - a figure which can be expected to rise steadily for the foreseeable future.

You can be absolutely sure that the providers of life insurance are only too well aware of these facts, impinging as they do on the entire purpose of the services which they provide. In fact this increased awareness is becoming manifest in their approach to overweight clients. They may not even take your word for it that although you struggled to get through their office doorway, you really do only weigh 12 1/2 stone. Any sign of a higher BMI is likely to cause a demand for a medical check-up before insurance can be arranged; the results of this check may lead to refusal of cover or a seriously raised increase in premiums.

You should not be too surprised if a set of scales is in evidence in the insurer’s offices. They do not stay in business by taking unnecessary risks, and an immediate weight check defines your excess weight risk factor beyond dispute. They also have to guard against the well known effects of weight loss on memory; typically this is often very evident in the ‘forgotten’ 2 week binge cruise taken since the last weight check which you are now submitting as accurate!

So you need to remember that the more the lb’s weight, the more the £’s on your insurance premium. Critical illness cover may become too expensive to contemplate, or you may well avoid the contemplation by being refused insurance outright. The trouble is that if you are overweight you are more likely to face medical problems and more likely to need insurance, but more likely to be refused,

There is even a mindset now spreading in the NHS which scandalously suggests that obese patients should not receive the same treatment as anyone else i.e. replacement hip or similar surgery should be refused, despite the fact that there can be no ethical basis for denying them this treatment. Strange indeed that some overweight patients, for whom slimming does not work, find that their GPs will provide little in the way of treatment and seem to align themselves with the approach of 50% of hospital doctors. What is it about weight which induces this negative thinking - very often it is not the fault of the patient and is outside their control?

What about the cause? If it is simply eating too much or the wrong type of food (or worse still - both combined) the solution is in your own hands. You should join a slimming club to educate you (and your stomach) in the correct foods and the most suitable quantities of same. You will meet like minded folk who face the same problem and will be able to provide support for each other. The gentle exercise which is often provided will help with fitness as well as weight loss.

If you have tried this route with no success go back and talk to your GP - tell him what you have tried and how it went. Talk about possible surgical solutions to your problem if you are prepared to contemplate this extreme route - many failed slimmers have found it to be a remarkably successful alternative.

Win or lose, you should start looking for a good insurance broker - online is the easy way, although it does rather lack any beneficial exercise - and get your life insurance arranged. Ensure that your policy allows for reductions in premium for reductions in weight, and then imagine your pleasure when you can revisit your broker to request just such a cost reduction!

Good luck with losing those pounds and saving those £’s!

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