Although I would never say never, in general the major mood disorders such as bipolar disorder and chronic depression are hard to get approved at preferred best rates. We’ve successfully shot that shot in the past and hope to again, but it takes a truly exceptionally well treated and stable case to garner a best rate class.

Not so with the less egregious and usually less debilitating junior mood disorder cousins such as situational depression, anxiety disorder and attention deficit disorder with or without hyperactivity. Because these conditions are less complicated and more easily treated, leading a stable, productive life without extreme ups and downs is more the norm than the exception. With a number of companies this is a direct route to the top two rate classes, preferred plus and preferred.

The key to that outcome is “with a number of companies (the right ones)”. I’ve often made of point of holding up the the big property casualty companies such as State Farm, Farmers, Nationwide, Allstate and Farm Bureau as not being among that number. I understand that when you have a trust level with your car/home insurance agent and he tells you that he also writes life insurance, it makes it easy to go that direction. What most of those agents don’t or won’t tell you is that they know almost nothing about life insurance or life insurance underwriting. The other thing they don’t tell you because they probably don’t even know is that their company’s life insurance underwriting is extremely conservative and done strictly by the book. This leaves no allowance for a difference between chronic depression or situational depression. Depression is the operative word and drives the result, almost never a good one.

And I don’t want people to think I just have it in for anything with the word Farmers attached to it. The truth is that out of all of the insurance companies licensed to sell life products, there are only a handful that specialize in life insurance and underwriting it right up to the edge of aggressive. These are the impaired risk life insurance underwriting companies that we depend on to step out ahead of the competition.

I spoke with a prospective client this morning who has very well controlled bipolar disorder and was declined by State Farm without even ordering medical records. We’re currently shopping that case and I’ll keep you posted on that. You know if they decline something without even looking at medical records, that’ s their stance, not their underwriting opinion.

Bottom line. I suspect in our world today that more of us are suffering (at least to a small extent) from at least one of the minor mood disorders than not. It’s not a mortality issue. It’s a coping mechanism. It shouldn’t be punished if the treatment works.