I got an email from a life insurance agent today asking me if I could recommend a guaranteed issue life insurance company in Massachusetts. He indicated that he had run into several clients that were uninsurable and wanted to find the best company to write graded benefit guaranteed issue life through.

I know I’ve talked a lot about the 99.9% of life insurance companies that would decline themselves if their mother had a history of a cold in the last 50 years. Those companies have underwriting guidelines that are written in stone and not to be questioned or fussed with. This agent worked for one of those fine old companies and he was running into what must be an excruciatingly frustrating deal when he presents applications that a logical person would assume to be easily approved and instead end up in a decline. Now, to be sure, this agent should know his own company’s underwriting guidelines but sometimes you just go out on a limb and guess that having pimples in high school isn’t really a decline issue.

The whole conversation led me to make a list of some health issues that are very commonly declined by almost all companies, but can be approved at reasonable rates through others. There are obviously variables in any health situation that can make the mortality risk higher and I don’t necessarily want to go in to all of those today, but consider these. Most companies will decline anyone who has:

1. Has had cardiac bypass surgery or angioplasty
2. Has prostate cancer and is on doctor ordered watchful waiting
3. Has hepatitis C no matter how low their viral load is
4. Has had a melanoma, moles with dysplastic nevi or basal cell carcinoma syndrome
5. Has type 2 diabetes with an A1c over 8
6. Has type 1 diabetes even with great control
7. Has a history of drug, prescription drug or alcohol abuse treatment
8. Has had a DUI
9. Has had a gastric bypass surgery
10. Has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder
11. Has a history of breast cancer, testicular cancer, prostate cancer within the past year
12. Has epilepsy, even well controlled

But given prudent and compliant treatment and followup on the health issues, all of these, this dirty dozen if well controlled, are not show stoppers. Allow me to just urge the obvious. Please don’t take this and call me from your jail cell the morning after your arrest for DUI. Other than the watchful waiting for prostate cancer, you can call me when you are diagnosed with cancer but we won’t be able to do much until treatment is completed. Do call though if you want to know when you will be able to get life insurance and I will be glad to set a tickler and get back with you at the appropriate time just in case you can’t find me on Google.

Bottom line. Almost all life insurance companies are trapped in a set of rules of their own making and they are scared to come out. On the flip side, the right agent using the right company and underwriter can overcome just about anything. If you have questions or have been declined and don’t understand why, call or email me directly, let’s talk.