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With most life insurance companies the idea of being approved for life insurance post CAD event is laughable at best. By far the majority of life insurance companies would rather you be someone else’s client no matter what the event was, a heart attack (MI), a stent placement with no heart attack, or bypass surgery. I would like to make 5 points that will help you understand underwriting for post CAD life insurance acquisition.

  1. There is a myth that says that the longer you wait after the CAD event, the better your chances of getting life insurance. The truth is that your best chance of getting life insurance is between 6 months and a year after and as soon as you have completed a post procedure (stent or bypass) stress test. That post procedure cardiac workup is essential because it will show if there is any damage to the heart and if so, how much.
  2. Another reason to pursue your life insurance sooner rather than later is that if you have coronary artery disease, in spite of aspirin and statins, there is always the chance of a second event. With a second event life insurance underwriters assume that the CAD is chronic and if they will approve you it will be at a much higher rate than you could have obtained with just one event in your medical records. If you have a third event, and keep in mind that this can include stents completely in the absence of a heart attack, you are pretty much toast with almost all life insurance companies.
  3. With multiple events we can still get business life insurance through international underwriters but it will likely be offered with an exclusion for all cardiac related deaths. So the good news as a CEO or executive is that you can still get life insurance for business purposes, but at a high cost. If they do agree to cover all causes of death including cardiac it will come at a premium. So again, the good news is that if you are up against an unequivocal need such as collateral for a loan or key man coverage that the board of directors insists on, it can be acquired even at the last minute after you’ve been decline by other life insurance companies.
  4. Age makes a difference. Most life insurance underwriters agree that a cardiac event before age 50 isn’t a harbinger of a low risk future. There would be a preference for closer to 60 if there isn’t any damage as measured by the LVEF (ejection fraction) on your post event cardiac work up. There is also the swing factor of family history. If, in your immediate family, there has been a history of cardiac events and/or deaths it is given weight even if that or those family members abused themselves by smoking and being obese or being obese and having diabetes.
  5. And the last point is to smoking. If you smoke and have a cardiac event and continue to smoke you aren’t going to win the favor of any life insurance underwriter. They all want to see prudent anti CAD action on the proposed insured’s part and continuing to smoke is going to wave the big red flag of decline. With the business insurance described above it could still be obtained but it would certainly be at a much higher cost and almost without exception it would exclude cardiac related death.

Bottom line. With modern medical ways of treating patients post CAD event life insurance underwriters have been able to cut some slack, but as with all impaired risk life insurance the factors of control of the disease and full compliance with medical treatment are mandatory. If you have questions or would like to discuss how to increase your chances of getting life insurance post CAD event, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.