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I’ve been specializing in “impaired risk” life insurance cases for the past 13 years and often find that people are confused about the term. They can get their mind wrapped around the idea that they have an impairment, but when you add the word risk the mind kind of automatically adds in the word bad, or terrible, or awful…..

The truth is that impaired risk cases often end up getting the best rate class when all is said and done, just not from all companies. The challenge for an impaired risk agent is to weed through all of varied underwriting opinions, to set aside those companies that don’t fit the client we’re working with and work with the underwriters that appear to have the potential to approve the best possible rate for the situation. Realistically we’re not going to get everyone with a serious impairment the best rate class with a company, but realistically a good impaired risk agent will turn declines into approvals and improve other company offers substantially.

One way we’ve been able to reach a lot of those who have been declined is by laying out the most successful criteria for approval. Case in point would be our criteria for being approved/a> if you have bipolar disorder. The same criteria really kind of applies to depression and other mood disorders.

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. Not being on anti psychotic drugs or multiple meds is a plus.

Now if someone doesn’t meet all of these criteria we might still be able to get an approval, but if someone does meet these guidelines and they have been declined before, they used the wrong agent.

We recently started posting the same kind of guidelines for approval for type 1 diabetes, another impairment that 99% of companies will automatically decline. When people know what it takes to get approved they also know if they have been treated right in the past.

1. If adult onset, more than a year since diagnosis and A1c’s consistently below 7.
2. If juvenile onset, current age above 30 and A1c’s consistently below 7 (last 5 years).
3. No hospitalization for diabetic emergencies or diabetes related complications.
4. Compliance with doctor recommended testing, both at home and quarterly blood workups.
5. No onset of diabetes related complications.

Bottom line. Mortality risk is what all life insurance underwriting is based on. Just like everything else in this world though, everyone has an opinion and one company’s decline is another company’s preferred.
If you have health issues don’t throw yourself into the massive mill of a large internet agency. They don’t have time to do it right. Seek out a good impaired risk agent. You will know you’re there by the questions they ask.