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Pru rolled out a 16 page release on their new and improved underwriting guidelines in a number of areas. This comes on the heels of a much ballyhooed rate decrease that didn’t do squat for anyone under 50. Nevertheless there may be some morsels in here that will help someone get better rates.

First is aviation. I shared a few weeks ago that they were going to write home built aircraft owners without a flat extra as long as the private pilot has at least 50 hours in the home built. I still like that one even though it touches a pretty small group. They now say they will go best rate class on business jet pilots. Not that big a deal since several companies will do the same thing and remember these are private company pilots, not rent a jet pilots. They now say best rate class if a pilot is at least 30, has 1000 or more total hours and at least 100 hour in their current aircraft. Again, the same deal is available from other companies at a lower rate and without the strict stipulations.

They really are making a big deal out of the fact that they will go standard plus on stage 1 or 2 Papillary or Papillary-Follicular thyroid cancer upon completion of treatment. I haven’t had a chance to shop that, but my guess is that several companies would go standard and possibly standard plus with the same criteria. And with Pru’s rate “decrease” their standard plus would probably be left sucking wind.

They did gain some significant ground on family history. They have been the historical family history ogres for a long time with their best rate class requiring no parent or sibling deaths prior to age 70 due to cardiovascular, stroke, diabetes or cancer. Their second best rate, preferred, had the same guidelines but age 65 and standard plus finally got to age 60 where virtually every other company would have been preferred plus. Now they are at age 60 for preferred plus and they have dropped diabetes. Preferred they will actually allow one death prior to age 60 and standard plus is at the underwriter’s discretion. They have also changed their family history of cancer away from every kind of cancer to only those that have a high familial risk.

I also like their new written stance on elevated liver functions. They will go preferred plus if one of the three liver functions is no more than 4 times normal, and if 2 or even all 3 functions are no more than 2 times normal. This is assuming all other labs are normal, there aren’t any issues with alcohol abuse and they don’t have a history of liver disease.

They put on a brave face saying that a 67 year old female with type 2 diabetes since age 63, 5’4 and 186# with an A1c of 6.9 could get standard plus. Not a bad offer although with that late onset and good control I’m thinking Banner would also go standard plus and beat Pru decisively.

They did make a bold move on financial underwriting. Now up to age 40 qualifies for 35x annual income, 41-50 is 25x, 51-60 is 20x, and 61-70 is 10x. That definitely means if you can afford it you can get more coverage through Prudential.

They are still one of the best bets around for other than cigarette tobacco users. They will go standard plus non smoker even with positive nicotine in the labs for pipes, cigars, chew, nicotine patch or nicorette gum users and again, anything except cigarettes.

Bottom line. I’ll take every break I can find my customers and some of the things that Pru has thrown out in this release are tasty morsels.