Insure.com: Life Insurance Price War Heats Up, Many Premiums Drop to All-Time Lows
Quotesmith.com, Inc. (ticker: QUOT, exchange: NASDAQ) News Release - 9/01/2004
Insure.com: Life Insurance Price War Heats Up, Many Premiums Drop to All-Time Lows
Competitive Fray Creates Money-Saving
Bargains for Life Insurance Shoppers
DARIEN, IL (September 1, 2004) - In recognition of September being declared Life Insurance Awareness Month by several life insurance industry trade associations, Insure.com, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Quotesmith.com (NASDAQ: QUOT) and the only place on earth where you can obtain instant auto, life and health insurance quotes from over 200 leading companies and have the freedom to buy from the company of your choice, has today released the results of an extensive life insurance price comparison survey that shows how some term life insurance premiums have plunged to all-time lows.
Life insurance shoppers wanting free quotes or advice based upon their own criteria can call 1-800-995-9790 or visit www.insure.com .
Commenting on the results of the survey, Quotesmith.com CEO Robert Bland said, "There's good reason for insurance buyers to comparison-shop this fall because the life insurance price war is heating up. Continuing a downward trend that has lasted for at least 10 years, many term life premiums have now dropped to all-time lows. As companies within this $2.6 billion market continue to jostle for new business by making underwriting guideline and price adjustments, it's important to focus on the fact that the price cutting we've seen this year can add up to a substantial savings over the 10 to 30-year span of a typical level premium term life policy period. If there was every a time to shop for some new life insurance or compare your current policy with what today's market might offer, this is it."
Market survey methodology
Insure.com polled more than 60 leading U.S. life insurance companies to find the best rates available on the popular $250,000, $500,000 and $1 million term life insurance policies. All companies examined have top-notch ratings i.e. they are rated either "Excellent" or "Superior" by A.M. Best Company, an independent rating organization. The sample applicants do not use tobacco and range from 35 to 70 years of age. The table below contains the lowest possible rates found for the 10, 20 and 30 year level term life policies for somebody residing in Pennsylvania.
For example, in the case of 40-year-old male in good health, a $500,000, 20-year level term policy would cost only $340 per year with Savings Bank Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts, $390 per year with Americom Life and Annuity and $390 a year with First Colony Life/Genworth Financial.
What it takes to actually get the lowest possible rates
In an industry notorious for quoting one price and then delivering a policy at another price, many life insurance shoppers have mistakenly come to believe that you must be in perfect health in order to get the best rates that the industry has to offer. "Not always so," claims Phil Young, senior market reporter at Insure.com. "Many visitors to Insure.com are pleasantly surprised to find that the acceptance guidelines shown on their Insure.com illustrations are actually more liberal than they might have first thought. Because we have assembled the rates of more than 60 life insurers in one place, consumers can now shop the market in less than 5 seconds. What's more, people with heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other medical conditions can also search the market and view the best available quotes at Insure.com in just a few seconds."
In order to actually obtain a policy at the lowest possible rates, life insurance shoppers need to understand that they must meet certain medical history, family history and lifestyle qualifications at the time application is made. Some of the more important acceptance guidelines used by those companies offering the lowest prices to our sample 40 year-old male would include:
- Height/Weight Ratio. Hold the mayo! Allowable maximum weight for a 6' male wanting to pay the lowest possible life insurance rates are a reasonable 203 pounds with price-leader Savings Bank Life of Massachusetts, 206 pounds with First Colony Life/Genworth Financial and 200 lbs. with Americom Life and Annuity. If you take that weight up, say, to 215 pounds, expect to pay about 25 percent more.
- Family History. Typical among the top 3 best buy companies is the requirement that your natural parents and siblings be free of any history of cardiovascular disease or cancer prior to age 60. If any of your parents or siblings did have a diagnosis of cancer or heart disease before age 60, expect to pay about 15 percent more. Multiple family deaths by cardiovascular disease before age 60 could bump your rate up by 85 percent.
- Tobacco Use History. Here we found that the guidelines contained some good news for occasional cigar smokers. While most best buy companies have the stipulation that an applicant cannot have used tobacco in any form within the past 5 years, First Colony Life/Genworth Financial might offer their lowest rates to an occasional cigar smoker who can attest to smoking no more than 12 cigars per year and, through a third party urinalysis test, prove themselves negative for cotinine, a nicotine marker.
- Cholesterol. Allowable maximums for cholesterol ranged from 210 to 240 with a ratio of good-to-bad cholesterol of 4.5 to 5.0. One company will award their lowest rate even if you are taking cholesterol medication.
- Blood Pressure. . All plans within the best buy range require that you not have a history of high blood pressure or be on any medication for high blood pressure. Allowable readings for the 40-year-old were 130/80, 135/80 and 140/85.
- Driving Record. Life underwriters do not like to insure unsafe drivers and, therefore, want to know all about your recent driving record. For example, none of the top 3 best buy companies would allow a DUI within the past 5 years. Guidelines involving moving violations varied: Savings Bank Life permits no more than one in three years; First Colony Life allows no more than one in the last two years and Americom allows up to two violations within the last three years.
- Intended Foreign Travel. No life insurance company is interested in granting their lowest rates to Rambo or any other person who has intentions to travel to dangerous places. Life insurers like to use the current U.S. State Department Travel Warnings List, a list that now contains the names of 25 countries, including Israel, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Kenya. While India does not appear on the current State Department list, be prepared to provide an explanation of where you intend to visit and for how long if you are planning travel to India.
- Intention to participation in dangerous sports or hobbies. Each of the lowest-priced companies will rate you up or decline you altogether if you engage in risky activities such as motorcycle racing, scuba diving below 60 ft., bungee jumping or mountain climbing.
The Lowest Life Insurance Rates in America
The following table represents actual term life premiums that are available in the Pennsylvania marketplace as of September 1, 2004 (see Notes to Tables below for further sample premium methodology information). Prices can and do vary somewhat by state.
Recent Accolade for Insure.com
In the September 2004 issue of Kiplinger's Personal Finance ("Who gets the lowest life premiums?") reporters Kim Lankford and Elizabeth Kountze had this to say about Insure.com: "The best brokers ask a lot of questions up front, so the rate they quote is close to the rate you can actually get. Online insurance brokerage Insure.com even offers each company's underwriting criteria with its quotes, explaining exactly what you need to do to qualify for the quoted rate."
Originally founded in 1984 as Quotesmith Corporation, Quotesmith.com owns and operates a comprehensive online consumer insurance information service at www.insure.com. Visitors to the Company's Web site are able to obtain instant quotes from more than 200 leading insurers, achieve maximum savings and have the freedom to buy from any company shown. Insure.com also plays home to over 3,000 originally authored articles on various insurance topics and also provides consumer insurance decision-making tools that are not available from any other single source. Quotesmith.com also provides personalized insurance brokerage and policy placement services for its customers. Shares of Quotesmith.com trade on the Nasdaq SmallCap Market under the symbol "QUOT."
Notes to Tables
Final premiums and coverage availability will vary depending upon age, sex, state availability, hazardous activities, personal and family health history. The sample, Pennsylvania non-tobacco use premiums shown above may include: American Fidelity, Oklahoma City, OK, form TL-01; American General Life, Houston, TX, form LTG-2000AG and 02328; Americom Life and Annuity, Houston, TX, form AML FGLT (12-2002); Empire General Life, Shawnee Mission, KS, form EGT-06; Federal Kemper Life, Schaumburg, IL, forms R-3210, S-4009 and S-4010; First Colony Life, Lynchburg, VA, form 1420(96); First Penn-Pacific, Schaumburg, IL, form BT-1101; Great-West Life & Annuity Insurance Company, Greenwood Village, CO, form J348; Lincoln National Life, Fort Wayne, IN, form LBT-100AA (1/96); Ohio National Life, Cincinnati, OH, form 92-TR-1; Pruco Life, Newark, NJ, form PLTINC-2000; Savings Bank Life Insurance Company of Massachusetts, Woburn, MA, form B36.13; Transamerica Occidental Life, Cedar Rapids, IA, form 1-306 11-199; The Travelers Life and Annuity, Hartford, CT, form TL-17113 (MVP02); West Coast Life, San Francisco, CA, forms 971137500 and 001119300. Actual policy forms may vary by state. California and Utah dba Quotesmith.com Insurance Services, Inc.: CA #0827712, #OA13858; UT #90093. Some premiums shown are graded premium life policies and/or term-like universal life policies. Term life premium rates always escalate after initial rate guarantee period. Quotesmith.com, Inc. is not a licensed agent or broker for all companies shown at www.insure.com. All sample rates shown are effective September 1, 2004 and subject to change, state availability or withdrawal without notice.
Cautions about Forward-Looking Statements
This announcement may contain forward-looking statements that involve risks, assumptions and uncertainties pursuant to the safe-harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This announcement also contains forward-looking statements about events and circumstances that have not yet occurred and may not occur. These forward-looking statements are inherently difficult to predict. Expressions of future goals and similar expressions including, without limitation, "intend," "may," "plans," "will," "believe," "should," "could," "hope," "expects," "expected," "does not currently expect," "anticipates," "predicts," "potential" and "forecast," reflecting something other than historical fact, are intended to identify forward-looking statements, but are not the exclusive means of identifying such statements. Investors should be aware that actual results may differ materially from the results predicted and reported results should not be considered an indication of future performance. Reported Web site activity and/or quotes are not necessarily indicative of any present or future revenue. The Company will not necessarily update the information in this press release if any forward-looking statement later turns out to be inaccurate. Potential risks and uncertainties include, among others, concentration of common stock holdings, integration and management of the Life Quotes operation, declines in the life insurance industry, unpredictability of future revenues, potential fluctuations in quarterly operating results, competition, the evolving nature of its business model, risks associated with capacity constraints and the management of growth as well as the risks associated with potential terrorism threats. More information about potential factors that could affect the Company's financial results are included in the Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2003 which is on file with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Quotesmith.com and insure.com are service marks of Quotesmith.com, Inc. All other names are trademarks of their respective owners. Copyright 2004. All rights reserved. Quotesmith.com, Inc.
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