You have to understand that life insurance agents don’t get paid unless they deliver an approved policy and the policy is paid and put into force. So the lies (incorrect answers) that clients in answer to life insurance application questions generally impact us because what they really wanted was to lie and get away with it and pay a lower rate than they deserve. When they’re caught it generally doesn’t end up with an in force policy. But they’re funny like the “dog ate my homework” funny anyway.
Here are the application questions, the client’s answer and the client’s excuse.
1. Are you a tobacco user? No! “So what happened to accepting a person’s word? If I knew they were going to test for it I would have answered yes.”
2. What is your height and weight? 5’11”. 225#! “Well, I haven’t actually weighed myself in about 10 years and I didn’t know they actually write your weight in your doctor’s records when you go there. So is there a difference in cost at 290#?”
3. Have you ever been treated for a mental or mood disorder? No! “I didn’t know that anxiety was considered a mood disorder.” (One of my favorites)
4. Had a parent die from heart disease prior to age 60? No! “Well yes my Dad died at 55 of a heart attack but that wasn’t heart disease. It was because he was fat, smoked and was an alcoholic.”
5. Have you ever been told you have emphysema or COPD? No! “I told you I smoked and my doctor said the COPD was caused by smoking, so I thought it was kind of a redundant question.”
6. Have you ever been treated for cancer? No! “I thought by treatment you meant chemotherapy or radiation. The melanoma was surgically removed, end of story.”
7. Have you ever been told you have or been treated for chest pain or a heart attack or any other disorder of the heart? No! “The cardiologist told me it wasn’t that bad, that there was a good chance I could have lived without the angioplasty, and there wasn’t a heart attack. No chest pain either. It was more like a tightness. Kind of hard to breath.”
8. Do you travel or intend to travel outside the US or Canada for business or pleasure? No! “Well, it wasn’t for business or pleasure so I didn’t think it was relevant. It was just a mission trip to Africa. We usually do at least one mission a year to Mexico, Central America or Africa.”
9.In the past 5 years have you had three or more moving violations? No! “Well, so what if I have? What’s that got to do with life insurance anyway?”
10. Have you ever been diagnosed with a treated for diabetes? No! “The doctor didn’t say it was diabetes, just chronic high blood sugar.”
It’s hard to tell sometimes when people are trying to pull one over and when they really don’t have a clue. These are all true situations that cost the company and me money to work and underwrite. The fix? When in doubt just blurt out everything about your health history and let the agent and company throw out what they don’t need.
Bottom line. A lot of times the correct answer to a question like those above would lead an agent to present the case to a different company to take advantage of one of their underwriting guidelines. It might still end up different than you would like, but at least you would get the best offer possible based on the true answers.