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I’m working with husband and wife clients currently that plans on visiting Ukraine in the next few months, albeit Western Ukraine where the lack of action is the norm. So how does life insurance view this? It may not be a once in a life time visit, but it is once in a very long time to visit family that is getting old, and there is no intent to tour the country . The client assured me that they would be quite some distance from the fighting, 250 miles or so.

While that might make them comfortable, some 9000 people have died in that fighting and while I lean decidedly toward weeny, being that close to that much action isn’t my idea of a family reunion. Fortunately for them I am not the underwriter. Life insurance underwriters, in the absence of a company directive leaning toward further caution, use the State Department travel advisory system. In this case their most recent advisory for the region would put these folks in the sort of safe side of things. They aren’t in the Eastern provinces. They aren’t entering or leaving though Russia. No rockets have strayed that far from the war zone so it’s possible that life insurance is possible. These clients were even willing to exclude their travel, but most states don’t allow travel exclusions with life insurance.

But I’m guessing highly unlikely. Remember that airliners have been shot down over Ukraine and occasionally Russia has seen something to be gained by charging across the border (in the East), so with an abundance of caution and preferably not at all, life insurance underwriters are probably going to say no. I’ll know by early in the week.

This system of using State Department advisories would seem to be a prudent bench mark for life insurance, though I do remember finding it odd that the State Department left a travel advisory in effect for over 10 years after a tourist was murdered in Belize. It actually did affect life insurance underwriting, true over kill when you hold it up against a war zone, but no one left me in charge so it is what it is. It continues in affect to this day depending on the part of Belize you are visiting.

Bottom line. While I am far more likely to take to the beach in Belize than whatever it is you do in Ukraine other than visiting family, know that life insurance companies ask those foreign travel questions for a reason. Just fyi. There has been a move in some states to make it illegal to ask about foreign travel, but so far that hasn’t stuck real well. If you have questions call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.