When you consider the opposite of stable is unstable it makes it easier to understand why life insurance underwriting uses stability as a benchmark for approval and rates for all mood disorder underwriting. Whether it is depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder life insurance, the last thing life insurance companies want to sign off on is someone with a track record of train wrecks.
What we’ve found is that there are a core group of companies that will underwrite based the mortality risk presented by the individual as opposed as the average mortality risk for the mood disorder. Coined as clinical underwriting by US Financial before they were bought and thrown away by AXA Equitable, it dares to step out of the mold of underwriting by the manual and actually taking a close look at how the individual is doing, how they are coping with the challenge of real life and their own life.
In contrast are the vast majority of companies licensed to underwrite life insurance who go strictly by a manual. When an underwriter reads the application and sees a diagnosis of bipolar disorder, he refers to bipolar disorder in the manual and makes the decision to decline the application without further investigation. So many of the physicians, attorneys, CEO’s and other professionals we have helped started their experience with exactly this type of treatment. Never mind that they could very well be in charge of the life insurance company where the underwriter works, bipolar is bipolar and bipolar gets declined.
It floors me, probably no where near how it floors the clients, when this type of underwriting or lack of underwriting is used. As I was writing this I got a call from an executive with a major computer manufacturer who had just been rated by his auto and homeowners company for well controlled job related anxiety. He has never been hospitalized, lost time from work, had any social or family problems. This guy should get preferred or preferred plus.
Let’s review the general criteria for approval for bipolar life insurance and understand that this same criteria really applies to all 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? (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.
Bottom line. If your life is on track in spite of carrying the burden of a mood disorder, don’t let a life insurance agent or company convince you that you’re high risk. Stability is the key to rates that most life insurance agents will claim you can’t get.