Life insurance can play an important role in planning a secure financial future for your family. If you’ve ever considered getting life insurance, you may have wondered how life insurance companies calculate your premium and how they make money despite the payouts your beneficiaries are set to receive when you die.
Life insurance companies consider many factors in their calculations, but basically, they have to try and answer one question: how likely is it this person will die in the next few years?
To get to the answer, a good place to start is the number of deaths for those who share your gender and age. “Mortality” or “actuarial” tables reflect the percentage of men or women of a certain age that are expected to die within a certain number of years. Of course ultimately, all of us have a 100% chance of dying – the questions are about the cause, and when it’s likely to happen.
Mortality rates UK
According to the death statistics, the most common death cause in the UK is various forms of cancer, as over 1 in 4 (28%) dies from this. Second most common reason is heart disease, as 27% dies from different kinds of cancer every year.
1 in 20 (4.95%) die from COVID-19, making it the fifth most common cause of death in the UK.
The actuarial tables below are based on the most recent mortality rates in the UK. For life insurance companies, they’re only the beginning, because these odds don’t take into account a number of other risk factors, such as lifestyle choices and medical history, that can dramatically increase or decrease people’s chances of making it to a ripe old age.
Women have a longer life expectancy than men and unsurprisingly, your chance of dying increases with age. On a happier note, each generation is living longer than the previous one.
How likely are you to die from coronavirus?
The COVID-19 epidemic has a fatality rate of around 5% for reported cases globally, not including unreported or misdiagnosed cases, according to the World Health Organization. Big questions remain as to whether the numbers reflect actual cases, but that’s higher than the average 0.1% fatality rate for the seasonal flu Although for most people COVID-19 causes only mild illness, it can make some people very ill. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. Older people, and those with pre- existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart problems, diabetes or respiratory diseases) appear to be more vulnerable.
Life expectancy for male newborns is just short of 80 years. Their odds of dying in the following year decrease slightly once they’ve blown out their first candle and stay almost at zero until they’re well into their 40s.
Moreover, up until the age of 70, less than 1 in 10 men is expected to die within the following 5 years. Afterwards, the odds of dying escalate quite quickly, but around two thirds of 80-year-olds will stay around long enough to blow out 85 candles.
Perhaps surprisingly, if you make it to a certain age, you’re more likely to live even longer: for example, at 80, men’s life expectancy surpasses 88 years.
It is a truth universally acknowledged that women usually live longer than men – and as we said, conventional wisdom is widely supported by statistical data.
The three-year-long life expectancy gap that stands between baby girls and baby boys when they’re born continues through the years. The male and female odds of dying and life expectancy figures follow similar patterns, but women retain the initial advantage.
At 50, for example, women are approximately 10% more likely than men to make it into their 80s and the difference is similar when we look at how many people in their 60s and 70s will blow 90 candles.
Life expectancy only starts to be equal at the end of the table: 90-year-olds, on average, can expect to live another 4 years or so regardless of their gender.
We based our data on ‘Deaths by single year of age tables – UK’ from the ONS. Using compound probability, we used this data to calculate the odds of dying within increments of 5, 10, 20 and 30 years for men and women in the UK. Your actual probability could be higher or lower depending on a range of health and lifestyle factors.
Jon Ostler, CEO (UK) at finder.com is available for further comment, opinions or interview regarding the research.
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Matt Mckenna UK communications manager T: +44 20 8191 8806
Danny is a publisher at Finder specialising in car, life, home, business and pet insurance. He previously worked at the global insurer Aon and has appeared in national media giving advice on insurance. Danny holds a BA in International Business from the University of Plymouth and has undying loyalty to his average-poor football team, Portsmouth FC.
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