I was encouraged by a client to contact Kristi Schmitt Burr, the executive director of the Basal Cell Carcinoma Nevus Syndrome Life Support Network, BCCNS.org. I have 14+ years experience in working with clients who fall into the impaired risk category of life insurance. That simply means they have health challenges that cause problems for most life insurance agents and companies.
Most of the skin cancer issues have been pretty straight forward basal cell, squamous cell and melanoma. The ongoing debate in our industry about whether multiple basal cell carcinomas should be a rateable life insurance mortality risk has been one of my many battles. Life insurance underwriters quite often take a knee jerk reaction to studies, in this case one several years ago that claimed that multiple basal cell instances made the person at higher risk for melanoma. That may be true, but my argument that any extra risk was far outweighed by the fact that these people were now regularly checked finally made sense to a group of companies and preferred plus rates were once again available.
Then came my client with BCCNS, a challenge of a different level, but arguable on the same plane with life insurance underwriters. While I knew that I wasn’t going to talk underwriters into the best rate class, the challenge was to find underwriters who would offer fair rates, and more importantly, not decline those of you with BCCNS. We were able to do that and my client felt strongly enough about it that he encouraged me to reach out the membership of BCCNSLSN.
Forgive me for sounding like I wasn’t talking to everyone with skin cancer issues out there, but the first three paragraphs are an article for the organizations newsletter. But more on this issue of life insurance agents and companies that make too much of skin cancer issues without researching it and talking to underwriters and shopping completely to death. Since there are so few agents that truly work their tail off to get you the best rate class you can possibly get, the chances of you ending up with “the other” kind of agent is high. High as in more often than finding the right agent almost every time.
If you have basal cell carcinoma nevus syndrome or have had a reasonably low stage and grade melanoma the chances are, unless you read my blog before starting, that you will end up with an agent who will get you an over priced policy or get you declined when neither of those should happen. There are agents, bless their hearts, that think the job is about finding clients and filling out applications, not having a clue what the answers to those application questions mean to an underwriter. They also don’t have a clue that there are huge differences between one company and another in how they view the exact same health issue. And some of them, some a lot of you have met, simply don’t have a clue at all. They took the job because someone convinced them that life insurance agents make a good living and you can work your own hours.
So, let’s nail the lid on this. A single instance of basal cell or squamous cell carcinoma (unless it was an unusually high stage and grade) of the skin should not affect you at all on life insurance rates. Multiple instances, say 5 over some years, should also be treated without any affect on your rate. Melanoma at a low stage and grade should be able to get standard plus rates just 3-6 months after successful treatment. Moles with dysplaxtic nevi shouldn’t rated for one or two over some years. More than that can be standard rates. BCCNS, as with my client who had 30 some instances, should be able to get standard rates.
Bottom line. By far the majority of skin cancer issues shouldn’t impact you much, if at all on the cost of life insurance. If you have questions or would like to discuss your specific situation, please call or email me directly. Let’s talk.