Some life insurance underwriters are easily frightened. It really seems they are too busy “underwriting” to really study the cases they are considering and when they are drawn out of their comfort zone, well, they just go screaming into the dark.

I wrote some months back about how we had shopped a case of bipolar disorder where the client/patient was taking Lamictal. One of my “go to” companies for bipolar came back with a “not interested” response. Curious as to how that happened I spoke with the underwriter and she said that her trial offer had clearly stated that the offer was good only if the client was not on anti-psychotic medications.

I forwarded several articles showing that Lamictal is not an anti-psychotic and actually an anti-seizure medication. Finally with the aid of the medical director we were able to get the policy approved as applied for.

Now I am shopping a case where the client is being treated for depression with Abilify, a drug many of you have seen on TV recently as the new drug on the block for bipolar disorder. There was a clear division in underwriting opinions between those who have heard of Abilify’s use for depression and those who watch too much TV.

Genworth’s response was just the tip of the downward spiral with “Minimum Table C due to depression treated with Abilify (schizophrenia treatment)”. West Coast Life went a little deeper with “Probable decline, as the main use of Abilify is for schizophrenia.” Then several companies took the innocent until proven guilty route, “assuming there is no history of bipolar disorder, suicide attempts/ideation or major depression criticisms, the best offer available would be Standard Plus.

It’s a long ways between standard plus and decline or even table C. And this kind of knee jerk reaction even happens when you answer their worst fears question up front. I put in the trial that the client wasn’t diagnosed with or treated for anything other than post partum depression. I also put in the trial that the client is a physician. Not a lot of schizophrenic docs out there that I’ve heard of.

Bottom line. That’s why I shop them and why I ask the questions up front and send back up documentation with trials if a drug can be used for more than one issue.

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