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It’s been an interesting 3 years working with bipolar clients and at times tripolar life insurance underwriters, but headway has been made and we are successful in filling our clients needs most of the time. The sad thing for me is that getting approvals without wasting everyone’s time and money has meant spelling out clearly what it takes to get approved. I can imagine how it must feel if you don’t meet the criteria.

I know that leaves a lot of people with bipolar in the not insurable boat, but for the sake of those who do meet the thresholds for approved life insurance coverage, it’s been worth putting out the criteria for approval so that everyone knows clearly whether they will win the war or not.

The criteria have been developed by working with underwriters, clients, and psychiatrists and have been evolving as we go. Let me be very clear about these criteria. Even if you are the perfect client based on these guidelines, if you use the wrong agent who takes your application to the wrong company you will more than likely be declined. I shop every case with bipolar disorder as if I’m really not sure who will quote what. I don’t want an underwriter getting cold feet on a formal application.

Having said that, the guidelines that seem to be gathering approvals are:

1. Someone who has not been hospitalized for bipolar disorder other than for diagnosis?
2. Someone who has not attempted suicide or had bouts with suicidal ideations?
3. Someone who is compliant with their treatment, both medications and regular followups?
4. Someone who is leading a stable family life or social life?
5. Someone who is exhibiting a stable work life?
6. Someone who is not on disability for bipolar and does not have issues with drinking or drugs? If there’s a problem here, then the answers to 3, 4 and 5 are no.
7. Better rates are definitely available if your condition is well controlled without the use of anti psychotic drugs.

Have you already been declined? These guidelines really work well with all of the major mood disorders, anxiety, OCD and depression. With most medical impairments the key to success is compliance with treatment and control of the condition. The only thing different with bipolar is that compliance and control need to equal stability.

Bottom line. Most agents don’t know what questions to ask and don’t understand what the answers mean when they are interviewing someone with bipolar disorder. If they don’t understand the mission their chances of succeeding for you are as close to zero as you can get.