Your Age and Life Insurance Cover


I like the MCC people because they have sweet ways of communicating. By MCC, I am referring to the Marketing & Corporate Communications people. They have a special way of using the English language. Give a one-page story to an MCC person to review, you would be lucky to still recognize your piece by the time he’s through with his appraisal.

I once worked with a great MCC guy. I’m sure he’s going to read this post, so he will immediately discover that I’m talking about him. Each time he found the word “death” in our life insurance marketing material, he would request that we change it to something like “pass away” or “exit”.

His reason is real. People don’t like talking about death. Yet, there is no way you can talk about life insurance without mentioning death.

His position was that the client would most likely listen to you when you use sweeter words to describe “death”. The word “death” is scary, he would say.

His style worked.

But “death” is not the only word that is scary to people when it comes to life insurance. Many people, most especially women, don’t like disclosing their real ages as well. Yet, age is required by the underwriter to determine the appropriate premium to charge. This issue of (non)disclosure of true age may sound strange to non-Nigerians (or non-Africans), but that’s the reality in this clime.

It is not uncommon to find people with different Sworn Declaration of Age – each for a specific purpose.

It is not uncommon to find people who are well over 60 displaying Sworn Declaration of Age (or fake birth certificates) showing they’re in their 50s.  This set of people fears retiring from service – fear of the unknown! If you dare point to their gray hair, you would see them at the barber’s shop the next day; dyeing their hair!

Anyway, let’s go back to the issue of life insurance and age.

It is important that you state your true age, or date of birth, when completing your life insurance application form. That’s because the underwriter takes your age into consideration when computing your premium. And since life insurance is a pool of fund, and a contract based on the principle of utmost good faith, you would be cheating other policyholders (“fellow contributors into the pool”) if you lie about your age.

Barring other circumstances such as health issues, the lower the age of a policyholder is, the lower his life insurance premium would be. That’s why the insurance premium for a 50-year old man would be higher than that of a 40-year old man. We all expect our elders to die/pass away before us, so there shouldn’t be any argument about why a younger person should pay a lower premium.

Well, I hear you say that younger people would undertake more dangerous adventures than older people.


That’s another factor that an underwriter takes into consideration, but our main point of focus in this piece is age.

It is advisable that you provide the insurance company with evidence of your age at the point of effecting a life insurance policy. If you do this, your age would be regarded as “age admitted” and there wouldn’t be any need to reconfirm it later.

The underwriter will still provide you with appropriate insurance cover even if your age is not admitted at the inception of the policy. But you will be expected to submit necessary evidence later, or at the point of claim.

If at the time of providing the required evidence, it is discovered that what you had earlier indicated as your age (or date of birth) is different from what is shown on the document/evidence just provided, your underwriter will make necessary adjustment to reflect the actual premium that you should be paying or should have paid. In other words, you could pay more, or less, premium depending on what your evidence of age shows.

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