This last year has been full of life insurance underwriting break throughs from major companies, especially in the area of cancer. In previous posts I’ve talked about the logic of this being tied to earlier detection and much better treatment options than have been available in the past. The real thrust is that underwriters are seeing a shift in mortality experience under certain circumstances that warrant a break for those seeking life insurance.

First was a company that decided it might be OK in early stage breast and prostate cancers to offer coverage immediately upon completion of successful treatment. In the past there has always been some waiting period after even successful treatment just to make sure it worked. I’m crashing in on 60 and for those my age or near it we lived through a time when people were thought to have been successfully treated for cancer, only to have everything go south not long after. That’s why life insurance companies were cautious about insuring people until they had some degree of certainty that the cancer was whipped.

That was followed by the first company ever to acknowledge watchful waiting on prostate cancer as a reasonable treatment. They restricted that just to men over 70, but having shopped that scenario for 15 years with an absolute NO response from every company every year, this is no small deal. I predicted at the time that some of these changes would catch on, not as marketing ploys, but as a recognition that mortality experience has changed with scientific and medical breakthroughs. It was followed not long after by a second company providing an offer on watchful waiting.

So approval immediately upon successful treatment is huge. That was followed by a company that said that preferred rates on several cancers would be available 10 years post treatment with no recurrence. Given that most cancer histories were previously relegated to no better than standard ever, again a monster move. Bold in life insurance underwriting doesn’t always take a lot of risk tolerance. Just like so many companies have caught on to the fact that while melanoma can most certainly kill you, an early stage, low grade melanoma can be just what makes a person a good risk. Unlike most of the melanoma cases that are found too late, someone with a successfully treated melanoma is going to be seeing a dermatologist twice a year forever. There is virtually no risk that skin cancer will be their demise.

Now comes a company stepping into a new area, low stage, low grade colon cancer. This may seem a bit restrictive but it is huge. Clients with this life insurance company who are over 60 and are 10 years post treatment for low stage and grade, especially in situ colon cancer can now get preferred rates.  Like all the other changes, not every case is going to fit, but these are absolute home runs when they do.

Bottom line. There are days when I swear life insurance companies are getting more stupid with each breath of air. Occasionally I have hope for areas like these where there was no hope before. If you have any questions or want to see if your cancer history might fit into one of these niches, call or email me (armed with your pathology report) directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.