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I don’t know what more life insurance companies could want than a level playing field and a chance to compete for their fair share of the business, but no joke, there are some that trip and fall on a level playing field.

I just worked on a case that, while not simple, should have created similar life insurance underwriting results from the three companies that were ultimately involved. The client, CEO of a company with 50 employees, applied with one life insurance company and was quoted a preferred rate. The company lab results had two slightly elevated liver functions and while the labs were negative for the Hep C virus, they said that two immunoassays were positive for the Hep C antibody. Based on this the company rated the client at a table 6, 150% above standard.

The client then took the news to his doctor who repeated all the tests, twice. On both sets his liver functions were normal and no where did the Hep C antibody show up. He also did an ultrasound of the liver that was completely normal. The doctor wrote a letter to the underwriters noting his results and backing them up with copies of the labs and ultrasound. This was presented to the life insurance company and they did amend their approval to a table 2, 50% above a standard rate. Assuming there was no sense trying to work with the first company, the agent sent an application to another company through their quick application process. This process is meant to speed up underwriting and, well, it’s just not a place to send an application that takes thought and processing. The second company approved it at table 4, 100% above standard.

At this point the client called me and asked my opinion. I asked for all of the documentation that had been sent to the first company and the second company’s computer had ignored. After reviewing it I told the client that I thought we could do much better and to allow me a couple of days to shop it. I shopped it, noting in my email quote request the adverse action taken by the first two companies and making our case with the doctor’s findings and documents. It was amusing that both companies that had already been applied to, ending up in table 2 and table 4 approvals, gave quick quotes at standard. Two other companies quoted preferred. This is clinical underwriting when companies actually look at the facts instead of what could be.

Bottom line. We submitted an application and all of the medical documents and used the labs that the first company had done. It was approved in a week at preferred. I think this case points out two flaws in today’s life insurance market. First, when a company thinks they have found a fatal flaw they won’t do the right thing even when they are presented with facts that prove them wrong. A pride thing or something. Second is that the quick app process that several life insurance companies are using allows a computer to underwrite. While it is fast, again it’s no place to try to unravel a mess. If you have questions or don’t believe you have been treated unfairly in your brush with life insurance, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.