I’ve talked often about the fact that easily 99% of life insurance companies underwrite by the book, the underwriting manual, and for most of them it hasn’t changed since we only had 49 states. If the word bipolar is on the application you are declined. If you’re not bipolar but take, for instance, Lamictal or Abilify, you are declined because those drugs are most often used for bipolar disorder. If it’s in the book it might as well be written on stone tablets.
If you have type 1 diabetes it used to be that no companies would approve your life insurance application except for US Financial, the clinical underwriting company. If you had good control and no collateral health issues you could count on an approval from them…..until AXA Equitable gobbled them up and turned them into methane. We were then left in a vacuum until recently. There is movement in the underwriting 1% and it is gaining momentum. It’s not there for everyone yet but the fact that life insurance approvals for type 1 diabetes are showing up at all is worth shouting from the rooftops about.
Let me just hit four recent approvals that can kind of set the tone for what I’m seeing.
1. First was an adult onset type 1 39 year old. She had been diagnosed 5 years prior and took it by the horns, a veritable poster child of compliance and control. Once on treatment her A1c has never been above 6.5. She uses an insulin pump but I have been told by underwriters that if someone is compliant with their monitoring it doesn’t make a difference. She doesn’t have any collateral health issues and has things like eyesight and kidneys checked on a regular basis. Approved at affordable rates.
2. The next was a guy age 31 was diagnosed as a juvenile age 4. I can tell you that the majority of responding companies didn’t want to quote because to them it made a difference that the diagnosis was age 4 instead of 5. But again, with the help of parents in the early years and then becoming a model patient on his own with A1c’s always below 7 and no collateral issues at all, one company came through. Again approved at affordable rates. We were told by the one company that approved him that they only approved juvenile onset if the person was age 30 or over.
3. The next one surprised me. This guy was 24 years old and had been diagnosed at age 15. I guess I don’t need to keep repeating myself. Suffice it to say that compliance, control and no collateral issues are key. I had companies fighting for this case. Where the others might only see 2 or 3 trial offers (or 1), 7 of 8 companies responding on this one quoted affordable rates and the best of those is now in force.
4. After case #2 above I had in my head that juvenile onset had to be age 30 or older, but when I shopped a 29 year old with onset age 6 and all systems go on control, I got four offers and we placed the best of those type 1 diabetes quotes in force.
Not all of you are on that list and I wish that weren’t true, but there’s movement. I can’t do juveniles who have type 1 diabetes which is probably number one on my wish list with companies I work with. Someday.
Bottom line. I don’t know that we’ll ever see any movement in the 99%, but impaired risk life insurance isn’t their market. That makes my day easier waking up knowing that 99% of the competition won’t show up and I represent the other 1% as an independent agent. If you have any questions or believe you meet the approval criteria above but have been declined, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.