A potential life insurance client was interviewing me the other day and asked why he should put confidence in my quote for a better rate on term life insurance than he was currently paying. Certainly a fair question and one that goes right to the meat of our business model.

Any independent agent out there with access to the right companies and their underwriting criteria can provide accurate quotes to people with no health history and no family history, most of the time. But anytime their is a health issue that falls outside normal guidelines our practice is to always, always shop for trial offers. We don’t shoot from the hip on these kind of quotes ever. Just because an underwriter approved a similar case a month ago doesn’t mean we can count on a repeat.

That agent may have given our client a good approval and when audited lost a portion of their rear end to the chief underwriter or to the medical director. Or that agent may just wake up grumpy the next time and decide everyone that day is scarier than they are when he or she is well rested. In any case I never put stock in a previous success other than to make sure I get a new trial offer from that company.

Case in point. I had a client not too long ago that came to me with a unique cholesterol issue. Normal total cholesterol and a very low HDL, giving him a cholesterol ratio of over 8. He said that it had been historically that way and that his doctor monitors it and had not recommended any treatment. I researched the issue and then sent out the following trial email, “PI born 1/16/60, 6’3, 185, non smoker. On previous insurance exam had total cholesterol 169, hdl 19, ldl 120, trigs 146. PI has historically tested low on hdl and doctor has not treated due to no other risk factors for CAD. PI exercises daily. All articles I’ve seen linking low hdl to ischemic heart disease are when it is in conjunction with elevated triglycerides or diabetes, neither of which he has. Looking for $250k term.” PI, by the way, is proposed insured.

This was met with a number of standard rate to table rated offers, with one exception. Transamerica gave me a trial offer of preferred. We applied and the client completed the exam. Within hours of the new labs reaching the Trans home office they emailed and said that the best case would be standard because of his cholesterol ratio of 7.8. I responded noting to the underwriter that it should still be preferred per their trial since the ratio was nearly 8.9 based on the total of 169 and HDL of 19 on the trial.

Long story short. The underwriter on the trial had not done their math and had quoted it incorrectly, but given the clarity of my request and the clarity of their trial offer, Transamerica stood by the offer and issued the policy at preferred saving the client several hundred dollars.

Bottom line. Quoting and applying without the benefit of trial offers is at best throwing it against the wall and hoping it will stick. Clients deserve better than that and it helps agents and underwriters to build reliable relationships. A case like this would have been bad news for the client with no trial to fall back on.