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Life Assurance Loading Reasons and Solutions

life assurance loading

Why does my mortgage protection cost so much?

So those scoundrels at Aviva, Irish Life, Royal London, New Ireland or Zurich Life have increased your premium, eh?

And you’re wondering why?

Let me explain:

There are a variety of reasons why your life assurance premium has been loaded/increased, such as

  • Build – Body Mass Index outside the normal range.
  • Physical or mental health – current issue or previous issue
  • Family history – hereditary illness in your family.

The underwriters believe there’s a greater risk of you claiming on your policy than someone in perfect health.

You see, life insurance providers have access to massive amounts of data on all types of illnesses and how many claims each illness causes.

Don’t take it personally. You’re just a number with a certain set of characteristics that they slot into a certain risk category.

  1. If you’re 45, overweight, and a smoker, the insurer will put you into one category.
  2. If you’re 45, normal weight and a non-smoker, you’ll go into a different category.

On average, the chances of a claim (the risk) will be higher in the first group.

For this simple reason, people in this group will pay a higher premium to make up for this risk.

What does a +100% life assurance loading mean?

Someone in perfect health will pay the normal price or what’s known as the ordinary/standard rate.

If you get a life insurance quote on our website, we’ll show you this ordinary rate.

life insurance quote


But if you have a health condition, the underwriting team at the insurer may decide to load your policy/increase your premiums.

The minimum permanent loading a life insurer will add to your policy is +50%; the maximum it will apply is +300%.

If the insurer believes that your health issues would result in loading of over +300%, they will decline.

In real terms, how do loadings work?

A life insurance loading of +100% means the insurer will add around 100% to the normal price.

So if the normal price is €31.87 and you receive a loading of 100%, you will pay €31.87 + (100% x €31.87) = €63.74

A 150% loading would mean a final premium of around €31.87 + (150% x €31.87) = €79.67.

What is a per mille loading?

Alternatively, the insurers add a per mille loading which is usually temporary but can be very high. The insurer will add a per mille loading for several years. Then the insurer removes the loading, and your premium reduces back to the ordinary rate. A recent example may help clear this up:

Sarah had a GIST (Gastro-Intestinal Stromal Tumour) with a total Gastrectomy four years ago. Sarah’s bank declined her application. However, three of my insurers could quote, but those quotes varied enormously:

  • Insurer A: €7.5 per mille for three years
  • B: €7.5 mille for five years
  • And C: €10 per mille for three years

Sarah needed €300,000 cover, so her additional premium was €7.5 per mille / per thousand euro of cover = €7.5 x 300 = €2,250 extra per year for the next three years. In 3 years, her premium will reduce to the standard rate of €27 per month.

Are life assurance loadings fair?

My grandfather was a smoker and lived until 87.

If he had life insurance, as a smoker, he would have paid higher premiums all his life but, in the end, would have outlived his policy.

On the other hand a friend of his, who didn’t smoke, could have died at 60 paying lower life assurance premiums than my grandfather.

Is that fair?


However, mortality data will prove that my grandfather should have died at a younger age.

Statistically, smokers die at a younger age than non-smokers.

And insurers base everything on data but of course, there are outliers like my Woodbine smoking Grandad Pat!

It might not be fair that you’re classed as a bigger risk just because you have a certain illness, but for now, that’s the way it is.

What is a base monthly premium?

Each life insurance company has a base premium – they cannot offer you a price lower than this.


BOI Life – the base premium of €20 per month

Zurich Life – the base premium of €10 per month.

Let’s say you apply for €50,000 mortgage protection.

BOI Life can only offer it for €20 per month as this is the lowest monthly price they can offer.

However, Zurich Life can give it to you for just €10 – again this is their lowest monthly price.

Let’s imagine, you have some serious health issues so your premium is loaded by 300%.

BOI Life will increase your premium to €80 (base premium x4) while the Zurich premium increases to €40 (base premium x4)

  • That’s €40 a month extra you need to pay for the same cover for the life of your policy.
  • That’s €480 per year extra for the same cover.
  • Over 30 years, that’s €14,400 for the same cover – cray cray to pay.

Can you avoid a life assurance loading?

If an insurer has increased your premium, make sure that the insurer is the most sympathetic insurer for your health issue.

For example, if you have a BMI of 35, one insurer will offer you the normal price, whereas other insurers will load your premium.

As always, shop around or use a specialist broker who knows which insurer is best for your health issue

I hope that’s cleared things up.

Has a life insurance insurance company loaded your policy due to a health issue?

Even worse, have they declined you for life assurance?

You’re not alone, the majority of our customers have quirky health issues which some insurers are only too happy to charge an extra premium for. We’re here to make sure you pay as little as possible for your cover, we might not be able to get you the standard price but we’ll get as close to it as possible.

Why was my loading so high?

I’d hazard a guess that you have applied through your bank? Banks only have access to one insurance provider, and that provider doesn’t like the sound of your health issue. But don’t despair, I’m sure I can find you a more sympathetic insurer.

Life insurance loading – Success Stories

We’ve arranged life insurance with a lower premium increase for:

Here’s a recent case study:

36 year old female in good health
Diagnosed with a blood disorder 13 years ago
No symptoms save occasional bruising if she knocked off something.
Annual check-ups
Platelet Level 54,000 (moderate ITP)

Before she came to me, she’d been postponed by her bank due to her platelet count.

I discussed her case, anonymously with my insurers. All of them could offer cover but some of the loadings were ludicrous!

  • Insurers A and B could offer cover at +150% (€100 per month)
  • Insurer C @ +100% (€80 per month)
  • Insurer D @ +75% (€70 per month)
  • Insurers E & F @ +50% (€60 per month)

This was a 25-year policy so the savings of €40 per month between the insurers amounted to €12,000 over the life of her policy ?

Next Step

If you’d like me to discuss your particular case with my underwriters, anonymously, please fill in this short questionnaire and I’ll be right back.

Nick McGowan | making life insurance easier


Life Insurance
Give us a quick outline of how we can help and we'll be right back to you.

Are you Really Uninsurable (you can't get Life Insurance)?

Life Insurance might seem like a modern invention – like a lightbulb moment that could have happened in the last century given the rise of corporate banking and massive financial companies.

It actually goes back centuries – the first Life Insurance policies were taken out in the early 18th century and the first company to offer Life Insurance was founded in London in 1706.

It was called the Amicable Society for a Perpetual Assurance Office, which is long-winded but pretty brilliant. Who wouldn’t trust an ‘Amicable Society’ with their ‘Perpetual Assurance’?

Given that was London in the 1700s, modern Life Insurance probably comes with a lot less moustache twirling and tricorn hats.

Life Insurance, as a business, has been developing for centuries – so the vast majority of people can usually get some cover. Here’s what you need to know if you think you’re ‘uninsurable’.

Don’t know where to start?

Have a nose through our free life insurance guides

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