BMO Insurance shifts the way occasional marijuana smokers are treated for life insurance

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Commentary: Katarina Nikolic, Vice-President and Chief Corporate Underwriter.


Effectively immediately, BMO Insurance will consider occasional marijuana smokers for non-smoker rates.


This change has come about after much research on the effects of infrequent marijuana usage compared to that of cigarette smokers.  Historically anyone who had smoked marijuana within 12 months of submitting an application for life insurance coverage was charged smoker rates.   Smoker rates translate into a substantially higher price or premium which accounts for the additional mortality risk of cigarette smokers in the general population.  This higher price would often hinder the sale or lower the coverage amount for affordability reasons.


BMO Insurance’s new rule for occasional marijuana smokers applies to only new underwritten life insurance applications for coverage amounts up to $2,000,000. We feel that occasional marijuana smokers do not share the same inherent risks as those who are regular cigarette smokers.  We have assessed our mortality and morbidity results for associated death including smoker related impairments linked to marijuana usage and feel comfortable that the risk is not equal.


Statistics show that 18% of Canadians smoke marijuana occasionally for recreation purposes. We will continue to evaluate and stratify each case on its own merits and differentiate those risks that abuse drugs whether marijuana itself, or other substances, from those that smoke marijuana occasionally.  Provided they have no associated underlying risk factors or conditions like mental / nervous history, poly drug use, alcohol abuse, occupational hazards or other medical or lifestyle concerns, we are confident that we can approve these applications at standard, non-smoker rates. 


The insurance industry is seeing more research being performed on the use of medicinal marijuana and its effect on symptoms for chronic conditions and wearing ailments and BMO Insurance is keeping a pulse on that research as it progresses both in Canada and in the United States.


Don't let your family's financial future go up in smoke.  Explore the possibilities to obtain the life and health insurance you need and want on the most favourable basis possible by contacting Four Points Financial Solutions today at 1-866-235-0004.