Life insurance agents don’t usually get paid unless they make a sale. This can sometimes cast us in a shady light if the application doesn’t go as planned and we start offering alternatives. People perceive us as doing what it takes to salvage some income out the whole deal.

I am not going to speak for all life insurance agents and claim that all of them take the moral high road and the client’s interests are always first and foremost, but as for me and my business that is absolutely the case. I want to share a story that happened last year and was brought full circle on Monday.

I was working with a couple in their 40’s, engaged to be married, and they wanted to take the step of getting life insurance. Everything went fine with her application. A picture of perfect health and no surprises. His application was another story.

We knew going in that he was overweight and had quoted the case based on build since there were no other health issues that he knew about. Once he completed the exam we found out, well, that it was a good thing he took an exam. His cholesterol was approaching the 300 mark and, based on his hbA1c, his glucose was elevated enough that he would be considered by most doctors to be diabetic. So, overweight, high cholesterol and diabetic led to an underwriting decision that raised the rate substantially.

He had originally applied for 20 year term insurance. My recommendation was to initially put a 10 year term in force to keep the price down. Once he made the changes to get his cholesterol and glucose and hopefully weight under control, we could apply again and get a better rate class and a longer term. Even the 10 year term price was more than he had expected to pay and he really just wanted to put it all off until he got things under control. He didn’t have other life insurance in force, so I made my best case for the logic of having insurance in force when you are doing battle with health issues, and especially potentially serious health issues. He finally conceded that it probably really was a good idea. We put the 10 year term in force for just over $800 per year.

His fiancee called me Monday, almost a year after we put his coverage in force, to let me know that he had died suddenly the day before. There is an autopsy pending, but I suspect what will be found is that all of those risk factors, obesity, high cholesterol and diabetes, led to a heart attack.

Bottom line. The good news is that we are now talking about processing a claim versus what he should have done. It really wasn’t about me and my next paycheck. It honestly is a real concern for those who would joust with health issues without insurance. This story is tragic, but there is something of a good ending. Over the years I have seen far too many that were tragic and ended with no insurance in place.