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Talk about a topic that has changed with the wind over the years, diabetes underwriting would be that animal. There was a time not all that long ago, at least if you’re my age, that diabetes was treated by most companies with a swift decline and by the few that would entertain it, with extreme caution (read that higher rates).

In the last 6-7 years we finally found some sanity on the subject with US Financial Life. They were the first so called clinical underwriting company. In a nutshell that meant that they didn’t treat all people with diabetes the same. If you happened to have type 1 or type 2 diabetes and were doing all the right things to take care of yourself, they would often hand out approvals at their preferred rates. That was the good news. The bad news is that they caved into a buyout offer by giant AXA Equitable. When all was said and done, they dismantled the company and the progressive underwriting and left it as a fond memory.

Since then we have had beacons of hope in companies like Banner Life. Banner briefly stepped out there and said they would offer their best rate class given strict guidelines. They wanted to see age of onset past 50, no other health issues or risk factors, and an hbA1c in the borderline area, below 6.0.

They soon revised that from their best rate class to standard plus, still a breath of fresh air. In premium dollars their standard plus was actually competitive with the old US Financial preferred so it seemed that even given their swift back step from preferred plus possibilities, we still had a competitive direction to go. That was last year.

Fast forward to now. Banner Life is still the one to beat out there although they have tightened on their criteria a bit more. That has brought companies like American General (yes, they’re still a good company) and West Coast Life into the mix.

Bottom line. Type 1 diabetes has become a tougher hunt than it used to be, but still not impossible. The companies that do entertain underwriting the condition are very cautious about collateral health issues. Type 2 diabetes remains a very competitive market which means there are good rates available. Seek out a good independent agent to find out what all of this means for you or your loved one.