Me pass up an opportunity to question a life insurance company stance at the very core of its’ self proclaimed heart? Not on your life or over my dead body.
USAA and MetLife are the self proclaimed most patriotic life insurance companies in the country. They scream it in their advertising. They ooze it in everything they do and say, except underwriting. I’ve gone off on Met’s stance on military more than once. Not that they don’t actually have the most liberal stance on active duty deployable service members, but it’s one of those deals where they are 95% on board with the military with no good reason for not going the other 5%. They are the only life insurance company that will write military members with orders to war zones. They only have two stipulations. You have to apply for the insurance and accept it before you leave. Reasonable enough. I do a lot of international term insurance for missionaries and getting an exam done overseas is tough and I expect that kind of interruption in your military duties in a war zone is probably asking a bit much, so OK.
But the 5% short comes from their other stipulation, one that is I think unconscionable if you are actively going after military business with a patriotic fervor. The fine print in their patriotic advertising says “This company won’t cover special forces.” I know a lot of people will jump to Met’s defense and say, Duh Ed! But wait. Underwriting is about risk of dying, mortality risk. If the company will gladly write the average American Army infantry or Marine that is getting shot at all the time and blown up by road side bombs at their best rate class if they medically qualify, why do the opt out of writing special forces all together. I’m not saying the job our Seals and other special forces do isn’t more dangerous, but from a risk standpoint they are claiming there is no occupational risk to general war zone service. So if the mortality risk for a Ranger or Seal is 10 times more than average in war zone operations, why not charge them more instead of patriotically cutting special forces out of the option.
But that’s not even what prompted my soap box stand today. I got a call from the wife of a Naval officer who had applied for life insurance through USAA. He was first quoted preferred rates until he completed his exam where the examiner asked about his family history. I’m not sure why USAA didn’t ask the question before giving him a preferred quote since his mother dying of breast cancer at age 57 means he gets dumped into the standard rate. Anyway, he was approved at standard, double what he was quoted and his wife came to me asking if we could do better. Even though I could easily have gotten him approved at MetLife, strangely enough their family history guidelines are identical. Never mind that there is no medical link between men and their mother’s breast cancer, so whacking someone at all is really out of line, but whacking someone all the way to standard is just plain wrong.
One of the unsung heroes of military advocacy is Prudential. They have participated in underwriting SGLI and when I ran this case by their underwriting department, they said preferred without blinking an eye, possibly preferred plus. And they don’t kill perfectly good business with antiquated family history guidelines.
I know it’s just my opinion, but in the world according to me if you’re going to claim patriotism as your lampstand then you should be fair about the way it shines. If you have any questions or have run into butt kicking family history guidelines, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.