I was recently asked to work on a case where the client was feeling like the kiss of decline was the best she would ever hear! Her only problem was that she had been a type 1 diabetic since age 9.

I shared with you not too long ago how we had found that spot where life insurance companies really take a more serious view of type 1, with adult onset. Unfortunately adult onset is the exception but it prompted me to consider what the difference was through an underwriter’s eyes.

Type 1 diabetes from a mortality risk view is looked at, not as just diabetes, but as all the other health issues that crop up over the years, especially if the diabetes isn’t well controlled. And to compound the issue for those with type 1, while it’s true that some lack of control is the fault of the patient, often type 1 is just simply hard to get a handle on……just because of the nature of the disease.

So, it comes down to the mortality fact that juvenile onset type 1 diabetes, on average, reduces the life expectancy of a person by about 7 years. Of course that statistic includes children who were diagnosed post mortem and brittle diabetics who often succumb to kidney failure in their 20’s and 30’s. What mortality statistics don’t do is suggest the life expectancy of someone who is 40 and has been fortunate to have great control of their diabetes since they were young. The truth is, and it’s hard for underwriters to make this case to the chief underwriter or the medical director or the reinsurance company, if you’re 40 and you’ve kept your A1c at 6.5 or below and you don’t have any collateral health issues or hints that you might be developing them, it’s entirely likely you will live just as long as someone without diabetes.

So back to the client I mentioned up top. She is 40 and was diagnosed at age 9. She has had excellent control all her life with most of her A1c’s actually around 5.8. While she’s been declined several times and she knows she won’t get preferred plus rates, she was pleased that we were able to find her affordable rates on $1 million of 30 year term insurance with a great company. Is it more than she would like to spend? Is it more than I think she should have to spend? Yes and yes!
But affordable.

Bottom line. While type 1 diabetes and cheap life insurance will likely never be found together, don’t give up. If you have good control and no other risk factors, your bad experiences are more likely the result of the wrong agent and the wrong company than your medical condition.