The 2017 Clinical Analysis of General and Insured Population Suicides in the U.S.
Suicide rates are a global concern. From 1999 to 2016, U.S. suicide rates have increased in nearly every state—with 25 states experiencing increases of more than 30 percent.3 This study takes population data from Munich Re’s internal mortality data set and compares insured and non-insured populations.
As reinsurers tasked with managing risk, this study focuses on answering two main questions: How do general population suicide trends translate into insured experience? How do suicide rates vary in the insured portfolio versus the non-insured population?
The report’s observations are derived from comparing year, age, gender and income for U.S. and Canadian suicide rates in the general population with those observed in Munich Re’s insured dataset.
The study also looked at other factors such as seasonality, age, and gender. Suicide rates were also compared to the duration of coverage, face band, and product. Since suicide rates are based on paid claim amounts, there is a dramatic increase in rates after the typical one-year exclusion period. Munich Re’s study also found that smoking was correlated with increased suicides (2.4x higher for females and 1.8x higher for males compared to non-tobacco users of the same gender).
The complexity of mental health in North American populations is a difficult study especially from a life insurer’s perspective. This paper’s intent to lay a foundation for future study that will hopefully include new insights into the impact of suicide from the perspective of mortality.
Colin Sproat FCIA, FSA Director, Biometric Research, North America Life