It’s been some time since I’ve just given a diabetes underwriting 101 overview. Some companies have changed stances, but overall the market remains somewhat consistent.

Underwriters look at type 2 diabetes from several directions. Age of onset is a fairly critical issue. The reason they closely scrutinize the age of onset is that the longer a person has diabetes, the better the chances that they will develop collateral health issues. So, the most favorable underwriting is for those whose age of onset is after age 50, not as favorable between 40 and 50 and pretty tough going if onset was prior to 40. It doesn’t mean that a person can’t get life insurance, but other risk factors need to be good or there is a chance of a decline.

The hbA1c level on your regular lab results is another big factor in how the diabetes is underwritten. Consistently well controlled (an A1c of 6.5 or less), with all other risk factors favorable, can get you better than standard rates. An A1c that runs between 6.5 and 7.0 should be able to pull standard rates, and in most cases 7.0 to 8.0 will get offers that would be rated (higher than standard). Over 8.0 is tough, but can be done if all risk factors are good. Over 9.0 isn’t going to fly until it comes down and you have a track record of keeping it down. By the way, if you are anticipating shopping for life insurance and don’t know your most recent A1c, call your doctor and find out. There is no way that an agent can accurately quote without it. I hate to lecture, but you should know this information anyway, and a shockingly large percentage don’t.

The risk factors are the other issue that plays into the final underwriting. Obesity, high blood pressure, protein in the urine, heart disease, etc, are all going to work against getting standard or better rates. The trend in the industry right now is that diabetes with coronary artery disease (CAD) is pretty much off limits. Protein in the urine…something is out of control.

Bottom line. Good rates and type 2 diabetes don’t have to be oxymorons. It can be done. The same thing that a diabetic educator will teach you are the same things that will give you your best shot at a long healthy life and coincidentally, the best shot at reasonable life insurance.