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In Job 12:11 it says “Does not the ear test words, as the palate tastes its food?” When a life insurance agent gives you a quote that you know sounds a little too good, do you question it or set yourself up for disappointment by choosing to believe something that, deep down, you really know isn’t accurate?

It’s OK to tell an agent to back up their quote with something from the company they are suggesting. Two things I share fairly often are copies of company underwriting guidelines and copies of underwriting trial quotes that show to a client that I’m not just throwing out low ball quotes in hopes of snaring their business. The quotes are based and formulated from facts and backed up by the company.

Let’s pick this apart a little. Say you have presented your health history to an agent and you are treated for high blood pressure. The agent quotes the best rate class with Savings Bank Life, one of the most competitive companies out there. The approval, if the blood pressure is well controlled, will actually come back at preferred, their second best rate.

Most customers I’ve talked to have heard or believe that high blood pressure treatment will affect their rate, so if you had questioned this agent up front, he or she would not have been able to back up the quote with either SBLI’s underwriting which states for their best rate class, “Blood Pressure: No treatment, past or present, 135/85 up to age 60, 145/90 age 61 and over”. They certainly would not have been able to produce a trial or quick quote from SBLI underwriting saying that blood pressure treatment is OK at their best rate because it clearly isn’t.

If you had been fortunate enough to have an independent agent who knew their underwriting they could have quoted Banner Life, “Blood Pressure: Currently well controlled with or without treatment, with no readings in the past two years greater than 136/86”, or Minnesota Life, “Blood Pressure: Must be better than 135/85 with or without treatment”. Both companies distinguish themselves in simple underwriting by offering their best rate class for treated blood pressure, where the competition is a full rate class behind, 20% to 30% higher.

If there is the chance of a 20% to 30% error on something as simple as blood pressure treatment, consider the chance for egregiously wrong quotes if an agent doesn’t consult with underwriters before quoting something like arrhythmia or type 1 diabetes.

But the point, and I should get back to it, is that you as a life insurance customer are completely justified in asking an agent to show you some kind of proof that, in the absence of some information neither of you knew about, they can come through with the rate they quoted. Really, we usually know if the rate we’re being quoted is just a little too good and while it might feel good to think we might get those rates, it feels bad when we don’t and especially bad when we find out that the agent should have known that to start with.

Bottom line. The proof in life insurance is in the approval, but before you commit to an agent or a company there is a couple of ways to get pre-proof. Test the words of the agent.