A new life insurance product was launched today offering lower premiums to vegetarians.
Animal Friends Insurance said people who did not eat meat would qualify for a 6 per cent discount on its life cover because medical evidence suggested they were less likely to suffer from major illnesses than those who ate meat.
The not-for-profit group said that while the life insurance industry had significantly developed its understanding and management of risk in recent years, it had not given adequate weighting to the benefits of being a vegetarian.
It said despite the fact that vegetarians were less likely to suffer from a range of chronic diseases, they did not pay less for their life insurance cover, which it claimed meant they were subsidising meat-eaters.
Research carried out by the group found that around 2.2 million people claim not to have eaten meat during the past year, while a further 1.3 million people plan to stop eating it during the coming 12 months.
Reduced cancer risk
Elaine Fairfax, managing director of Animal Friends Insurance, said: ‘The risk of vegetarians suffering from some cancers is reduced by up to 40 per cent and from heart disease by up to 30 per cent, but despite this, they have to pay the same life insurance premiums as meat-eaters.
‘We believe this is unfair and the life insurance industry needs to acknowledge the fact that being a vegetarian can have a very positive impact on life expectancy and reduce premiums accordingly.’
The product, which is underwritten by insurer Liverpool Victoria, is also available to meat-eaters, but without the 6 per cent discount.
Which? Money Editor Martyn Hocking said: ”Insurers already offer substantial discounts to non-smokers – women can save around £340 a year on term life insurance by giving up smoking – so it makes sense for them to look at offering lower premiums for other groups of consumers who are taking steps to improve their health.’
The cover is available from www.animalfriends.org.uk or by calling 0870 4030 300.
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