I wrote my first United of Omaha life insurance application in 1978. Those were the days of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, Marlin Perkins and the advent of yearly renewable term insurance.

They were a powerhouse company back then with all captive agents and a brand that most companies could only dream of. Their products were solid. Back then even health insurance had a good name if you bought it through them. Then they fell off the radar for a very long time, adrift amongst those companies who really wanted to remain closed to brokerage business but watched every year as their market share dropped.

So, like most companies in their position, they started dipping their toe in the brokerage water. They had some success but didn’t seem able to think quick enough to keep up with the dizzying term life insurance rate wars of the last 10 years and the need for competitive, as opposed to textbook, underwriting. Until recently.

They seem to have finally pulled it all together. They have competitive products, and they’ve pulled some of the best underwriting talent in the business to their team. They are now, right this moment, the team to beat in impaired risk underwriting. They got competitive and then they really threw a knockout blow by being the first company to seriously table shave term insurance with their FIT test, a series of questions that allow credits toward better rate classes. This lifestyle and health crediting program has allowed us to get better than normal rates for those with diabetes, bipolar disorder and pulmonary issues to name a few.

Bottom line. United of Omaha is positioned to take some serious market share if they stay the course. Their combination of pricing and creativity is coming at a time when everyone else is walking cautiously waiting for the recession to back off. Marlin would be proud.