I recently came across a new underwriting twist that would apply primarily to mood disorders such as chronic depression and bipolar disorder, viewing a medication change as a negative event.

No doubt there are times when a medication change does accompany a downward spiral of some degree and those events, taken in context, will cause at least some underwriting setback. It is also very common for med changes to occur during periods of stability and successful treatment, making adjustments that can improve stability slightly or keep the stability already gained with fewer side effects.

Anyone who has followed the treatment path of someone with bipolar disorder knows very well that it is a practice of gains by inches. Prescribing the home run the first shot is highly unlikely although it happens.

The real underwriting question here is whether starting a new med should be viewed as a negative, a setback. One underwriter I spoke to said that the reinsurance guides seem to indicate the answer is yes while his common sense didn’t match up with that assumption, leaving an area for reasonable consideration.

Bottom line. The best we can hope for with any life insurance underwriter is a mind clear of assumptions, a mind open to some events being positive even when the manual says negative. Fortunately we work with several of those and what are roadblocks in many cases can end up being just detours.