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Living to be 100...

A while ago the Sydney Morning Herald reported that a team of scientists at Boston University claimed to be able to predict - with 77 per cent accuracy - which of us will live to 100.

The scientists did this by comparing the DNA of more than 1,000 centurions with that of the general population, finding a “genetic signature” that was linked to "exceptional longevity".

What would happen if at some stage people are able to be “longevity tested”? What would happen if you knew that, failing an accident or a natural disaster, you’re likely to live to be 100?

And in particular, how would it affect your application for life insurance???

Standard life insurance premiums are based on the expectation that your lifespan will be that of the average person… in New Zealand that's 82.2years if you’re female and 78.0years if you’re male. When you apply for life insurance, the insurer will ask you a range of questions to assess if you’re likely to die earlier than an “average” person of your age and gender. If you are, you’ll be charged higher (loaded) premiums.

But Life Insurance companies typically don’t have processes to check if you’re likely to live longer than average… with a view to reducing your premiums.

So if you turned up at an insurance company with a favourable DNA test, you’d still pay the ‘standard’ rate.

Not fair, is it?

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