As soon as you tell someone that they don’t qualify for the best rates available, stand back, because the knee jerk reaction is to unload on you with something akin to the intelligent response, “So, they think I’m about to die of a heart attack, or what?”

First, let’s get a grip. If an insurance company thinks you are about to die they most assuredly aren’t going to offer any coverage at all, and they will probably have your agent contact you and suggest that you see your doctor sooner rather than later. I think every agent who’s been around for a while has run into a client, or a several, who has lab results come back that need immediate attention.

Just to recall a few I had a client who’s PSA on his labs was 35 and yes he did have prostate cancer but didn’t know it until it was suggested he see his doctor. I’ve had plenty of clients whose blood pressure was in the ridiculous range and they didn’t know they had a problem until we did an exam. By the way, a common theme here is that these people generally don’t get regular physicals. Another client was profoundly diabetic with an hbA1c of 11.9. After a year of treatment his diabetes was controlled enough to get the life insurance he wanted.

Mortality risk is the measure that insurance companies use to determine what rate class to approve you in, but if you don’t fall into the best mortality risk rate class it doesn’t mean that you should be saying adios to your loved ones.

Everyone is in love with the best rates available. I have long since fallen from that lofty level of health from an underwriting standpoint even though my doctor would swear to you that I’m in great shape for someone my age. All it took to bump me from preferred plus rates down to standard plus or standard was a silly thing called Raynauds. Raynauds by itself is not really a mortality issue but rather more of a pain in the rear issue. It causes my fingers and toes to change color and lose circulation when I get cold, or even just cool.

From an underwriting standpoint I have been told that Raynauds in and of itself is not a big issue except that it can be the first symptom of a larger and more deadly issue, CREST syndrome. I have addressed the issue with underwriters to the best of my ability and have not been able to convince them that while Raynauds can in fact be the first symptom of CREST, it generally doesn’t remain the first symptom for 25+ years.

Bottom line. Life insurance underwriting can’t be compared to medical evaluation. Underwriters and doctors and like men and women. They may both be good at what they do, but for the life of them they can’t figure out why the other one can’t see it their way.