There is good news and bad news for me and my life insurance clients. The good news is that there are a few constants that we can hold fast to and take to the bank year after year in life insurance underwriting. It seems that those that qualify for the best rate class always seem to have the same qualities of being proactive about health, active, eating healthy, and seeing their doctor on a reasonably regular basis (does anyone really get an annual checkup?).

The other constant is more elusive but keeps me and my clients ahead of the life insurance curve year after year, that constant being change. There is never a period that goes by that doesn’t bring a change in life insurance underwriting from one company or another. Yesterday a company whose tobacco use guidelines have been very clear, for life insurance purposes you either use or you don’t, changed their guidelines to allow not just an occasional cigar, but occasional chew and other types of nicotine as long as the cotinine test is negative. Mind you this doesn’t swing some large door open because there are other companies that have allowed non smoker rates in these situations (most notably cigar smokers), but this is the first that has allowed the break in life insurance underwriting to extend all the way to their best rate class.

A client example that popped up immediately was someone who uses chew probably no more than half a dozen times a year and is treated for blood pressure. He was paying non smoking rates at the third best non smoking rate class through another company and we will be able to move him, three years after putting the first policy in force, to best rate class with the new underwriting. He will be paying $1400 a year less (30% less) and have a brand new term period. This opportunity wasn’t available when he took out the first policy. It wasn’t even available a month ago, but thanks to electronic underwriting releases, we can get the changes in real time, check them against our data base and have them in front of clients the same day.

There is a short term and a long term credo that drive how I interact with my life insurance clients and it ties back into the constants and the change. 1. I don’t get paid anything for coming in second. I make sure that my potential life insurance companies see and hear the best rate they can attain. It may mean I don’t get paid quite as much, but you do the math. First page is best for the client and I make something. Second place isn’t as good for the client and I make zip. 2. Then comes customer service and reviewing what’s in force constantly and that ensures my clients are always paying the best rate and also ensures some other agent doesn’t beat me to the good news by helping my customer when it should have been me. If I don’t stay in touch and be the first to let them know about change, I’ve relegated myself to 2nd place should any further business be done.

Bottom line. If it was easy everyone would be doing it and a few charismatic agents would be great at it, but there is nothing simple about balancing a few thousand clients and growing with constant change and changing. If you have questions about some underwriting that may have held you back in the past, whether family history, tobacco use, or well controlled blood pressure or cholesterol, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.