The standard guideline for life insurance underwriting of gastric bypass surgery has generally been two years out from surgery and one year of weight stability.

In other words most companies don’t really want to participate in your mortality post surgery, especially during the dramatic weight loss period. This is the period that most complications occur. And the second half, one year of weight stability is simply to make sure you don’t learn some stomach stretching exercise and overcome the surgery through shear will power. It apparently isn’t an easy thing to do and most bypassees are heavily invested in the results staying positive, but over the years I have worked with a few clients that have managed to overcome their new, tiny stomach.

I recently, kind of back to back, worked a couple of cases where those guidelines were lost with a new logic by one of the companies that has always been good with obesity and gastric bypass issues. One case was 7 months out from surgery and another was at 1 year. Both had achieved maximum weight loss and had been stable for only two months. This company decided to treat both of them as if the weight had been lost through diet and exercise by adding half of the weight loss back in and basing the rate class on that weight. This ended up with one client being tentatively quoted at preferred plus and the other at standard plus, phenomenal compared to the postpones or highly rated offers they got from all the other companies I shopped it to. Being skeptical I sent both offers back for another review and confirmation, and they were confirmed as likely outcomes.

It’s too early to declare this as the new standard for gastric bypass underwriting, but there seems to be a crack in the ceiling that’s worth beating on.

Bottom line. For me there is the lesson that I keep learning over and over. Every case is worth shopping. You never know when a company is going to change their stance on some impairment.

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