Philip Morris International, the tobacco company that sells Marlboro cigarettes, is foraying into the life insurance business. The initiative, called ‘Reviti’, will initially sell life insurance in the UK before moving overseas. Smokers will receive discounts if they reduce, quit or switch to less carcinogenic products.
According to the terms of the insurance, smokers who switch to e-cigarettes will receive 2.5% discount on premiums, people who switch to Philip Morris’ heated tobacco product iQOS for three months will receive a 25% discount, and people who quit smoking for at least a year will receive a 50% discount. Premium for a 20-year-old non-smoker is about £5 ($6.47) per month for a life insurance policy of £150,000 ($194,125). The same premium would buy a £60,000 ($77,650) policy for a 40-year-old non-smoker.
It is up to PM to decide how much discount to offer to people using alternative products that are less life threatening. PM’s most popular alternative is iQOS, a device that heats tobacco instead of burning tobacco. Offering people bigger life insurance discounts for switching to iQOS may push more people to try it. This is particularly popular in UK where more people are embracing e-cigarettes, if not quitting altogether.
PMI is even optimistic that non-carcinogenic alternatives like e-cigarettes will one day replace cigarettes altogether and then it will be a win-win situation for everyone: it will reduce life risks for the people and for the company it will mean lower excise taxes and better margins.