If you are a commercial fisherman, you probably already know that it is one of the most dangerous professions there is.
According to a government source, it is in fact the second most dangerous general occupational category in America. This can create some complications when it comes to life insurance for commercial fishermen.
Coverage is available, but you should expect additional questions about your profession, as well as the real possibility of paying a higher contribution.
Fortunately, your profession is far from the only thing that determines your premium. There are other factors ̵
Why is life insurance for commercial fishermen considered a high risk?
For better or worse, commercial fishermen are ranked as the second most dangerous occupation in America.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, commercial fishermen are ranked only behind logging workers in the list of 10 most dangerous occupations:
There are reasons why commercial fishing is considered a dangerous occupation for life insurance:
First is the work environment. You spend a long time at sea, often in deep seas, which in itself is an unnatural environment for humans.
Second is the weather. Not only is the sea surface exposed to radical weather changes, but the changes often come quickly and unpredictably.
Third, the conditions in the sea itself. There may be changes in currents and other underwater disturbances that can make the work environment very unpredictable. Then there is also the fact that you work with dangerous fishing equipment, such as long lines and automated machines.
Finally, there is the fact that a medical emergency can take place hundreds or even thousands of miles from the nearest medical facility. It can take many hours or several days of sailing before a suitable medical facility can be reached.
In addition, the typical fishing boat is not equipped for the treatment of serious injuries or illnesses.
Insurance companies recognize these multilayer hazards, and must evaluate an application accordingly to adjust for the increased level of risk presented by the fishing industry.
Why life insurance for commercial fishermen may be even more important than other professions
One of the reasons why life insurance is more important for commercial fishermen than most other professions is the obviously higher risk that comes with the job. But just as important is the fact that few commercial fishing companies offer employer-sponsored life insurance for their employees.
Most fishing is conducted by small, independent fishing companies or lone fishermen. The industry is highly decentralized, and many people working in the field do so because of either family tradition or geography (as in states like Alaska and Maine where fishing is an important industry, benefiting from rich access to marine life in local waters).
As an owner or employee in the fishing industry, there is often no access to group life insurance. And even if it is available, it can be prohibitively expensive due to the nature of the work.
If provided, it is generally not more than once or twice the fisherman's annual salary. It can be a relatively small death benefit for the fishermen's family. It may be a little more than enough funds to cover final costs, revealed medical costs and to support the family for more than a few months.
Even if you are one of the rare commercial fishermen covered by a group life insurance policy, you almost certainly need to have a private policy to provide additional coverage.
How insurance companies consider life insurance for commercial fishermen
First, it is important to understand that life insurance for commercial fishermen is highly specialized. Not all insurance companies offer coverage.
But it is also important to realize that every business that offers life insurance to commercial fishermen will overwrite your application in some different way. This is because everyone has a different view of the occupation, including the specific risks involved.
Like most professions, commercial fishing has many different components. A life insurance company will overwrite your application based on your specific jobs.
Some of the considerations involved in evaluating the risks to commercial fishermen are:
- The size of the vessel you normally work with. A larger vessel will offer greater protection against dangerous waters and be more likely to have a medical facility, however limited it may be.
- Whether or not there are medical personnel on board. Your application gets better consideration if any.
- Where the bulk of your fishing activity takes place. Fishing in waters near land will have a lower risk than deep-sea fishing, largely due to greater access to medical facilities on land.
- The specific watercourse where much of your work takes place. For example, the Bering Sea off the coast of Alaska is notorious for being one of the most dangerous waterways in the world. If this is primarily where you work, you will pay higher premiums than someone who works in, for example, the Gulf of Mexico.
- Do you fish regularly outside American waters? Does your fishing business take you off the coast of Greenland or into the Norwegian Sea? Or do you work mostly in the Gulf of Maine?
- How long has your employer been active.
- Safety and medical equipment usually provided on board by your employer.
- How long have you been working in commercial fishing?
- Special education you have, especially in water safety.
- The time you spend at sea each year.
Due to the wide variation in each of the above, it is impossible to generalize premium adjustments for commercial fishermen in terms of life insurance.
Activity considered to be the lowest risk will have the lowest premium adjustments.
Non-Occupational Risk Factors May Be More Important Than Your Profession
Even if you work in a high-risk commercial occupation, other factors will also affect the approval of your application and the premium you pay. Ultimately, your profession is just one factor, albeit an important factor for commercial fishermen.
Non-occupational factors that will be taken into account both in approving your application and determining your premium will include:
- Your age – the older you are, the higher your premium will be.
- Gender – Premium rates for women are lower than for men.
- Your health – this is usually the single most important consideration that determines your premium, even more than profession. It will be determined by all the chronic health conditions you have or have had in the past.
- health history for your immediate family, including parents and siblings.
- Smoking excessive alcohol consumption or illegal drug abuse.
- High Risk Hobbies – High risk activities such as skydiving, competition and deep sea diving will result in a higher premium, sometimes much higher.  Your driving record – accidents in the event of errors, multiple traffic violations, license suspensions and especially the DUI / DWI section.
- Your credit history – significant credit problems may indicate a high stress / high risk lifestyle.
- All the criminal records you can have.
- Other factors unique to individual insurance companies.
If you belong to the excellent category for most or all of the above factors, the only premium adjustment you have in your policy will be for your occ uppation.
However, age can be especially important in relation to your profession. For example, the insurance company may assess that a younger, less experienced fisherman may be a slightly greater risk.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, they may consider an older fisherman as a higher risk factor due to the possibility that age-related restrictions may increase the risk of premature death.
How much will a commercial fisherman affect your premiums?
When the insurance company guarantees an application for life insurance for commercial fishermen, the insurance company will first look at the risks you pose apart from your profession. A premium will be determined based on your overall insurance profile and your profession, which is considered an independent risk.
For example, you can buy a $ 500,000 life insurance policy, 20 years, for a base rate of $ 600 per year.  The insurance company then adds a flat dollar amount per thousand to your base premium to adjust for the increased risk from your profession. Typically, it will range from $ 2.50 per $ 1,000 to as much as $ 5 per $ 1,000.
If the insurance company determines that your professional premium increase should be $ 3 per $ 1,000, you will pay an additional $ 1 500 per annum, or $ 2,100 when you add to the $ 600 annual base rate. This is calculated by multiplying $ 3 times 500 (000) and producing $ 1,500 for the premium supplement.
One of the major benefits of the standard premium adjustment method is that if you ever leave commercial fishing to work in a less hazardous profession, the adjustments are likely to be eliminated.
For example, let's say that after 25 years as a commercial fisherman, you leave the occupation at the age of 45 to enter the restaurant business. Since you are not a restaurant worker, it is considered a high-risk profession, the professional premium adjustment will be eliminated and your annual premium will fall to the base rate of $ 600 per year.
How to apply for life insurance for commercial fishermen
Whenever you have any additional risk factors associated with your insurance profile, including a particularly high risk profession as a commercial fisherman, it is always best to work with a life insurance broker.
Brokers have the advantage of working with many different life insurance companies on a regular basis. We know who the insurance companies are that will provide insurance for commercial fishermen and other individuals with high risk factors in their profiles. And among the companies that provide coverage, we know those that probably charge the most favorable premium rates.
By submitting your application to us, we can decide in advance which companies will submit your application. . It will not only give you the benefit of the lowest possible premium, but it will avoid the need for you to apply with several companies, many of which will reject your application because of your profession.
Whatever you do, don & # 39; t be deducted from ads for the cheapest life insurance premiums. These are designed for young, healthy applicants who work at low risk. Even if such companies approve your application, it will probably have a much higher premium than they advertise. That is if they approve of your policy at all. Many are only available to provide coverage for the applicants with the lowest risk, which is why they primarily offer the lowest premiums.
If you have a high-risk job or a high-risk health risk, your best and often only strategy is to work with a licensed life insurance broker.
Do-it-yourself shopping for life insurance is not a suitable strategy for a commercial fisherman. Take advantage of our experience to work for you and let us do a job to give you the coverage you need.
* While we do our best to keep our site up to date, you should be aware that "current" information on this site, such as quotes, or relevant company details, may only be accurate from the last day of editing. Huntley Wealth & Insurance Services and its representatives do not provide legal or tax advice. Contact your own legal or tax advisor.