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It’s no secret that by far the majority of my non private pilot clients have been declined for life insurance before they came to me. There is just something about being declined that is personal, a little humiliating, maybe scary and really ticks people off. “What do you mean I’m not insurable”?

I had an interesting client call over the weekend. Physically or medically speaking he is a perfect specimen but he’s had some issues over the years with anxiety. According to him he is much more well controlled now that he is on medication. He also sees a psychiatrist. He had applied for life insurance through a broker he knew who represented Guardian Life and was declined. According to him the broker then shopped it through every conceivable company and failed to get an offer. He also said that Guardian had indicated that the information they used to justify the decline was in his psychiatrist’s records.

We talked at length about his anxiety issues and what he thought might be in his psychiatrist’s records that was so egregious as to lead to a decline. I asked him how his agent had gone about shopping his case to other companies and he really didn’t have much insight there. We were able to identify several things that could have been either taken out of context or taken in the right context, but were handled or presented in the wrong way. I told him that in order to review his case and get an idea if he has a future in life insurance approvals I would need a summary from his psychiatrist and possibly even the actual records. If you’ve been declined due to something in your medical records, there is no substitute for digging in to them and finding out what the problem is.

Well, the plot thickened and got a little clearer all at the same time today when the broker that he had been working with called me. He said his client had emailed him a link to a post I had written a few years ago that basically made a case for a decline being a great place to start. The upside of the decline is you get all the skeletons out of the closet. With very few exceptions there is a company out there that won’t be in the least bit disturbed by your skeleton, at least not to the point of declining your life insurance.

I was relieved that the agent wasn’t calling to tell me to back off from his client. He had actually read the post and wanted to know if I could add any insight into how this ended up being declined by Guardian and then informally declined by a bunch of other companies. So I went through the entire process with the agent. The case was a little complicated for him because the client is a friend and the underwriting issues were in psychiatric records, something that can be a little sensitive. The client had specifically asked his agent and friend to not go there. I’m thinking it may contain information that isn’t necessarily scarey, but may be embarrassing.

Anyway, the whole thing started off kind of gut shot due to someone’s error. Insurance companies almost never want to see psychiatrist’s records. They would prefer to have a summary of diagnosis and treatment written by the psychiatrist. It’s not that they don’t want to know if someone is crazy, but they really don’t want to know everything that has been talked about. In this case Guardian asked for a summary and the doctor sent them the actual records. Given the information in the records he was declined.

After the gut shot the agent then shopped this case without asking to see the records because his friend didn’t want him to. So he shopped it blind and had to tell the story as he knew it and end with Guardian knowing all of that but declining because of what was in the records. All of the positive stuff that the client said and even the negative stuff should not have led to a decline, but when you thrown out a perfectly insurable story and end it with he was declined after someone read his records, well…..

Bottom line. A decline is a good place to start unless the agent just charges ahead without knowing the facts. Sensitive or not, the information that led to the decline has to be given to the agent that is working for you. This case could have gone a whole different direction handled correctly. If you have been declined and feel that the decline came due to poor handling by your agent, give me a call or email me directly. Let’s talk.