A month or so ago I talked about a client of mine who, over the course of 4 years, has been working with me to get his rate down from the very first approval we were able to get through Empire General at a table 8, to a just approved standard plus rate with Banner Life.

I hold this client up as an example of how, when a client is really involved with the process, positive things can happen. This is a guy who has provided study results, pathology reports, and gone out of his way to get a checkup that he wasn’t even due for, simply because he knew that it would help our battle to win him better rates. We were able to improve the rate each year because of his willingness to do whatever it took. His rates were over $12,000 a year. They’re now under $4,000.

In contrast are people who contact me for insurance quotes and know little or nothing about their medical situation and for sure aren’t going to call their doctor or run by the doctor’s office to get a copy of labs or a pathology report or a copy of a stress test or a sleep study. The act as if I am imposing on them to ask for more information than they can provide me right then and there when, all I’m really asking for is exactly what an underwriter needs.

If I am providing a quote for someone with diabetes, I need to know their A1c. If it’s a history of cancer I need to know the stage and grade. If it’s heart disease or if someone has had an angioplasty or bypass surgery, I need a copy of their stress test so I know what their ejection fraction is. With sleep apnea, a copy of the sleep study is needed like all of those other things, to ensure that the quote I provide is accurate.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard over the years, “Well, if it’s going to be that much of a hassle, just forget it.” I always wonder if they then turn around and tell their wives that they would have bought life insurance but the agent wanted me to call my doctor’s office and it was just too much hassle.

I suppose I am beat out of some of this business by agents who don’t hassle anyone and just quote what they want to hear, or just shoot from the hip without all the facts, but the truth is that asking for that information serves two purposes in the process. First, if the client provides the requested information, it ensures an accurate quote and generally means that I can expect them to stay involved through the application process. Second, if they don’t take that small part in their own quest for life insurance, at least in my experience, they won’t end up being a cooperative client through the rest of the application and they also have a higher lapse rate than those who really get involved.

Bottom line. Not everyone gets preferred plus rates and those with serious health issues need to find a good independent agent and get involved in their own destiny if they don’t want to over pay or explain to their spouse why they are just going to go without.