When someone intentionally misleads me I have a real guttural reaction, but I usually don’t hurt them in spite of it. Having said that, the last thing I do is business with them. In life insurance being intentionally misled is called bait and switch. You ask for a life insurance quote and no matter what you might say if they even ask health questions, they provide you a quote for the best rate class. A recent example is a guy who came to me for quotes. He didn’t have health issues but his height and weight, 5’7, 224, doesn’t fit into anyone’s best rate class underwriting. I gave him a realistic quote and he said he had two other quotes substantially lower. He shared the quote with me and I sent him the underwriting guide for those companies clearly showing the bad news. He decide to go with one of the agents that quoted him a lower rate.
So, he has been baited by low quotes. He will likely be approved at a much higher rate and the agent will call and give some song and dance about why the rate came back higher. He will then assure the client that even if he doesn’t accept it and tries again with another company the outcome will be the same (duh!). “So, why Mr Client go through the underwriting process again? Just accept this and you’re done. Sorry it’s not what you expected but that is the nature of life insurance underwriting.” Well, BS! That isn’t the nature of life insurance underwriting at all. Life insurance companies make very clear guidelines available to all agents for the simple things like build, blood pressure, cholesterol, family history and so on. They aren’t ambiguous and they might allow you to fudge a pound or two, but only if you ask ahead of time.
And even with more complicated life insurance impairments like coronary artery disease or bipolar disorder, if an agent does the job correctly they will shop the case and the nature of the process then is that the policy will be approved at the rate quoted most of the time. I just don’t understand in a day when internet access can tell people the reality of what to expect, that they would go for the bait and then, the real crime, accept the agent’s lame excuse for the switch and accept the life insurance policy. If I desperately needed the life insurance in force, the most I would give a dirt ball bait and switch life insurance agent, is to put the policy in force on a monthly basis. I would then ask for a copy of the labs and call an independent agent and ask for accurate quotes, explaining that you absolutely know accurate from not accurate. As soon as you put a new policy in force cancel the first life insurance policy.
This method has a bit of revenge built into it. Agents are paid a commission on premium paid, so the agent might make commission for a few months at the most. Just enough time for him to forget who you are. Then, because a policy has to stay in force for a year to actually earn the commission, when you cancel the company will charge the agent back for the money they made. I’m not huge into revenge, but life insurance agents who intentionally lie to you to get your business deserve to lose the sale and lose some money they probably already spent because they assume you’re going to just roll over and take it.
Bottom line. Life insurance bait and switch is against the law and against any kind or moral or ethical behavior you can think of. If you have questions, or believe that someone has quoted you low when they should have known better, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.