If you ask most people, they probably do not want to know when their life is going to end. One insurance company really wants to know the answer to that question, and is actively trying to find out. It was recently announced that GWG Life, a company that buys unwanted life insurance policies, will begin to use epigenetics to attempt a scientific guess as to when a life will come to its end.
The company has instilled a requirement for those selling their policy, a saliva sample. Said sample, in theory, determines when certain genes are switched on or off, effectively being able to determine life expectancy. According to Business Insider, GWG is one of many companies turning to DNA as a means of determining someone’s aging pattern. Those with life insurance policies know the extensive health and lifestyle details insurance companies need in order to provide an adequate policy and premium. This saliva swab adds another component to the lengthy underwriting process if it ends up going mainstream.
Age is a huge factor life insurance companies consider when choosing a premium price for a client. With the ability to see the aging process through the testing, companies now have the capability of estimating with science to back them.
The problem with the new procedure is its success and reliability. Though the test is scientific, looking at the DNA does not necessarily guarantee the results are accurate since GWG, and other companies who adopt their methods, will have to operate somewhat of a guessing game in predicting the life cycle of the policies they are purchasing. More often than not, companies such as GWG make poor decisions based on expected paydays from the policies they purchase from individuals. People ended up living a lot longer than the company projected, thus ruining the budget and financial scenarios.
The new method in assisting life insurance companies during the underwriting still possesses flaws, typical for a pilot idea. Many have and will continue to express a lack of interest in exploring their life-cycle, which poses a complication for companies such as GWG. Continuing to experiment with the testing will likely continue, and has the potential to alter the life insurance game forever.