I was working with a client who posed some interesting challenges for life insurance underwriting. Although as healthy as an underwriter could hope for, he is a skydiving instructor and also a skydiving jump plane pilot.

Either of those, or both of those on a life insurance application with virtually all life insurance companies would be rated at preferred to standard plus a $5 flat extra per thousand. I suggested we look at a couple of different places for an accidental death policy that would cover those activities so we could write another policy with an aviation/skydiving exclusion that would cover all other causes of death.

He mentioned that he had been on the US Parachute Association website and had followed a member services link to a phone number for term insurance and accidental death insurance. When he called that number he wasn’t satisfied that the product that was recommended would really cover him.

He asked me if I could check into the language of the policies being offered and let him know if he was on shaky ground. I told him I wasn’t familiar with the AD&D policy and didn’t want him to miss out on a great opportunity or make a big mistake. I called Fidelity and spoke with an underwriter there and asked him about the language on their Fidelity AD&D brochure that said under exclusions, “Aviation: Travel in, or descent from or with, any kind of aircraft aboard which the Insured is a pilot or crew member or is giving or receiving any training. “Crew member” includes anyone who has any duty aboard the aircraft.” I explained what my client did (50+ tandem jumps per year and piloting a jump plane) and he said that this policy wouldn’t cover him, no exceptions.

Convinced that there must be something reasonable out there I talked with an agency that has come through for me on coverage far more wild than what I was looking for with this client. This agency has helped me with travel insurance to dangerous regions, terrorism coverage and AD&D for people working in Afghanistan. They came back with a quote for both skydiving jump plane pilot insurance and skydiving instructor insurance for $250,000 at $311 a year.

With that in hand I quoted the best life insurance rate possible with an aviation exclusion for $250,000 to cover all other causes of death at $462 a year for a total of $773 annually, $67 a month. Home run!

Bottom line. Like so many other cozy relationships between advocacy organizations and insurance companies and agencies, the member needs to do their due diligence before committing just because they believe their best interests are an automatic priority.