It’s one of those days when a bit of clarification might just go a long ways. I have a couple of clients I am currently working on personal life insurance policies who have mood disorders and came to me looking for the best possible rate in their situation. Everyone, including me would like the best possible rate for my situation to be the best rate class that companies have to offer, but that isn’t always the case. Can I find you a better rate than other agents given the same information? Almost always. Can I get you the best life insurance rate class a company has to offer even though you have a mood disorder? Yes I can. Can I get that best rate class every time? I wish, but no. I can still beat the competition but it won’t always be at preferred plus or preferred best or preferred elite life insurance rates.

These clients wanted to know how the life insurance underwriters came to the conclusion that they should get preferred and standard rates respectively, rather than preferred best. First let me say that life insurance company best rate classes are given out pretty selectively. It’s important to know that you are competing with the youngest, healthiest and least complicated applicants for those rates. To put that in context with a mood disorder, it really needs to be a mood disorder that has had minimal impact on your life. It needs to be mild in nature and needs to be something that hasn’t led to hospitalization or suicidal thoughts. Generally what would fit the description best is a situational depression that is resolved within six months or so with a fairly mild medication such as Zoloft or Prozac. Even if there is a recurrence with a new situation, as long as treatment is short term and the mood problem, whether anxiety or depression isn’t debilitating or severe, best rate classes can still be attained with some insurance companies. Generally adult onset ADD, although chronic in nature, if well controlled is not a rateable mood disorder.

So the subtle, yet significant differences for the two clients I started this post with are that #1 is considered to have chronic anxiety issues, having been treated almost continually since 2001. Even though the medication is one of the light weight meds, the fact that the issue has not resolved outside of the need for medication is enough to get bumped to preferred or standard plus life insurance rates. The other was a shorter term anxiety, only three years, but was being treated with two medications and one of those, Lamictal, is normally used for severe depression or bipolar disorder so is viewed by life insurance underwriters as likely being an attempt to control a more severe anxiety. Understand that both of these examples are people who have never been hospitalized for their mood disorders, never had any suicidal thoughts, and have both had long term stable marriages and careers.

I get why they think they are being treated, possibly, a little unfairly by life insurance underwriters, but let’s be real. Anything standard or better rate class in life insurance is considered normal. There is a difference between situational and chronic and mild and severe.

Bottom line. We can’t all get preferred best rates, but as life insurance clients we should always make sure our agents are doing all they can to get us the best approved rate class possible in our situation. I think we should ask for accountability also in that the agent should be able to show what was done to come to the company and rate they concluded was best for you. If there isn’t a paper trail leading to their conclusion they can’t really say they did the job. If you have any questions or feel you haven’t received a life insurance fair shake when it comes to your mood disorder or other impairment, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.

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