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I very seldom “go off” on individual life insurance companies. Our experience in the impaired risk market is that company underwriting can go through cyclical changes, so we have learned to stay away from companies who aren’t being consistent until they get their legs back under them.

A problem arises when a new company comes on the impaired risk scene. They know all the right stuff to say to attract the independent agents that can help them break into the market, but until you’ve actually tried them out on a real live client, it’s a crap shoot.

Western Reserve Life western-reserve-life is a company that has fallen into this bait and switch, say whatever it takes to attract agents, mentality.

One of the things we depend on as agents are the trial offers we get from life insurance underwriters. In a nutshell, this is where we present a case informally and the underwriter says, barring any surprises, this is the rate that we should approve your client at. We work hard to do our homework on our end so that there aren’t any surprises once the case hits underwriting. What we don’t want to see is irrational behavior from an underwriting department.

Case in point. A man in his 30’s with multiple dui’s several years ago. He has cleaned up his act, doesn’t drink anymore and is by all accounts a stable family man and a productive member of society. He is, and we admitted this on the trial, on medications for mood stability. When we applied formally the case was declined by Western Reserve because the client is doing so well that his physician was recommending he be taken off of some of this medications. They declined him, in underwriter Kevin Rivera’s words, “because we don’t know how he will do when he isn’t on those medications”. Well crap. I bet his doctor thinks he’ll do just fine or he wouldn’t take him off of them.

So my client is really doing better than we presented in the trial in that he has outgrown the need for some of the medications, but the company penalized him, declined him anyway. The underwriter blamed it on the medical director, and actually the underwriter changed his story several times during our appeal process on their decision. They kept moving the target until we got tired of shooting at it.

Western Reserve is no longer on our list of “go to” companies for impaired risk business. Their grandiose claims of being a player in the market didn’t come through. The case above is just one of several where they waffled and declined when nothing changed from the trial to the application.

Bottom line. Fortunately we were able to place these cases elsewhere and get the insurance in force for the clients, except for the case above. Still working on that one.