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Just 10 days into the year. 1/36th of the way through it. We hardly even have our feet wet in the new year yet and I have been bowled over by as much acute denial in this short period than I am in an average month. Is it possible the economic meltdown is causing mental meltdown too?

The biggest source of the denial has been people who have cardiac histories and are still smoking. I’ve talked about the life insurance underwriting take on this bit of human health ignorance before. Smoking is the single largest factor causing heart disease. What kind of a pin brain would continue to smoke after they know they have heart disease?

One says, “Well, I’m an airline pilot so I’m in better health than the average person because I get annual physicals.” Excuse me? I always thought you must have to be pretty smart to keep one of those things in the air but I guess not. You can have 12 physicals a year and if you have coronary artery disease and still smoke you aren’t healthier than any average person on the planet. You just get more physicals.

Another said, “Well, but that heart attack was 10 years ago and I’ve been doing fine since.” Smoking is the leading cause of heart disease and heart attacks. Your body has already screamed about the abuse, so cut it some slack and quit smoking.

And then there was the lady who had a 4 vessel bypass surgery 8 years ago and hasn’t been back to a cardiologist since and doesn’t understand why a life insurance underwriter would be nervous about the risk. I asked her how they originally discovered she had 4 blocked vessels and, well, it was because she had a physical with an abnormal stress test. She didn’t see the correlation between that life saving stress test and having an occasional followup stress test. She claimed that her cardiologist told her there wasn’t any reason to come back after the procedure. She decided I didn’t need to know the name of that doctor as I wanted to call and see if that was what he really said.

Bottom line. I have decided to make 2009 a year of good news about life insurance. We hit home runs for people every day in this business and inspite of this streak of cardio-denial, we will continue to come through not only for those who take health seriously, but for those that don’t. It will just cost a bit more for those that don’t.