It occurred to me after seeing a clip of Napoleon Dynamite on David Letterman that, given good health, even he could qualify for the best rates available for life insurance.

Fortunately for us all, being the best looking or the most successful isn’t found on a life insurance application. As many times as I have aired my feelings about the lack of common sense that underwriters seem to have cornered the market on, I can honestly say that I have not seen them swayed by an applicant’s position or influence.

That is not to say that it might not hurt if you were the cousin of the president of a life insurance company. I haven’t run into that personally, but it is true that there is a company tool out there that isn’t used as often as it was 3 or more years ago called a “business decision”. Before the changes that hit a few years ago with the consolidation of reinsurance companies, business decisions were fairly common. While they are at best rare today, there is no doubt in my mind that given the right incentive, they do still exist.

I recently worked on a breast cancer case that brought this reality home. After informal trials came back with decline after decline due to the stage and grade of the cancer, Lincoln National indicated that they would consider the case at a face amount of $250,000 or below, universal life, not term insurance, as a business decision. They ultimately declined to offer coverage as well. Still shopping that one and will until I get the job done.

Bottom line. Very few gifts floating around the life insurance sphere these days. The good news is that the playing field is level. The bad news is the playing field is level.