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In the business of serious impaired risk life insurance, I celebrate each victory, and never take it for granted that the next one will be the same or end in an approval. We just got another HIV+ life insurance approval, this time for an executive in a large city government. It’s hard not to rush to the conclusion that it’s time to dive head first into declaring the victory won, but every day I get calls and in spite of clear guidelines of what it takes to get approved published independently and in my blog posts a huge number of times, many call that don’t qualify. The criteria are tight and not meeting one of the guidelines is almost always the difference between potential approval of life insurance and decline.

I love it when a client and I set a life insurance approval benchmark, but I am careful not to pull a George Bush. Because of the nature of life insurance companies and underwriters I don’t believe we can ever say mission accomplished. We learn from each approval and decline and apply that knowledge to the ongoing mission, but I am prudent in telling clients with severe impairments like HIV, that the rug has just been laid down by life insurance for approvals in the last year and a half. It’s been jerked out from under the process once and laid down again. We now have approvals on that rug, but we need to take victories where we can and don’t dawdle until the rug gets jerked again.

I would describe the current state of HIV life insurance as fragile. It appears right now that if you are, in fact, a poster child for their criteria it should lead to an approval. That’s been our experience. Just a little bit off and you are a decline. There just isn’t any wiggle room. Our most recent HIV life insurance approval was a smoker and while it was approved the underwriters made it very clear through pricing that they are aware that smoking and HIV treatment don’t go together and in fact many studies have shown that if you smoke and are being treated for HIV you are putting more of a burden on the treatment than you would if you don’t smoke.

Bottom line. I wouldn’t look for continued approvals for smokers with HIV. The underwriters appear to be far too skittish about the combination for me to try it again soon. My description of the process being fragile means that I need to steer clear of any marginal cases and in fairness to clients, not give hope for an approval if you aren’t a poster child. I look forward to the day when these will be just another application, but for now they take the attention to detail that any new underwriting breakthrough does. If you have questions, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.