Archive for September, 2007

Sex and Longevity?

Posted by Steven

Recently I mentioned to a friend that I was blogging life insurance. His retort “if it ain’t sex, nobody’s reading it”. So I thought I would google “Sex and Longevity” and found this from Mark Stibich, Ph.D., Your Guide to Longevity. Having read it, I challenge you to come up with the question that we could use in assessing your life insurance rates?

While Taoism and other philosophies teach that preserving sexual energies extends life, the opposite just might be true. Sex releases several hormones in the body, increases intimacy and bonding, and works against loneliness and depression. Staying sexually active has physical, stress relieving, social and mental benefits. According to the RealAge books, frequent orgasms (about 100 per year) can increase life expectancy by 3-8 years, however, keep in mind that the science on this is somewhat spotty. Studies show that men with a high frequency of orgasms have a 50 percent reduction in mortality risk.
The Value of Touch:
Touch is necessary for mammals to thrive. Animals and babies deprived of physical touch are sickly and do not develop normally. How touch impacts health is a mystery, but it likely works on several levels:
• Cements relationships Touching helps create bonds. These bonds provide vital social support and other benefits known to be linked to life expectancy.
• Increases self-esteem: Self-esteem is largely our perception of worth. Frequent touching is a way to communicate worth to one another.
• Provides physical stimulus: It is possible that touch releases hormones and other substances much like relaxation and meditation.
Sex, Touch and Older Adults:
There is very little data concerning the sexual habits of older adults. Sales of Viagra and other medications indicate that sexual activity is definitely of interest to older adults. To maintain an active sex life as you age follow the following advice:
• Be open and honest with your partner about needs, interests, and desires
• Seek help for any problems that might arise
• Keep exercising to maintain your libido
• Keep a healthy weight and blood pressure

Sources: Sex and death: are they related?; Davey Smith G, Frankel S, Yarnell J; BMJ. 1997 Dec 20-27;315(7123):1641-4.

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Life or death – what’s in a name?

Posted by Ed

“Shouldn’t life insurance be called ‘death insurance?”, a consumer asked me recently. 

You could call it that.  But that would be like calling car insurance ‘accident insurance’… which we don’t. 

Just as ‘car insurance’ insures your car against the possibility of an accident… ‘life insurance‘ insures your life against an untimely death.  So I’d say ‘life insurance‘ is the appropriate product name.


Actually, if you think about it, what you are buying with life insurance is ‘time’.  Most people intend providing for their old age in one way or another through retirement funds and investments.  But the problem you have preparing for your death (as opposed to retirement) is that you simply don’t know when it will occur – it could happen today… or maybe in 70 years or anywhere in between.


Life insurance buys you the assurance that if you die today, money you would normally have saved over a lifetime, will be available for your family today.  

So…. “Lifetime insurance” maybe?  Or how about “Time Life”?




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The caffine death calculator!!

Posted by Ed

Yep, now you can calculate how much coffee or how much of your favourate energy drink it will take to kill you.  Pretty accurate too – rounding to two decimal places. 

See this ‘death by caffine‘ website. I checked to see how much ‘Diet Vanilla Coke’ it would take to knock me off and the answer is… 250.78 cans. 

And thankfully I can enjoy 146.55 espresso coffees and live to tell the tale.  At 146.56 cups, I’m gone. 


I wonder why it is that life insurers dont ask “how much caffine do you ingest?” as one of the health and lifestyle questions on the application form for life insurance?





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Watching the Rugby World Cup can kill you

Posted by Steven

The upcoming Rugby World Cup isn’t all fun and games. For some people it will be a matter of life and death, literally.

Did your heart “flutter” as Conrad Smith and Luke Mc Alistair were announced as the centre pairing for the opening All Blacks game?  Cardiac arrests, drunk-driving, binge boozing, smoking, gorging on fatty snack foods with no exercise… are some of the things that’ll greatly increase during the RWC.

According to a study in the British Medical Journal, the number of heart attacks in Britain rose by 25 per cent when England lost to Argentina in a penalty shootout in 1998. Call it a case of Beckhamitis. The British needn’t worry this time around though… even their most ardent fan is not expecting much from the English team.

A Swiss study found a 60% increase in cardiac arrests among the general adult Swiss population during the broadcast of the 2002 FIFA World Cup.  Psychological stress and anger are documented triggers for heart attacks.

It gets worse.  Whilst a loss is bad for the heart, a victory might also do you in. A study in Wales showed injuries caused by violent assault increased when the home team won. Researchers blame it on increased alcohol consumption, which turns people into idiots. As much as we’d like to think of this as only a Welsh phenomenon, evidence suggests Kiwi’s are not immune.

With all of these health risks, who would possibly want to watch the RWC? On second thoughts, if we’re going to die it might as well be in front of the telly, at some awful hour of the morning, watching grown men tackle each other in pursuit of the oval ball.  What a noble way to go… as long as your life insurance premiums are up to date!

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Life expectancy

Posted by Steven


Now you can estimate how long you’re likely to live using this “life expectancy calculator

More user-friendly than a crystal ball… but probably less accurate!!!

Our considered recommendation: 

Do not use this calculator to plan your future or to work out if you need life insurance.

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Should life insurers be entitled to demand sensitive files from doctors?

Posted by Ed

The Sunday Star Times ran an article today entitled “Insurers demand sensitive files from doctors”.  So did Yahoo/Xtra News.

Interesting question highlighted by these articles… is it appropriate for an insurer to seek all your medical records from your doctor?


When you apply for life insurance you’ll answer several questions on the application form about your health, your lifestyle, occupation and pastimes.  The reason for this is that insurers have to assess what risk they face if they cover your life.  The stakes are usually high – life cover for hundreds of thousands of dollars, sometimes millions.

If you indicate you have health issues, then the insurer may need more information – and the most reliable source of this information is the medical file held by your doctor. It is therefore entirely appropriate for the insurer to ask for the medical records relating to the medical condition you highlighted. Based on these records, the insurer can fairly assess the risk and offer you a policy at an appropriate price.

However, asking for all your medical records, including records that don’t pertain to the medical condition you highlighted, is in my view an invasion of privacy – and not justified.  And asking for a “5-year history of patient’s medical records” as one insurer indicated is also not on.

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Life Insurance Awareness Month

Posted by Ed

August was Life Insurance Awareness month in the US.  This from YouTube…

It’s true; they dedicate an entire month to making people aware of the importance of life insurance.  Apparently there are more than 60 million Americans that need life insurance, but don’t have any.  That’s around 1 in 5 Americans.  Unfortunately the ratio is no better in NZ.

How about a Life insurance awareness month in NZ?

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