Big giant disclaimer. We have found several highly rated US life insurance companies that will write foreign nationals living in the US and foreign nationals living outside the US. I have kept this fairly low key until I worked through a few cases, one in Jamaica, one in India and one in Bermuda. This isn’t going to work for every foreign national and it will absolutely not work if you try to game the system.
US life insurance companies are not looking to expand their cheap term life insurance market to every world citizen or for that matter, they really aren’t looking to do huge volumes of foreign national life insurance business. But, within parameters, it’s available.
So let’s talk parameters in general. Ideally companies would like to see business ties to the US such as an international buy/sell life insurance policy we just put in force where one partner is in the US and the other in India. The stronger the ties to the US, the more companies we can look to and the better the opportunities.
This may seem elitist, but in the absence of business ties to the US, some companies insist that the foreign national clients be professionals or high net worth individuals. We’re talking about physicians, attorneys, CEO’s, executives, large business owners, professors and wealthy folks. What we aren’t talking about is construction workers and tour bus drivers. The are a couple of logical reasons for this. First, just as US citizens do, insurable interest and financial justification have to be documented. This isn’t too hard for a US citizen since beneficiaries and owners of policies are easy to verify and financial justification is easy to verify with an employer.
The other reason is the cost of underwriting. It takes a life insurance company 4-5 years to break even after underwriting and placement costs on a policy here. They can’t afford to have a break even scenario 8-10 years out due to the increased cost of underwriting an international case, unless there is sufficient premium to offset the cost of doing the business. Professional and high net worth clients are generally looking for large, as in $millions, life insurance policies and very often are looking for the advantages of permanent (universal life or whole life) policies versus term life insurance.
There has to be a reason for the person to need a US policy versus what is available in their own country. One client needed a dividend paying whole life insurance policy to fund their infinite banking concept. The product wasn’t available in their country but was through a US company. In another situation a resident of Jamaica with a history of prostate cancer was not able to get a reasonable offer through Pan American, a big player in the Caribbean and Central America. We were able to get coverage for this business man at 25% of the cost he would have had to pay through Pan American.
A potential client has to come to grips with the process. This is the process as I know it with all of the bumps in the road smoothed out. It can vary from company to company and it can vary depending on what country you are from. They have to sign the application and take the exam in the US. They need to have a mailing address in the state where that occurs for billing and notice purposes. They need to have a US bank account to pay premiums from. They need to bring a copy of all of their medical records with them when they come to apply. They need to make third party verification of their finances available. They need to provide a copy of their passport, a copy of their driver’s license and a copy of any national ID and tax ID from their home country. They have to return to the US to accept the approved policy and sign for it. No fudging. Companies will ask for proof that the delivery was done in the US.
Sounds like a lot of work? Well, it has costs and it takes time to acquire medical records and all, but I’ve got customers that say it’s worth it. They got what they wanted at the price they wanted and the cost of the process above wasn’t unreasonable for them.
For those who are in countries where US companies won’t do business, as long as the policy has a business interest, we can still get it through other avenues. Professional athletes life or disability insurance or multi national business insurance policies or international business policies are available with high limits of up to $100 million.
Bottom line. Hinerman Group isn’t a global company. My office is in Colorado. But we have open doors with some US and foreign insurance companies to write just about anywhere in the world. Who knows, maybe even in outer space. If you have questions, please call or email me directly.