ColumnsSuicide and Life InsuranceBerman, Alan L. PhD; Silverman, Morton M. MD; Wortzel, Hal S. MD; McIntosh, John L. PhDAuthor Information BERMAN: is Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD SILVERMAN: is an Assistant Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry with the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, WI WORTZEL: is the Michael K. Cooper Professor of Neurocognitive Disease, Director of Neuropsychiatry, an Associate Professor in Psychiatry, Neurology, and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Faculty for the Forensic Psychiatry Fellowship at the University of Colorado. He is Director of Neuropsychiatric Services for the Rocky Mountain MIRECC, Aurora, CO MCINTOSH: is a Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Indiana University, South Bend, IN The authors declare no conflicts of interest. Please send correspondence to: Alan L. Berman, PhD, Adjunct Professor, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD (e-mail: [email protected]). Journal of Psychiatric Practice: January 2022 - Volume 28 - Issue 1 - p 54-61 doi: 10.1097/PRA.0000000000000607 Buy Metrics Abstract Much has been written about the history of suicide and, notably, about societies that condemned both the act and the actor, resulting in a perpetuation of suicide being stigmatized in many cultures. One aspect of this perceived stigmatization involves exclusionary clauses in life insurance policies that reject paying benefits to survivor-beneficiaries of the decedent if the decedent has died by suicide within a prescribed time frame. From the perspective of the individual, life insurance is designed to protect the estate of a decedent from a significant financial burden. From the insurer’s perspective, there are essentially 2 reasons for having a suicide exclusion clause: limiting risk and preventing or discouraging fraud. This column examines these rationales in light of the estimated few suicides that do occur during exclusionary clause time frames. Observations are made about the effect of these clauses on those impacted by the loss of a loved one who died by suicide within the exclusionary time frame. An examination of the perspectives of both the life insurance industry and the impacted survivors of suicide decedents raises questions about what are reasonable and appropriate exclusionary clause time frames that protect both the insurer and survivor-beneficiaries. The forensic expert consulting on such cases should be cognizant of these competing perspectives and engage in therapeutic assessment whenever possible, identifying opportunities to promote thoughtful suicide postvention. Copyright © 2022 Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.