Philip Morris International, the world’s largest tobacco company and manufacturer of the Marlboro brand, is venturing into the life insurance industry.
A UK-based subsidiary company of Philip Morris will be called Reviti and sell life insurance products.
The goal of Philip Morris, via Reviti, is to get traditional cigarette smokers to switch to newer, smokeless tobacco products, vaping devices, or to cut down on cigarettes.
Those who do so will receive discounts on Reviti life insurance products.
Daniel Pender, the CEO of Reviti’s London-based offices, stresses that the company is dedicated to helping consumers transition into a “science-backed smoke free alternative.”
“They get competitive premiums and, with a little help from us, a better lifestyle, said Pender.
“We get to help millions of people who have never had access to life insurance before and who will benefit from positive lifestyle changes we’re helping them make.”
Reviti customers who switch to vaping, or e-cigarettes, receive a 2.5% policy discount.
Those who quit smoking for a whole year will receive a 50% policy discount. Anyone who switches to Philip Morris’s new smokeless tobacco device, the iQOS, will get a 25% policy discount for three months.
Critics allege that Philip Morris is simply monetizing the deadly effects that smoking has on consumers.
Further, its “smoke-free alternative” mainly refers to its smokeless tobacco product iQOS, which releases nicotine through heating instead of burning tobacco.
Matthew Myers, an ardent tobacco critic, was not mollified.
“It doesn’t get more twisted than a tobacco company hooking people on its deadly products, then turning around and trying to sell them life insurance,” said Myers.
Life insurance may just be the beginning of the tobacco giant’s future business endeavors, he mused.
“Where will Philip Morris diversify next — perhaps into funeral homes, with Marlboro-branded coffins?” Myers said.
The FDA has given approval to PMI to sell iQOS in the United States.
Under FDA rules, Philip Morris will not be able to claim that iQOS is safer or less carcinogenic than traditional cigarettes.