I have written in the past about life insurance underwriting on type 2 diabetes and also on heart disease. I think I have been very clear about the fact that life insurance underwriters are adamant about good control of diabetes and also we’ve discussed the problematic underwriting of the combination of diabetes and heart disease.

We’ll see where current studies guide diabetics and how underwriters react, but one recent study suggests that type 2 diabetes, well controlled or not, results in a high occurrence of heart disease.

Heart attacks and strokes are the leading cause of death among type 2 diabetics and the ADA suggests that the rate of death among diabetics due to heart disease is possibly as high as 75%.

All of that is to say that perhaps life insurance underwriters are putting to much emphasis on driving glucose numbers down, possibly putting too high an emphasis on a low hbA1c. Current studies would indicate that may be the case, but don’t look for underwriters to jump on the bandwagon until more conclusive results are brought forward to back up the initial findings. I can see any changes going one or two ways. They may become less stringent about glucose levels, but may adjust mortality tables to reflect the high occurrence of heart disease in diabetics.

Currently the most critical underwriting factors for diabetes are age of onset, level of control as measured by the hbA1c, and any complications that have manifested themselves due to the diabetes such as neuropathy, retinopathy and heart disease. The best underwriting and rates would go to late onset (after age 50), an hbA1c of 6.5 or under and no complications.

Bottom line. The studies throw out some pretty sobering news and also, I think, some very useful news for those who have been battling to drive down their glucose levels. I’ll keep you posted as to any changes we see in underwriting guidelines, but as I said, I suspect those changes will be slow in coming.