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A colleague and I were bemoaning some of stranger than fiction nonsense that life insurance companies come up with. They always tout these things as the newest innovation to speed up underwriting, the best product idea since sliced bread, or they just leave it out there as something that makes no sense at all and never attempt to make it sound good.

We have been watching flyer after flyer come from Mutual of Omaha over the last month about their new accidental death policy. Stand alone or add to an existing life policy with almost no avocation or occupation exclusions. The only avocations that would be excluded would be anything to do with contests of speed, so car and motorcycle racing were out along with those brainiacs that try to break the world speed record on downhill skis. For occupations they really only excluded military and jobs in war zones. Over and over we asked about the possibilities. If those were the only exclusions could we write commercial fishermen or base jumpers? They kept sending more tantalizing flyers and telling us that all of our questions would be answered on the release of the product on 5/1.

And now we’re there and………………(drum roll), “this product is not intended for use with high risk avocations or occupations”. No, really?? They would have been better off just announcing a week ago that they weren’t going to release the product because, upon further review, it was a stupid idea.

Speaking of stupid ideas, Lincoln National has just come up with a new requirement for every application for life insurance. Now understand that when you apply for life insurance with anyone you have to give them your social security number, your driver’s license number, your annual income, your employer’s information, your net worth (and with some your assets and liabilities). Intrusive stuff. I got in a bit of a tiff with a company that asks for assets and liabilities once. The person’s net worth was $100,000 and I left the other questions blank because, well, because I think assets and liabilities is a little too much information. The insurance company doesn’t need to know that. They insisted on an answer so I told them both were zero. They never asked another question. Go figure?

Sorry, a little off track there. Lincoln National now requires an IRS form 4506 with every application. That is a request for a copy of your tax returns. I am a firm believer that insurance companies should get everything they need in order to underwrite a case prudently, but tax returns should only come in to play with estate and high net worth uses of life insurance. But if you apply for a small term policy with Lincoln it is mandatory to sign the 4506 or they won’t process the application. It doesn’t mean that they are going to get a copy of your tax returns, but they won’t process your application without the ability to do it. That’s overboard and unnecessary and they ought to fire the moron that thought of it.

I promised that some of these things just defy explanation. If you have a Transamerica cash value policy and you ask them to send you some of it, a loan, a surrender, whatever, they are more than glad to help. They can mail that check out the next day or they can overnight it to you…….for $30. I pay Fedex $18 for overnight delivery of a life insurance policy. I might overnight 20 or 30 things a year so I’m not getting any volume discount. Transamerica is a big honker of a company and I can assure you that they get the biggest discount available. And what are they sending? A check that weighs like .00024 ounces. So you’re probably paying $10 for the overnight and $20 for shipping and handling. I just did an online Fedex shipping label and dropped a piece of paper in the envelope and sealed it. 3 minutes. $20? Get a job at Trans. Their shippers and handlers are apparently worth $400 an hour if they type as slow as me.

I’ll just float this boat with one last life insurance company insult and wouldn’t you know it would be MetLife. You can sign my petition at This isn’t even about the fact that they do all of this flag waving patriotic only company that will cover active duty military lie. If you want to pay for your policy by automatic bank draft MetLife requires you to send the eft form and voided check before they will issue your policy. Every, and I mean every other company out there will let you look at your approved policy and send the eft form as a delivery requirement when you accept the policy. Not Met. “You can’t see your policy until you show me your checking account information!”

Bottom line. I had a customer asking me about ratings of companies the other day and I explained, along with some of these details, that there is more to a company than ratings. I don’t ignore ratings but I also don’t ignore stupidity or a lack of integrity. If you have any questions or need some additional information, call or email me directly. Let’s talk.