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There is probably no one more prevalent issue that affects life insurance underwriting more than weight. With 30+% of our country meeting the criteria for being obese, face it, every application we get has a 1 in 3 chance of build and BMI being an underwriting issue.

We’ve had help recently on the lower end of this spectrum, people who are overweight, but wouldn’t be consider obese. Genworth and ING Reliastar have recently reworked their standard build chart and made their better rate classes available to people who would never have had that opportunity. The fact that they are also two of the most competitive term life insurance companies makes that an even bigger coup.

Just to put this in context let’s compare a few male preferred plus builds for Genworth and American General. At 5’6″ American General is 174 and Genworth is 186. At 5’10” the difference is between 195 and 209.
At 6’2″ it’s 217 and 233. When you look at the entire build chart, on average you have to be 4″ taller with American General to get the same rate as Genworth. This is huge. This finally does cut some slack for big boned guys or guys that work out a lot. From a body mass index viewpoint this puts their preferred plus weight requirements right on the line between overweight and obese.

Of course it goes without saying that everything else has to be preferred plus also. There also continues to be great values out their for people who are obese, even morbidly obese as long as they have not been caught yet by all of the health issues that way too much weight can bring.

Some years ago when I covered an entire season of the reality TV series Biggest Loser I was able to show, from an insurance perspective, how the rates changed as the contestants dropped weight. We saw people getting standard rates at builds like 5’4, 240, 5’10, 278 and 6’2, 311.

We saw people who started the show completely not insurable due to weight reach points like 6′, 390 and be able to get decent rates on life insurance.

Again, keep in mind that these insurable weights are dependent on health. If you have diabetes or heart disease things get tougher, but no impossible.

Bottom line. Don’t assume you can’t get life insurance because of your weight. A young lady who is 5’4, 280 got some great rates just this week through us and had been declined by her regular insurance company. If you have questions or need to find out what rates might be for you, call or email me directly.