Some years ago the life insurance underwriting world went into a tizzy because a study had come out insinuating that a person who had multiple basal cell carcinomas, a truly non lethal skin cancer, had a higher chance of having a melanoma, a truly lethal form of skin cancer.

This led most companies to treat multiple basal cell carcinomas more harshly than a single incidence. In most cases a single basal cell carcinoma would still be eligible for preferred plus rates as long as all other risk factors were good. With multiple cases (more than one) many companies changed their guideline rate to standard.

This stance has since softened and again most companies, even with multiple incidents, will still consider best rate class.

I worked on a case just recently where a client had a mole removed that “displayed dysplastic nevi”. Because the mole was benign we had expected the best rate class and were surprised when Savings Bank Life bumped the case one rate class due to a study that insinuated that a mole displaying dysplastic nevi could lead to a higher chance of melanoma. So, here we go again.

We shopped the case and found that the opinion is almost equally split on the subject. Many of the companies were still willing to consider their best rate class while some were going to offer no better than standard.

With a long history of working with clients with skin cancer I almost get the sense that insurance companies are trying to make more out of the possibilities than they need to. Even the two groups that I just mentioned, while some studies indicate a potential higher mortality, the truth is that unless they also live in Arizona, they may have a lower mortality risk than people who live in a sunshine laden place like the desert states.

Bottom line. It really comes down to my often espoused advice. If you have any kind of health history use an independent agent who can properly shop for you and make sure that you aren’t unnecessarily leaving one or two or three rate classes on the table.