I had a potential customer call a few weeks ago and after having gone through all the health questions with him, I let him know that I just needed a little more detail on his sleep apnea in order to shop it for life insurance appropriately. After he told me that he had been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea and was doing very well on a cpap, I asked him if the doctor, or sleep clinic had characterized the apnea and mild, moderate or severe. He admitted that it was something he didn’t know so I asked if he could call his doctor and find out, explaining that the difference from an underwriting standpoint could be important to what kind of offers we got.

I called back the next week since I hadn’t heard from him and he confessed that he had decided to go through an agent with American National at their preferred rate. I asked again about the characterization of his sleep apnea figuring if he got a preferred quote it must surely be mild. He said the other agent didn’t ask him about sleep apnea. In fact the other agent had asked almost no health questions other than height, weight and if he was on any medications. Now I know it’s awkward to ask a stranger about their health, but!!! how can you possibly provide a quote on life insurance and suggest that someone move ahead with an application based on that quote when you know almost nothing about them?

Even when a potential customer tries to bypass health questions by saying that they are in great health and have always been in great health, I always ask them to bear with me because asking the questions puts me at ease with the end quote. Once asked I know I’ve covered most of the possibilities that could jump up and change a quote. I knew this guy had sleep apnea because I asked him, amongst other questions, “Have you ever been diagnosed with or treated for asthma, emphysema, bronchitis, tuberculosis, SLEEP APNEA, or chronic respiratory disease?”

Every person shopping for life insurance has a goal of getting the best rate possible. That’s my goal when I buy life insurance from myself and my customers get the same treatment, but if I don’t ask the questions, some a lot tougher than history of sleep apnea, I can’t tell them with any confidence that my quote would be anything more than a wild guess.

So this other agent didn’t do his job and he lied when he quoted preferred rates because he didn’t have anything to base that on. When the application comes back approved at, more than likely, worse than standard rates the agent will lie to  him again and tell him that in light of the sleep apnea issue he might as well accept the American National approval. “Going somewhere else will just end with the same of a worse result.”

Bottom line. This is called bait and switch and agents that practice it are a filthy blemish on the life insurance industry. Anyway, when I explained it to the client he agreed to go ahead and get the information on his sleep apnea and let me shop it for the best rate. He admitted it did seem a little too good with the low rate and no health questions. If you have been the victim of bait and switch or have questions about whether you are being treated honestly, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.