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Considering the turmoil of the economic meltdown that was 2008, it’s always good to find and hold onto bright spots. Here is just a quick review of a few of those bright spots coming from a most unlikely source, life insurance underwriters.

For years there has only been one company that would allow their best rate class for well controlled, treated high blood pressure. For those of us who deal with this issue and watch companies inflict a 30 percent hit on those who are often treating borderline blood pressure issues, to now have two companies that will allow treatment coupled with good control is a home run.

Another health concern that took a turn back toward sanity this year was the issue of basal cell carcinoma and specifically the underwriting treatment of someone who has had multiple cases. A few years back there was a study that showed there might be a link between those with multiple basal cell cases and the potential for melanoma, the deadly skin cancer cousin.  At the time most companies changed their underwriting of multiple basal cell cases to best case standard rates, about 100% higher than their former stance that basal cell was not a rateable issue. This year many companies reversed course on that decision and have once again decided that basal cell, whether a single incidence or multiple, shouldn’t impact a person’s rate.

Diabetes made some headway this year. Without going into all the detail it needs, suffice it to say that there has been some loosening of the standard guidelines for earlier onset type 2 diabetes and some significant changes to the guidelines for type 1 diabetes. All of these changes have one thing in common and that is the assumption of good control.

Anyone who has followed my rantings about life insurance know that this has been a year of significant gains in underwriting of bipolar disorder. Hinerman Group has successfully placed more cases this year than any previous year and all indications are that the trend will continue. Again, there shouldn’t be any assumption that life insurance is a guaranteed thing with bipolar, but given good compliance, good control, and a level or work and social stability, good rates are achieveable.

Bottom line. The headway made in 2008 is a trend that we expect to see continue. Some of it is attributable to changes in insurance company change in philosophy. Much of it is attributable to the growth and change we’ve achieved on our end. We are doing a better job of understanding what will move an underwriting decision and also in forging new underwriting relationships and solidifying those who we have counted on for years.