Having done a rather narrowly focused, completely unscientific survey, I have determined that snakes should probably have some underwriting significance when it comes to life insurance.

Here are a few examples. A woman in her 60’s who was known to have heart disease, albeit well controlled, suffered a fatal heart attack upon discovering a snake in her house. This woman, who died in her 60’s, might well have lived another 20 years if it weren’t for the sudden appearance of an unwanted reptile.

Now I know there are people who aren’t afraid of snakes. I admit that I am one of them. I am interested and if they are the venomous variety, I am cautious, but not scared……..unless I step on one or see one suddenly move in very close proximity, with no warning. Then I do move quickly and my heart rate probably does increase. I may even suffer, depending on the situation, from a temporary bit of high blood pressure.

Then there is my wife. Again, not really scared of snakes. She just doesn’t like to be snuck up on. We’ve had something of an infestation of small bug eating snakes this year and she has begun to suffer some anxiety about going down the back steps to the chicken coop. The little guys like to sun themselves on the steps and sometimes you don’t see them until your foot is in mid air on the way to the next step down. That leaves her with a rather immediate choice to make. Jump to the side! Extend your stride to skip the step with the snake on it! Or, touch that step so fast and lightly that the snake doesn’t have time to wrap itself around your ankle and choke you to death! Believe me, if she could put it in reverse while going down steps, she would.
I suspect snakes can be tied to all sorts of other maladies (Yes, that was the end of my survey). I am thinking a person could suffer a stroke or a seizure if the right combination of medical conditions and snake sighting coincided.

Life insurance exams of the future might well replace the standard ekg with an ekg while watching a virtual clip from Snakes on a Plane. I mean if you are going to check out someone’s heart, let’s see how it handles SRF, “snake response factor”.

Just a thought for life insurance underwriters. They seem to be able to create mountains out of mole hills in so many other cases. Why not rate people based on their SRF.

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