Allow me one more time to bemoan the good old days when US Financial Life Insurance was still roaming the earth. They doled out good news in life insurance underwriting in their short life span than any other company around.

It was called clinical underwriting. Just as a review, most underwriting is done with what I call the bucket method. This is most prevalent when companies dish out declines without looking any further than the application. If the word bipolar disorder is there, decline. Heart attack, type 1 diabetes, cancer, decline! Everyone with that impaired risk is thrown into the same bucket and thrown out with the trash.

It was US Financial that showed us that not all heart attacks or heart bypass surgeries are created equal. Where one company might decline or highly rate everyone who had a bypass surgery, USF wanted to know how they were doing post bypass. Did they incorporate lifestyle changes? Did they lose that extra 75 pounds that their heart was working overtime to support? Were they compliant with doctors orders and recommendations for followup? Were they still eating greasy double cheese burgers for breakfast?

US Financial started the notion that there was a huge difference in mortality risk between someone who takes care of themselves and those who don’t. Most companies ignored it, but some have quietly made the change. That’s how we started getting so many life insurance approvals for people with bipolar. They finally figured out that well controlled bipolar very often means the person is stable and high functioning. A good mortality risk.

I’m working with a client of mine who is replacing a 10 year term that is coming to the end of the guaranteed level premium period. He knew that getting affordable over 60 life insurance was tricky and now he was looking for over 70 life insurance. 15 years ago he had a one vessel bypass. No heart attack. He just felt some discomfort one day and when he got checked out they found one vessel more blocked than not so, bypass surgery and he was back to work. 10 years ago we got him a table 2 with a company that, for that time, was pretty aggressive in cardiac underwriting.

So now we are 15 years out from the bypass. He is in his 70’s and walks 3 miles a day and works out four days a week. He’s still working and enjoying life and wanted a new life insurance policy. He talked to another agent that told him the best he could expect would be another table 2. But there are companies that look at this and see a man who has done everything right and has had no setbacks in the last 15 years. We got him a standard offer which is going to make the replacement much more affordable than the other agent had suggested.

Bottom line. A good agent won’t shoot from the hip and tell a client that there just aren’t any better deals out there. Good agents shop and talk to underwriters all the time to find out how to move clients from A to B, clinical underwriting. I’ve said it so many times. Right agent. Right company. Best results.

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