We’ve discussed BNP and proBNP in this forum before and the life insurance underwriting, or lack of, that goes with a high reading. Much like some companies used to do with the liver function test GGT, the underwriter would immediately assume they client drinks too much and they would decline the application. With proBNP, for the few life insurance companies that even use it, always assume that high levels mean that the client is suffering from congestive heart failure (CHF) and decline the person and suggest they see their doctor right away. That happened yesterday with a business life insurance client, CEO of a large Midwest company.

It struck me as odd because while the life insurance client does have permanent atrial fibrillation and very well controlled type 2 diabetes, his stress test and other cardiac workups are really just amazing and he plays tennis 3 times a week and, well, just doesn’t act, feel or present any symptoms of congestive heart failure. I’m no MD doctor kind of person, but it seemed to me that declining someone for something they weren’t suffering from could, dang, cause them to suffer in some other way. Worse yet it could give life insurance underwriters a bad name for jumping to medical conclusions that aren’t correct sending people scrambling for their doctor’s office to get checked out. Some would say those underwriters are playing doctor without a license to do so.

So, it turns out that the original reason that this client came to me, atrial fibrillation, is in fact one of the culprit causes of high proBNP readings. In the absence of CHF and in the presence of permanent atrial fib, the reading is pretty much meaningless. Annoying, but meaningless. So, when presented with this fact of the few companies that even consider proBNP, it’s almost always a decline anyway, but we’re always looking for the exceptional life insurance company with an exceptional underwriting team. In this case instead of having to move the business of underwriting this life insurance application to a new company, the underwriter accepted our request for review, went over it with their cardio consultant and put it back in underwriting.

Bottom Line. It’s refreshing when we don’t have to battle to the bloody nubs to get attention brought to a situation like this. It’s refreshing to have a class act company have class act life insurance underwriters and backup specialists. If you have questions or need quotes, please call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.