If it isn’t crystal clear by now, it should be. People applying for life insurance with a current or past history of well controlled depression, anxiety, ADD, ADHD, bipolar disorder and other mood disorders are being abusively rated or declined by most life insurance companies. My contention is , in spite of the statistics, is that that means that almost everyone in the world is affected. The good news? Not all life insurance companies share that need to abuse. The bad news? Most life insurance agents don’t know that.
It’s safe to say that almost all well controlled mood disorder life insurance applications, given the right company and the right agent, should get approved at preferred plus or preferred. Given the wrong agent using the wrong company that changes to standard rates or worse, even declined life insurance. I’ve shared in the past the criteria I’ve developed along with some very good underwriters for what it takes to get approved if you have bipolar disorder.
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? (Ideations become less relevant with time)
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 approvals come if you are not on anti psychotic drugs.
While none of these are written in stone, they are nevertheless good guidelines. And without tweaking them much you can use the same guidelines for situational depression, anxiety disorder, obsessive/compulsive disorder (OCD). To break it down into the simplest terms, if you have a mood disorder and it is well controlled enough that the folks around you don’t know, we should be able to get you approved for life insurance at good rates. If you’re a whacko, not so easy. If you are disabled by your disorder, you’re stretching everyone’s imagination to say that your condition is well controlled. You may not need to be hospitalized or institutionalized, but you have been rendered unable to function so someone is paying you not to have to deal with a job. That may have come off as mean spirited, but please remember we’re talking about well controlled in the context of life insurance.
This issue of being rated for mood disorders goes largely unnoticed for a couple of reasons.
1. People assume that they don’t deserve better rates given their impairment and
2. Most people are buying small enough amount of life insurance that it doesn’t hurt enough to scream.
I’m doing my best to do away with number 1. The word just needs to get out. Minor mood disorders should not be treated any differently than well controlled blood pressure or cholesterol. You take the pill and you’re compliant about doing it and you don’t have a problem.
Number 2 is where a lot of cases slip through the cracks. When you’re young and only need smaller amounts of insurance and instead of $15 a month your life insurance premium is $30 a month, it somehow gets absorbed by the universe of stuff we don’t understand but put up with. But when you’re a little older and because of your income or position you need millions of dollars worth of life insurance the picture changes. I’ve often used CEO life insurance as an example. Their ages span from the 20’s to 80’s and their need for life insurance could be as little as $1 million or as much as $100 million or more. There are a lot of high functioning CEO’s who are dealing with stress, anxiety, depression and a large number of them, bipolar disorder. Given their ages and amounts of life insurance appropriate for their position, getting bumped a few rate classes could means spending tens, if not hundreds of thousands more per year than they need to. And they can’t deduct it from their taxes (with one exception). Other great examples that fall in this same dollar dilemma are physicians who get rated years later for taken anti anxiety medication during their high pressure residency or attorneys during their finals and bar exams.
Bottom line. So follow this. If you’re not in #2 and fall prey to #1, you’ve been molested and abused by your agent. Probably not intentionally because it usually happens out of their own ignorance, but intentional or not, it’s coming out of your pocket. Put a stop to it. If you believe you’re paying too much based on a well-controlled mood disorder, you probably are. If you have questions or want to find out what’s possible, call or email me directly. Let’s talk.