Eligibility and Underwriting

Looking under the microscope of insurability factors.

Sexual Addiction and Life Insurance

You can’t tune into the news these days without hearing a breaking story about sexual abuse. The #MeToo Movement has brought to public attention the travesty of sexual predation that takes place in many industries. While its initial focus was on show business, victims from other arenas, such as finance and community service, are now stepping forward.

The Corruption of Power

The popular quote by Sir John Dalberg-Acton, “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” often rings true in these types of circumstances. It strikes me that a major motivation of predators is the abuse of the power they have over their employees and others they consider subordinate. They seem to have this thirst for taking unfair advantage of people, and dominating them. This drive is so strong that they will lie, threaten, bribe, extort, and stoop to any and all illegal and immoral means to first conquer, and then silence, their target.

How do people get to this point? Most certainly, the syndrome of fame and fortune brings out the worst in people. It can disproportionately swell their ego and make them believe normal rules no longer apply to them. In addition, our society has corporate structures that consolidate power among an elite few. This dominant upper echelon controls access to jobs, money, and services, forcing people to pay homage to them. Then, of course, you have the masses of people who don’t play the game directly but know damn well what goes on, yet keep their mouths shut out of fear. Sadly, this even includes parties like the media who are supposed to uphold public standards and report to us when powerbrokers deviate from them.

But Is It More Than Just Abuse Of Power?

On top of all that, I think there is an additional factor at play. It’s noteworthy that many of these predators, once they are caught, end up going into sexual addiction rehabilitation. For some, of course, this is simply a public relations ploy and involves absolutely no introspection, treatment, or self-improvement. But for others, it really does transform their lives. It seems that addiction is a significant component in the makeup of power brokers who prey on their underlings for sex.

I have come across people with sexual addiction during the course of my life insurance career. One case, in particular, stands out in my mind. It involved a gentleman who was an executive with a major corporation who continually engaged in sex with women in his office. He was so out of control that he would do this when employees were in the next room or just before people were expected to meet with him. The possibility of almost getting caught thrilled him and he couldn’t get enough of that perverse excitement.

His wife found out about it and threatened to divorce him if he didn’t get help. So he spent a lot of money out of his own pocket and entered an intensive 30-day inpatient program. He came to me for help in buying life insurance soon after he was discharged. He was eager to rechannel his newfound energy and expand his business activity.

Life Insurance Challenges For Addicts

The truth is that anybody coming right out of rehab, whatever the reason for it, is in for a challenge when trying to get life insurance. Underwriters have a number of legitimate concerns, especially since one type of addiction can lead to another. People with an addiction to sex can also have an addiction to alcohol and drugs. Underwriters will want to know: Are any medications being used in treatment? What side effects or adverse impact on health can they have? Is the client fully compliant with his physician’s prescription for counseling, support groups, etc.? Have they had trouble with the law? What about financial troubles? What’s the possibility of relapse?

Fortunately, this candidate trusted the prequalification process and felt comfortable going through full disclosure. He told me about growing up in a war-torn country, where he felt his life was in danger every day. Living on the edge of death was both terrifying, yet thrilling. For him, these risky sexual encounters were a way of reliving that thrill. Plus, in his culture, children, especially young boys, were considered playthings by tribal leaders. His abuse at their hands, combined with the dangers of daily living, led him to become a sexual thrill-seeker as an adult.

To his credit, he became aware of this internal strife as he went to rehab and therapy. He worked hard at gaining control of his overwhelming thoughts and desires. His treating physician concurred that he had made great progress and had reached the point of control and stability. This backstory reassured the underwriter that this gentleman was indeed ready to take on the commitment of a life insurance policy. They gave him a very competitive rate and enabled him to buy the coverage he needed to keep building his business.

Addiction Is Not The End Of The Story

Sexual addiction is very real and a serious obstacle to overcome. But it is not the last chapter of your story. If you’ve struggled with anything of this nature, or know someone who has, be encouraged that you can conquer this and that life insurance is not out of the question for you. If you want to partner with someone who will respect your backstory and advocate for you through the prequalification process, schedule a free 15-minute introductory phone call online.

About Steve

Steven H. Kobrin, LUTCF, owns and operates a national life insurance brokerage. He is a life insurance specialist, and expert in helping clients that are higher-risk or need special handling. He is affiliated with a premier general agent and master general agency to distribute top-of-the-line financial produces and services. Through them, he forms strategic partnerships with insurance brokers, financial advisors, and financial institutions to expand client services, increase sales, and generate referral income.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Sexual Abuse and Life Insurance

We all have a personal history. This backstory of your life not only impacts your identity, your life situation, and your relationships, but it also plays a major role when applying for life insurance. In our introductory article about sexual issues and life insurance, we discussed how backstory helps people who have had to overcome personal issues gain favorable treatment when they apply for coverage. It can be painful to dig up the past, but it is in your benefit to share your story.

Why Backstory Matters

The backstory narrative gives proper perspective to the physical, psychological, emotional, and lifestyle challenges that may become factors in your life insurance application. The truth is that many people have these challenges due to sexually-related experiences. If you feel comfortable and confident talking about them, then you can serve as your own best advocate during the prequalification and underwriting processes. Your broker, general manager, underwriter, and case manager can then approach the situation with more sensitivity and understanding and the ideal underwriting assessment available can be provided.

Long-Term Effects Of Abuse

Let’s start with a troubling issue that has been in the news for months now: the sexual abuse of children. Our nation was shocked when it was revealed that 150 members of our national gymnastics team were sexually molested by their team physician. These girls were teenagers living away from home, training arduously, and putting themselves in the care of professional managers who they thought they could trust. Tragically, their vulnerability was exploited by sick predators and the abuse by these perverts was covered up by officials who didn’t want to rock the boat. This is a terrible story, and it’s made more terrible by all of the similar accounts coming out of schools, houses of worship, camps, and even families.

How will traumas like this affect these children? What’s in store for them as they grow into adults, and take on adult responsibilities? What challenges will they face, and how will they confront those challenges? And how will these challenges affect their eligibility for life insurance?

Backstory Case Study

Here’s a story from my files to explain how one survivor resolved her own personal issues with a very successful end result:

A number of years ago, a young woman called my office and asked if we could help someone with depression buy life insurance. My initial answer was yes. Of course, it depended on a number of factors, but depression in and of itself was not a dealbreaker.

So, I started to prequalify her and look at the various factors involved. I learned about her current medications and compliance with them and then began to look at her medication history. Knowing that people suffering from depression often self-medicate, I also asked about her history of drug and alcohol use. That’s when I found out about her substance-abuse and subsequent treatment for it. Clearly, she was someone who had been experiencing personal turmoil.

I sensed we were entering “private psychological property” and proceeded with caution. I emphasized that my only objective was to quote a rate at which I was confident she would be approved, and to do so, she would need to have full disclosure. I stressed that the information she provided would be treated respectfully and confidentially.

She felt comfortable enough with the process and told me about her history of abuse as a child. It was a sad tale, and as you can imagine, it threw her life off track for a long time. In her teen years, she began to have “ugly feelings.” At first, she attempted to assuage those feelings, or self-medicate, with drugs and alcohol. That eventually got out of control and she ended up in rehab. Once in treatment, she got the professional help she needed in the form of a proper diagnosis, the right medication, and the correct attitude. She emerged from rehab a new person.

By the time she entered adulthood and was ready to purchase insurance, she had a good track record of compliance with her medication and a high level of functionality. She was concerned that her history of drug and alcohol abuse would be held against her by underwriters. However, in my presentation to potential carriers, I was able to provide proper context. I shared her backstory as an abuse survivor, as someone who suffered trauma and tried to resolve her symptoms with drugs and alcohol. I explained how she sought help and is now on track with her professional management program.

A sad situation turned into a life insurance success story. A number of carriers understood and appreciated the honest account she gave and one, in particular, offered her a very low rate for her life insurance. This true story shows the value of presenting your backstory in the life insurance process.

Don’t Write Yourself Off

If you have a history that is less than ideal from a life insurance perspective, don’t give up and determine that life insurance is not an option for you. My hope is that this series encourages you to share your personal story so you can get the best life insurance options possible. My firm will treat your case with care and respect and work as your advocate as we walk you through the processes of prequalification and underwriting. If you or someone you know would benefit from our services, schedule a free 15-minute introductory phone call online. I’d love to hear from you.

About Steve

Steven H. Kobrin, LUTCF, owns and operates a national life insurance brokerage. He is a life insurance specialist, and expert in helping clients that are higher-risk or need special handling. He is affiliated with a premier general agent and master general agency to distribute top-of-the-line financial produces and services. Through them, he forms strategic partnerships with insurance brokers, financial advisors, and financial institutions to expand client services, increase sales, and generate referral income.

“Compare term life insurance rates at no cost from top rated companies in seconds.”
https://www.insurenowdirect.com/stevenkobrin/Default.aspx

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Sexual Issues and Life Insurance

One of the most talked about cultural and societal issues of late is that of sexuality and gender. The #MeToo movement supporting victims of sexual harassment has brought many secrets to light, with influential leaders in many industries being accused of sexual misconduct. Freedom and rights surrounding gender identity have become a national conversation, and abortion and controversy go hand in hand.

This is a highly personal, very provocative, and therefore often taboo, topic, yet it affects many people who apply for life insurance. You might be thinking, “I can understand how drinking and smoking affect my eligibility for life insurance, but what do sexual issues have to do with anything?” This next series of articles will focus on how sexual issues impact your quest for life insurance and will give you the tools you need to help you take charge of the process if you have personal experience in this area.

An Underwriting Review

First, a review. We know that life insurance underwriting is tremendously comprehensive. It considers your current medical condition, health history, family medical history, lifestyle, vocation, avocation, and legal, financial, and motor vehicle records.

Why is it so comprehensive? The simple answer is that whether directly or indirectly, all of these factors affect your mortality. We’ve discussed this in prior articles but it’s a point that bears repeating. In some cases, the connection to mortality is pretty obvious. If you are fifty pounds overweight, climb mountains, or drive your car recklessly, you know that you are tempting death more than people of normal build or those who play softball as a hobby.

Other risks are less clear. If you had a bankruptcy discharged last year, does that mean you’re closer to death? Certain carriers might think twice about insuring you for business reasons, but does it mean your life expectancy has been shortened? In truth, the answer to questions like this is that it depends.

It’s Personal

This is what makes life insurance underwriting so complicated and so personal. For example, if you went bankrupt because a family member was diagnosed with cancer and you spent your life savings on medical treatment, you are in a very different boat than someone who filed for bankruptcy because they developed a cocaine habit and threw their income away. The questions on the insurance application could bring the personal backstory to light, and when an underwriter knows the backstory, it gives context to your disclosures on your application. This perspective can help you get a fair risk assessment and a reasonable premium.

You can see that the backstory highlights something deeply personal and significant about you, giving insight into your lifestyle, life experiences, and life choices. These factors together contribute to your insurability today. I have found that certain types of lifestyles, experiences, and choices can have a truly profound impact on us and greatly affect our insurability, especially if the impact has been negative. This is very true of sexual issues and problems.

How Sexual Issues Affect Insurability

Let’s look at the example of abortion. For many women, having an abortion is extremely traumatic, leading to anxiety, depression, addictions, and even attempted suicide. If you have had an abortion and consequently developed any of these conditions, then you will need to disclose them on your life insurance application. You may be doing okay now, but your backstory will need to be told in order to reassure the underwriter that your conditions are related to a past trauma and not due to an ongoing stress that could get worse.

Every day the news reminds us of the prominent role abortion and other sexually-related issues play in our lives. The #MeToo movement may be highlighting the danger of sexual harassment in Hollywood, but we all know it takes place in offices, factories, and every other place where men and women meet. It’s a big deal when famous celebrities and athletes go into rehab for sexual addiction, but how many of us have wives, husbands, siblings, and parents with the same compulsion? Girls on the US Gymnastics team were sexually abused by their team physician for decades and tragically, children are abused in homes, schools, and camps every day.

A common thread among the survivors of these various ordeals is the lifelong impact the experience has had on them. It’s no wonder that many have developed a number of psychological, emotional, and physical ailments. Fortunately, many have also overcome these challenges to lead productive and happy lives. These success stories have to be told when you apply for life insurance, and you must answer “yes” to the various questions about your mental and physical health.

What To Expect

In the upcoming articles about sexual issues and life insurance, we will share some of the success stories from both our files and elsewhere in the industry. Hopefully, they will encourage you to tell your own story openly and positively. Your backstory will be key to making sure you get the best treatment and pricing available during prequalification and underwriting. My firm specializes in life insurance cases that are high risk or difficult to place. We walk you through the entire process and advocate for you every step of the way. If you are ready to apply for life insurance but know that there are things in your past that may affect your eligibility,  contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com and download our free guide.

About Steve

Steven H. Kobrin, LUTCF, owns and operates a national life insurance brokerage. He is a life insurance specialist, and expert in helping clients that are higher-risk or need special handling. He is affiliated with a premier general agent and master general agency to distribute top-of-the-line financial produces and services. Through them, he forms strategic partnerships with insurance brokers, financial advisors, and financial institutions to expand client services, increase sales, and generate referral income.

“Compare term life insurance rates at no cost from top rated companies in seconds.”
https://www.insurenowdirect.com/stevenkobrin/Default.aspx

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Does Your Life Insurance Need Special Handling? Commonly Asked Questions About the Purchase of Life Insurance, Completed

Congratulations for making it to the sixth and final post in the Special Handling series, where we’ve taken a deep dive into the world of underwriting and prequalification, unique challenges that can arise, and many, many questions that come up in the process. In our final installment, we are answering frequently asked questions about quotes and what to expect in the underwriting process.

16. I Received A Quote From An Online Service And Their Rate Is Lower Than Yours. Why Is That?

The difference comes down to the level of service. My business model is based on the exemplary standard of an approval at the rate quoted. We invest heavily in each client and make sure we provide underwriters with thorough and accurate quote information so we can report back to you with both competitive and reliable quotes. We will pay for copies of your records and do everything else needed so you can apply for coverage confident of the outcome. This above and beyond level of service is extremely hard to match with an online agency.

17. If I Like The Quote You Give Me And Agree To Apply For A Policy, What Happens Next?

Once you choose the company and product you want to apply for, formal underwriting will begin. My underwriting team will contact you to complete the application. They will ask you for your driver’s license number, employment data, and all the other information that was not needed for prequalification but is necessary for the underwriting process. They will order additional medical records if needed, schedule your medical exam, and obtain all the other requirements necessary for an approval.

18. How Long Does Underwriting Take?

The underwriting of your formal application typically takes 4 to 6 weeks. Since you have already been through prequalification, the process will be as efficient as possible. If medical records were used in your prequalification, then the process will be expedited because you already completed a primary underwriting requirement. Your cooperation with regards to scheduling your medical exam in a timely manner, complying quickly with additional paperwork requests, etc., can help move the process along as well. One thing that may hold up the process is the tendency for physician offices to be slow in their turnaround for record requests. If that occurs in your situation, I may need you to call them and accelerate the request.

19. Can Anything Happen During Underwriting To Prevent An Approval At The Rate Quoted?

Prequalification sets the stage for an approval at the rate quoted. As long as the information

that is obtained during underwriting is consistent with the information that you provided initially, you will be approved at the rate quoted.

However, there are times when people have medical conditions they are not even aware of. There have been many cases where people found out they had a blood disorder, or even cancer when they went through life insurance underwriting. In those cases, we prequalify you from the start, since you now represent a different risk profile. Our goal will be to get as close to the original price as possible, but if we can’t do that, then we will attempt to get the lowest rate the market has to offer. In the worst-case scenario, you may not be eligible for coverage, but we will offer guidelines to help you qualify down the road. We will attempt to identify what circumstances have to be in place for a carrier to make you an offer in the future.

20. What Is Your Role As My Broker Throughout The Entire Application Process?

As you can see from the answers above, I am your advocate and representative throughout the whole process. All the professionals and specialists involved in both prequalification and underwriting are accountable to me. I make sure your interests remain front and center.

Here’s an example of how I advocate for my clients. Let’s suppose I prequalified you with a certain company and underwriter A gave me a specific price. Then, when you submitted a formal application, underwriter B got assigned the case and says the rate should be higher, simply because of his assessment of the risk. My response to them will be, “not my problem”. The carrier needs to have integrity. Just because they have a difference of opinion in their underwriting department doesn’t mean that you should have to pay a higher price. If the information you disclosed at the forefront was thorough and accurate, the rate should stay the same. My job is to go to bat for you whenever and wherever I can.

I thoroughly enjoyed walking you through the ins and outs of purchasing life insurance. I understand that it is a serious and daunting endeavor to pursue, but it will be worth it in the end. The peace of mind and freedom that will come from knowing you, your loved ones, and your assets are protected are priceless! I am here to walk you through the difficult parts of purchasing life insurance so you can reap the benefits. If any other questions came to mind as you followed this series, or if you are ready to take the leap and start the prequalification process, I am happy to guide you through. Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

About Steve

Steven H. Kobrin, LUTCF, owns and operates a national life insurance brokerage. He is a life insurance specialist, and expert in helping clients that are higher-risk or need special handling. He is affiliated with a premier general agent and master general agency to distribute top-of-the-line financial produces and services. Through them, he forms strategic partnerships with insurance brokers, financial advisors, and financial institutions to expand client services, increase sales, and generate referral income.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Does Your Life Insurance Need Special Handling? More of Your Questions Answered

If you’ve been following our Special Handling series, you know that we’ve covered prequalification and underwriting and the challenges the life insurance process can pose for different situations. We’ve also spent some time answering questions about those who are high-risk and how the life insurance marketplace works. Now, in our fifth installment, we will continue that dialogue and address concerns surrounding life insurance for businesses purposes.

11. How Much Life Insurance Should I Apply For?

Many people want life insurance, but they worry about how much it will cost them. As such, they want to see some rates and “back into” a purchase by balancing the amount of life insurance they would like to have with the amount of money they are willing to spend.

To help you make your decision, I will either give you a reliable quote as quickly as I can or get you into a “price ballpark” as soon as possible. This number would represent our educated opinion as to what the lowest possible premium would be. If it works for you, then we can continue with prequalification and solidify the price. If you don’t like the number, then you can reassess your purchase, possibly identifying an additional source of premium, or reducing the guarantee period for the coverage you want.

12. I Need This life Insurance Policy To Obtain A Loan From My Bank For My Business. Can You Ensure The Policy Covers The Loan?

The typical way to make sure this happens is to collaterally assign the benefits. Once your policy has been delivered and all delivery requirements have been submitted to the carrier, such as premium payment and signed receipt, coverage will go into effect. At that point, the carrier will assign the benefit to your bank.

Should you pass away before the loan is paid off, the claims department will notify the bank and require proof of the balance due. The bank will be paid the balance to clear your debt, and your beneficiary will receive the rest of the death benefit, if any exists. In these circumstances, both the client and their banker are usually anxious to close the deal. We work to fast-track the underwriting of your application and keep your banker updated on the status of the policy. My reassurance that the process is moving along is usually sufficient for them.

13. I Need This Policy To Be Owned By A Trust. How Does That Work?

The number one concern in this situation is to make sure the trust has been completed by the time your life insurance application has been approved. This way, the policy can be issued to the appropriate owner and beneficiary designations. We can submit the application without the trust, but then you and your attorney would have to expedite the legal work.

It’s important to avoid a scenario in which you get a good offer from the insurance carrier, but can’t accept the policy due to delays in finalizing the trust. You would then run the risk of something happening to your health, or otherwise affecting your eligibility for coverage, and losing the good offer.

14. My Business Will Be The Owner Of This Policy To Cover A Partnership Agreement. Will That Make Things Complicated?

The underwriting will be more complex in this case, but we handle these situations all the time and can manage them efficiently. You will need to provide basic financial data about your business, then, if you like, our underwriting team will coordinate with your controller or accountant. The underwriters will also need information regarding coverages on your partners to make sure there is parity. We also offer the option to bring in attorneys and financial planners to guide you in the structuring of the agreement, at no charge to you.

15. Once You Complete Prequalification, Am I Under Any Obligation To Do Business With You?

The simple answer is no, you are not. You do not sign a contract, nor do you pay for the prequalification service. However, as you will witness, I make a significant investment in giving you a competitive and reliable quote. I only provide this service for “ready buyers;” those who know they have a need for life insurance, have the means to pay for it, and desire to obtain a policy now. If you appreciate the value of becoming prequalified for coverage because it gives you confidence in the final outcome, my services are the right fit for you.

If you go through our prequalification process, you will not be submitting an application only hoping to be approved, let alone at the price you were quoted. We specialize in providing you with an application approved at the rate quoted. Our goal is to make life insurance quick, easy, and painless to purchase, regardless of your situation.

If this appeals to you, then contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. I would love to help you on your life insurance journey.

Keep an eye out for part 6 of this series, where we will answer even more questions about life insurance and the need for special handling.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with over 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Does Your Life Insurance Need Special Handling? More Answers to the Most Commonly Asked Questions

There are some things in life that seem so complicated that we often completely avoid them. In our Special Handling series, my goal is to make sure life insurance doesn’t fall into that category. I will answer some common questions and address concerns that come up in the life insurance process. In Part 3, we started discussing some issues that tend to arise for those who are considered high risk and require special handling. Let’s continue that dialogue now.

6. I’ve Been Declined Or Rated On Prior Applications. Will This Hurt Me?

Thankfully, the answer is no. It’s true that the underwriter will order a copy of your file from the Medical Information Bureau, which has your history of insurance applications. They will know what underwriting decisions have been made on your prior applications and if they see declinations or ratings, they will want more information.

My job is to make sure that this experience is not held against you. One of the benefits of prequalification is that it puts your application history into context. Many times people get declined or rated because they applied with the wrong company or because their broker did not sufficiently represent them. I will be able to put everything into perspective and make sure you get a fresh start.

7. How Long Will Prequalification Take?

It all depends on how long it takes to get thorough and accurate quote information. The obvious goal is to deliver a quote that is both competitive and reliable as quickly as possible. If I can get everything I need from one personal interview, then I should be able to give you numbers within a week. If medical records are required, then it could take a few more weeks, depending on how quickly your physician’s office hands over a copy of your file. We currently use a third-party service that stays on top of this process and increases our efficiency.

8. I Already Have Some Of My Medical Records. Can You Use Them?

The more documentation you have the better, so the answer to this question is yes. Odds are they will be useful for prequalification as long as they document and support your verbal disclosures about your medical condition. When you submit a formal application, the underwriter will probably order additional records to confirm there are no other underwriting issues to address.

9. Will My Personal Information Be Protected Through This Process?

We are all concerned about our privacy, especially these days when we hear about hacks to major companies on a weekly basis. We work hard to protect your information. Safeguards are built into the process to ensure we are following Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) standards. We do our part to protect you so that only authorized personnel have access to your quote information.

10. I Have A Policy But Would Like To See If There Are Better Options. How Can I Make Sure I Don’t Lose My Current Policy Before A New One Is In Place?

You are in control of this aspect of the process. Only the policy owner can terminate coverage and no broker has the authority to do so. Here is a plan to make sure you have continual coverage:

  • Hold on to your policy and keep making the payments.
  • If need be, change the premium mode to quarterly so you don’t end up paying too much past the time it takes to get the new policy in place.
  • When the new coverage is in effect, you can contact the existing carrier to cancel your previous policy. They should refund any unused premium.

It is my hope that these questions will give you some confidence and peace of mind and encourage you in your journey of finding life insurance coverage. If you want to have a personal conversation about any and all questions you may have, contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com and be sure to download our free guide to buying life insurance.

Since there seems to be an unending list of questions about life insurance, we will continue addressing this topic in Part 5, so stay tuned!

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

“Compare term life insurance rates at no cost from top rated companies in seconds.”
https://www.insurenowdirect.com/stevenkobrin/Default.aspx

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Does Your Life Insurance Need Special Handling? Answers to the Most Commonly Asked Questions

If you have ever purchased a life insurance policy or even just researched the requirements to start the process, you probably had many questions along the way. Obtaining life insurance can be a difficult endeavor with numerous challenges that arise when going through prequalification and underwriting, which we discussed in Parts One and Two of this series. Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions asked by people who want to buy life insurance.

Life Insurance Q&A

These questions address the particular concerns of those who are considered high-risk or who have needs that require special handling.

1. Do You Represent A Company That Takes Higher-Risk People?

There is no one company that specializes in “higher-risk” candidates. Personally, I represent dozens of top-rated carriers, such as American General, John Hancock, MetLife, Prudential, and others.  Each one of these companies specializes in underwriting certain types of risk. My job is to know which companies like which risk and build strong connections with them so your application has the highest chance of success.

2. How Will You Know Which Company Is Right For Me?

I will take you through prequalification. This means I will obtain thorough and accurate quote information through personal interviews as well as any necessary medical record documents. Every underwriting risk you pose will be identified so we are aware of potential challenges at the outset of the process.

My prequalification team, headed by my general agent, will then identify the carrier or carriers that would be most competitive for you. We will then report back to you with a summary of rates the market has to offer, along with our recommendation of the carrier with whom you should apply.

3. Will I Then Be “Pre-Approved” For Coverage?

No. There is no such thing as pre-approval in life insurance underwriting. You receive official

approval only after you submit a formal application and go through underwriting. What prequalification does offer is a quoted rate of which I am confident you will be approved. You can submit a formal application confident of the outcome.

4. Can You Guarantee You Will Find A Company For Me?

There are few things in life that are guaranteed, and unfortunately, some people are simply not insurable. Whether it’s severe organ failure, a hard drug habit, or other extreme medical, lifestyle, legal or financial risk factors, there are certain risks insurance companies will not be willing to take. But these cases are few and far between. The vast majority of people are eligible for coverage immediately.

5. Will I Have To Pay A High Premium Because I Am Considered “Higher-Risk?”

Not necessarily. The key, as I mentioned above, is finding a carrier with a high degree of comfort in underwriting the particular risk you represent. Because of their level of expertise, they may not consider you a very high risk at all. Often, people get charged exorbitant rates because they apply with a company that does not specialize in their risk. Once you choose the right company for you, the underwriting becomes much more intuitive.

Knowledge Is Power

My hope is that you feel much more informed and at ease with what is involved when acquiring life insurance. In our next installment of “Does Your Life Insurance Need Special Handling?” we will continue examining questions about the life insurance marketplace. In the meantime, if you have a specific question about your situation or would like more insight about one of the topics mentioned above, please do not hesitate to contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com and download our free guide to educate yourself further.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

Compare Term Life Insurance Rates At No Cost From Top-Rated Companies In Seconds.”
https://www.insurenowdirect.com/stevenkobrin/Default.aspx

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Does Your Life Insurance Application Need Special Handling? Challenges Beyond Mortality Assessment

In Part One of our Special Handling series, we focused on the key roles prequalification and underwriting play in helping people buy the policy that best meets their needs. Now we turn our attention to additional eligibility requirements and the challenges beyond the mortality assessment that could affect your eligibility for life insurance coverage.

Hurdles On The Path Of Underwriting

While mortality risk is a key factor in determining your insurability, it’s not the only obstacle that can prevent you from purchasing a life insurance policy or obtaining an affordable price for your coverage.

What Does Underwriting Involve?

Underwriting is the process by which insurance companies figure out how risky you are to insure and how likely your beneficiaries will collect the death benefit. Underwriting is probably the most comprehensive vetting process required for the purchase of any financial product. In order to make this decision properly, companies use various methods of investigating the risks you pose, such as:

  • Written life insurance application
  • Phone interview
  • Medical record review
  • Medical exam
  • Financial credit survey
  • Motor vehicle report
  • Insurance application history
  • Prescription medication history

Underwriting Complications

With that much information on the table, it’s easy to see how complications can arise. Here are some examples of things that can cause problems in underwriting:

  • If English is your second language, can the phone interview be conducted in your primary language?
  • What happens if your medical records are missing or misleading?
  • How can you be effectively underwritten if you haven’t seen a doctor in years?
  • How will you undergo the medical exam if you have a fear of needles?
  • Perhaps your history of insurance applications shows a number of declinations and ratings. What has to be done to prevent these from being held against you?
  • Maybe you’ll be in the state or country of the sale for a short amount of time. How can your itinerary be accommodated?

Business Concerns

As if all of the above obstacles were not enough, still other challenges relate to the administrative or business end of your purchase. Both your ability to pay and the financial justification of the face amount of the policy based on your income and assets are valid business concerns.

Additionally, you may want atypical designations for your owner and beneficiary that challenge the premise of insurable interest. Maybe you want to insure somebody without their knowledge, in a case of exceptional hardship. Or, you intend to sell your policy to a third-party

once it is in effect.

All of these factors require special handling. This is why being “high risk” is only part of the challenge. Someone may pose a comparatively low mortality risk but still have trouble getting a policy due to special needs in underwriting or business qualification.

Special Needs In Insurance Purchases

This is why I prefer the term “special needs” for folks that might have trouble buying a policy.

Here is a summary of the types of cases that would require special handling:

  • Addictions: Recreational drugs, prescription drugs, gambling, alcohol, sex
  • Application history: Declined or rated on prior applications
  • Citizenship/residency: Non-U.S. citizen, temporary U.S. resident, foreign resident with business or financial ties in the U.S., U.S. citizen living or traveling abroad
  • Criminal record: Charges, convictions, time served, probation
  • Face amount: Extraordinarily high face amount, multiple policies, multiple carriers
  • Financial record: Bankruptcies, liens.
  • Health issues: Everything from the neurological to the psychological, from immune system deficiencies to build and weight
  • Hobbies: Mountain climbing, scuba diving, parachuting, extreme sports, and other adventurous pursuits
  • Medical exam issues: Aversion to needles, difficulty drawing blood
  • Medical records issues: No current records available, inconsistencies and inaccuracies in medical records
  • Motor vehicle record: Excessive points, license suspensions, DWI history
  • Occupation: Higher-risk job duties, environment, workplace.
  • Owner/beneficiary designations: Charitable giving, corporate-owned, trust-owned, third-party involvement
  • Travel: Job-related, leisure, missionary work

Find Your Advocate

If you find yourself discouraged after reading through all the potential challenges that could arise in your pursuit of purchasing life insurance, don’t be. The “special needs” that might be present require special handling by a life insurance expert who will go to bat for you, walking you through the process and finding ways to deal with the hurdles as they arise. If you want to discuss your unique situation, contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com and we will work together to find solutions.

Do you want more information on this topic? In the next four installments of this series, we will present the twenty most frequently asked questions about the purchase of life insurance, including the concerns of those who are considered higher-risk or who have other needs that require special handling.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Does Your Life Insurance Application Need Special Handling? The Key Role Played by Prequalification and Underwriting

Life insurance is a product that almost all of us need. Regardless of whether we purchase policies for the benefit of our family, business, or favorite charity, life insurance can be difficult to acquire. Even those of us in perfect health can run into roadblocks during this process due to the complexity of the mortality assessment. Other factors that affect eligibility for coverage include complications in the underwriting process itself, as well as business standards that must be met.

In this new series, I will identify the various trouble spots that you may encounter in your quest to purchase life insurance and walk you through ways to avoid them. This information will help those with special considerations or people who are considered “high risk” navigate the process successfully. In Part One, we will explain how the processes of prequalification and underwriting are the key to helping people buy the policy that best meets their needs and goals.

What Is Your Objective When Buying Life Insurance?

In my experience, consumers typically have one of three objectives when they buy life insurance. They want to:

1. Spend As Little Money As Possible

To meet this objective, many people buy cheap term insurance. They also will buy smaller whole life, universal life, indexed universal life policies, or variable policies “just to have some permanent coverage without spending a lot of money.”

2. Target A Specific Living Or Death Benefit

Here, the product is used to accumulate a specified amount of cash for retirement or some other purpose. It could also be used to maintain a specified survivor benefit for estate or business planning.

3. Get An Offer, Period

People who pose a high underwriting risk due to a medical or lifestyle issue just want to get

an offer. But even if it’s difficult to obtain coverage, they want to make sure the premium or cash potential is still the best the market has to offer.

Prequalification And Underwriting As The Solution

When you think about it, life insurance underwriting is what makes it possible to meet each one of these objectives. To qualify for the lowest premium, you have to get the best rate class. To accumulate a lot of cash inside your policy, or to maintain a certain death benefit over a long period of time, the cost of insuring you has to be relatively low. Otherwise, the premium would not be worth it.

To get a policy when you have diabetes or when you climb mountains, you have to get underwriting that will favorably assess that condition. Once you consider the multitude of factors that are weighed in life insurance underwriting, you can see why it is possible for many people to be considered higher risk. These factors include current health, medical history, family medical history, vocation, hobbies, lifestyle, travel habits, and legal/financial/motor vehicle record.

Prequalification Tells You What Underwriting Is Available

Most people want to confirm the buying price before they make a major purchase, and this is true with life insurance as well. This is where prequalification comes in. Through this process, your underwriting challenges are identified before you go through formal underwriting. Carrier assessments of your risk are obtained so that tentative pricing can be determined. At that point, you can apply for coverage reasonably confident that your application will be approved at the rate quoted and your overall strategy for the product can be realized.

Prequalification is especially important for applicants who pose a higher risk. In this case, underwriting can be more complicated because atypical or abnormal health or lifestyle factors must be considered. It is critical that preliminary rates are solicited from the carriers who specialize in underwriting these types of risks and that the solicitation is made with thorough, accurate, and favorable information. This way your mortality risk can be assessed fairly and the rate quoted can be considered fair and reliable.

How I Can Help

Have you ever felt completely overwhelmed by the thought of purchasing life insurance? Maybe you’ve started the process but gave up when things got complicated. Many people don’t even pursue life insurance because they think their application will be denied. This is where I come in. I am here to help you overcome the obstacles and find a policy that is right for you. Ask me anything at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

Stay tuned for our next installment, where we will identify the other challenges you will face when purchasing a policy.

“Compare term life insurance rates at no cost from top rated companies in seconds.”
https://www.insurenowdirect.com/stevenkobrin/Default.aspx

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Pot and Life Insurance: Answers to the 10 Biggest Questions

pot and life inusrnace

Society’s perceptions of marijuana have undergone a drastic change since I was in junior high. Back then, it was normal for schools to assign Tuned Out as part of the curriculum and show “Reefer Madness” in class, with the intended purpose of teaching us that pot would turn you into an acid addict who would eventually go crazy or that getting stoned would result in a horrific car crash.

It’s true that pot could be a gateway drug for some people, and driving while impaired is always dangerous, but society as a whole has developed a much greater comfort level with marijuana. Is this change reflected in the life insurance industry? Through the years, I have helped many pot users purchase a policy, and these are the questions that often come up.

1. How Does Marijuana Affect Your Mortality?

While there is certainly valid information that shows the positive health effects of marijuana use, there is equally compelling data that points to the downsides of the drug on your health. Life insurance underwriters look at the impact on the total body. Here are some of their primary concerns:

  • Impaired driving
  • Acute respiratory illness and infections
  • Addiction, leading to risky behavior
  • Increased heart rate, potentially leading to a heart attack
  • Mental illness, including temporary psychotic reactions, depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and personality disturbances
  • With pregnant women, postpartum neurological issues

Clearly, each of these conditions could potentially impact your mortality.

2. Is Smoking Marijuana Treated The Same As Smoking Tobacco?

To a large extent, yes. Carriers tend to view both activities the same way, but they can differ from one another in how they treat these activities. Some will make their best underwriting class available while others will automatically assess an extra premium with a table rating.

A number of factors impact this determination, including frequency and dosage, how the marijuana is used (smoking, ingestion, or vaporization), and the age of the insured.

3. How Is Age A Factor In Underwriting Marijuana Users?

Some carriers perceive an increased mortality risk in younger users. They have good reasons for this, especially when it comes to automobile deaths. Therefore, they will not issue policies to people below a certain age, or, if they do issue a policy, they may automatically assess a table rating extra premium for those below a certain age. On the other hand, some carriers do not set a minimum age limit for this scenario.

4. Should I Stop Using Marijuana For A Few Weeks To Qualify For A Non-Smoker Rate?

Believe it or not, not every carrier tests for marijuana on every insurance exam. Carriers who don’t are relying on your application disclosures to underwrite you. While some people may be tempted to lie under these circumstances, there is a strong discouragement to do so.

First of all, even if your drug test comes back clean, your medical records may indicate your marijuana use since physicians often make a note of this in their charts. If you don’t acknowledge your use of pot on your application, you run the risk of being declined automatically. Underwriters don’t like it when it appears the applicant is trying to get away with something.

Secondly, your application requires you to sign a statement to the effect that, to the best of your knowledge, your answers to the questions are truthful. If you willingly withhold information, you could be accused of committing insurance fraud. The carrier would be within its rights to not pay the benefit, even if the cause of claim has nothing to do with drug use.

Also, cheating can artificially increase prices. Insurance companies need to make an accurate assessment of the risks they assume to ensure sufficient money has been allocated to meet anticipated claims. If they are not entirely aware of all the risks involved, they may underfund their reserves. This could result in an increase in prices to make up the difference, and you and everybody else could end up paying more than you should be.

Lastly, remember that your broker has an ethical and legal responsibility to report everything he knows about the underwriting risks you represent. This includes both medical and lifestyle-related risks, including anything you tell him about your personal habits. No such conversation is “off the record.” He cannot do you a favor or bend the rules to get your business because he could face fines, suspensions, and/or lawsuits.

5. Will How I Use Marijuana Change My Premium Price?

Many people don’t smoke marijuana. Instead, they eat it in home-baked goodies or vaporize it. How you get the drug in your system could result in a price break. There are some carriers who distinguish between smoking, ingesting, or vaporizing. The difference could be as significant as being rated a non-smoker as opposed to a smoker. Again, many other factors can influence what rate class you are assigned.

6. Will An Underwriter Recognize the Difference Between Medicinal and Recreational Use?

The odds are that you’ll be treated as a recreational user. It still boils down to how much you use, how you use it, and how frequently you use it.

It is crucial to recognize that the medical condition for which you have been prescribed marijuana will also be underwritten. All other factors being equal, conditions such as chronic pain, muscle spasms, and even PTSD may not require too much of an extra premium. But cancer, hepatitis C, and multiple sclerosis could result in a higher payment or even a declined application.

7. If I Purchase Insurance Now But Stop Smoking Later, Will My Rate Be Reduced?

It’s a good decision to get the policy now. If you need the coverage, you get it. You don’t want to wait for the optimum time to buy, because tragically, a claim may have to be paid in the meantime. You don’t want to shortchange your beneficiaries on the money they will need upon losing you.

Once you are insured, we can work on reducing the cost. When you have stopped using marijuana for a full year, you could very well be eligible for a lower premium. If things don’t work out for you, and you develop an unforeseen medical condition, then at least you will have life insurance in play! We can always try again the following year.

8. Will I Get In Trouble For Disclosing That I Use Pot If It Is Still Illegal In My State?

That’s a valid concern. Many people are uncomfortable with acknowledging their pot use when it is deemed illegal. However, you are protected by very stringent privacy protection regulations. Here is verbiage that is very typical among carrier contracts:

(Company) does not disclose any non-public personal financial or any non-public personal medical information about our customers or former customers to anyone, except as permitted or required by law. It is (Company’s) current policy not to disclose customer information to, or share customer information with, other businesses for marketing purposes.

9. Is It Possible To Get A Policy That Has A Marijuana Exclusion?

Yes. There are excess-market carriers that would not factor in your pot usage when they underwrite you. Your policy would have a clause that states they are not liable for a claim that is drug-related. Bear in mind that these policies are typically available only under specific business or financial circumstances, and can be more expensive than policies from mainstream carriers.

10. Marijuana Has Great Profit Potential. Will I Be Able To Obtain Life Insurance To Cover The Business?

We are all aware of the importance of life insurance for buy-sell funding, key person coverage, business loan protection, and other business needs, but is life insurance available for those on the business side of marijuana?

This question is perhaps the biggest indication that marijuana use has become an accepted norm in our society. If you can legitimately go into business selling it, then there can’t be a problem with it, right?

Of course, the key word here is legitimate. On the one hand, life insurance carriers don’t take on the responsibility of determining the legality of any applicant’s business. At the same time, I have not come across a domestic company who would offer a policy to somebody in this business, probably because they are still waiting for legalization. Nonetheless, there are foreign insurers that would provide coverage in this situation. While they often insure business people who provide services around the sale of marijuana, they would consider prospects directly involved in selling.

Just like alcohol and tobacco use, a history of using marijuana can affect your access to life insurance, but as times have changed, so has the life insurance industry. Prequalification would determine exactly how your particular use of marijuana would be treated by an underwriter, but you can still qualify for life insurance. If you have questions that were not addressed in this post, or if you are concerned about the premium costs for your unique circumstances, I am here to help. Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com so we can research your options and find a life insurance policy that will fit your needs.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to Investopedia, view his profile here.

“Compare term life insurance rates at no cost from top rated companies in seconds.”
https://www.insurenowdirect.com/stevenkobrin/Default.aspx

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

3 Tips For Buying Life Insurance For People Who Smoke

smoking

It’s a known fact that smoking carries many health effects, such as a higher risk of death, chronic disease, diabetes, and dental issues. But a side effect of smoking that isn’t as obvious is the increased cost of life insurance. Did you know that if you are currently a smoker, you can expect to pay two to three times as much for a policy than a nonsmoker? The good news is that you can get a policy, and if you were a smoker in the past and have quit, your premium cost will decrease.

And, under very special circumstances, you may even be able to pay non-smoker rates.

We have extensive case files that show that people who pose this particular underwriting risk were able to purchase a life insurance policy at a reasonable rate.

Here are three tips to keep in mind to overcome this obstacle and get insured:

Tip# 1: Be Honest. Really.

It is very tempting to think, “I don’t smoke much at all. What if I stop for a few weeks before the physical exam and tell them I have quit for good?” There’s a term for that: insurance fraud. Don’t do it. If you do, you could jeopardize the benefit getting paid. Plus, any broker who encourages you to lie on the application is steering you in the wrong direction.

When you get prequalified for coverage, you will be required to complete a smoking questionnaire, and it will need to be thorough and accurate for an underwriter to make a fair assessment of the risk involved. Give some thought to the answers so that all parties involved can be confident they know the full story.

Tip# 2: Look For Carriers Who Offer the Best Rates

You may not believe this, but you can bank on the fact that some carriers offer outstanding rates to smokers. The life insurance industry has become very sophisticated in underwriting people who smoke. As a matter of fact, non-smoker rates are available for people who smoke cigarettes, cigars, pipes, or e-cigarettes, or to those who chew tobacco or Nicorette. This even extends to people who smoke marijuana.

These exceptional rates aren’t guaranteed. A number of factors have to fall in place for you to qualify for non-smoker rates, but the point is this: odds are you can get an excellent rate, even as a smoker.

Tip# 3: You Can Always Search For A New Policy

If you need coverage immediately, buy a policy. It’s as simple as that. It makes no sense to postpone a necessary purchase on the hope and prayer that you will qualify for a better rate later. Your insurability is critical, and you simply cannot assume that some medical or lifestyle condition won’t emerge down the road to throw another wrench in the plan.

If you’re that confident you will kick the habit, then the smart thing to do is to cover yourself while you do so. Then, when you succeed, you can simply re-shop your coverage and go for a lower price. If you qualify, great. Just replace the policy. But if you don’t, then you will be very glad you bought the policy when you did.

It’s a known fact that smoking carries many health effects, such as a higher risk of death, chronic disease, diabetes, and dental issues. But a side effect of smoking that isn’t as obvious is the increased cost of life insurance. 

I am here to help. Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com so we can research your options and find the best life insurance policy for you.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

3 Tips For Buying Life Insurance For People With an Alcohol History

alcohol

Many people believe that you have to be in perfect health and live a low-risk lifestyle to obtain life insurance, but that’s not always the case. Did you know that you can purchase a life insurance policy at a reasonable rate, even if you have a history of alcohol abuse? We have seen success stories first-hand, drawn from our extensive case files of people who have done just that, despite the underwriting risk they pose.

Here are three ways you can overcome this obstacle in order to get insured:

Tip# 1: Get The Facts Straight

People who drink a lot often lose track of just how much they drink. Is it every day? A few times a week? How many glasses each time? How often do you drink for business? What about in the evenings or on weekends? Excessive alcohol use can cause long-term health problems, which is why life insurance companies pay attention to this issue.

When you go through prequalification for coverage, you will be required to complete an alcohol consumption questionnaire. You will need to be thorough and honest for an underwriter to make a fair assessment of the risk involved. Give some thought to this factor so that everyone involved can be confident they have the complete picture.

Tip# 2: Know What’s In Your Medical Records

Underwriters pay particular attention to lab reports to see the effects of your drinking on your organs, especially your liver function. They will want to see a history of results over time to see if any trends appear.

Underwriters also place a lot of weight on physician notes. They want to see if your doctor has instructed you to cut down or stop drinking altogether. Make sure you and your doctor are on the same page.

Tip# 3: Share Your Success Story

Everybody has ups and downs as they walk through life. But those who battle a drinking problem often have higher peaks and lower valleys than many others. However, you should be proud that you have reached a point in your life where you have a need for life insurance and the means to pay for it. This shows that you are on the right track.

Your underwriter will be keenly interested in the support system you have built along the way. Share about your participation in alcohol support groups. Be sure to mention your involvement in community groups, religious or fraternal organizations, and every other resource that has helped you find strength and courage. You are now on the straight and narrow, right? Brag about it! Sharing your story and your success can make a significant difference when your application is under review, so don’t underestimate the value of this step.

We have all made mistakes at some point in our lives. Just because you have a history with alcohol doesn’t mean you should be excluded from the benefits that life insurance offers. While you will need to go through prequalification to determine what pricing the insurance marketplace will offer you, you are not disqualified based on your lifestyle. If this resonates with you, or if you know someone who is in this position, I am here to help. Contact me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com so we can research your options and find the ideal life insurance policy for you.

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. Steven is a contributor to investopedia, view his profile here.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

5 Reasons Why You Should Disclose Your Prior Drug Use on Your Life Insurance Application

28108832021_13765ce10c_nLife insurance is probably the most comprehensively underwritten financial product in the marketplace. Everything from current health, to family medical history, to criminal record, is covered – with various lifestyle and health factors in between.

Many people are not comfortable disclosing personal information in these areas. Maybe they had a tough time battling depression. Perhaps they feel ashamed about a criminal conviction back in the day. Some are reluctant to talk about income, or prior financial issues.

Recreational drug use is a common sensitive topic. This is true for a variety of reasons, including concerns about illegality and social stigma. While I understand the hesitation to talk about it, I am here to report that you have everything to gain and nothing to lose by giving thorough and accurate answers to this and every other question on your application.

Here are five reasons why I believe this to be true, based on my 25 years selling the product:

1. If you don’t admit to usage, you are committing insurance fraud.

Your application contains verbiage very similar to this:

Any person who knowingly with intent to defraud any insurance company or other person, files an application for insurance or statement of claim containing any materially false information or conceals for the purpose of misleading, information concerning any fact material thereto commits a fraudulent insurance act, which may be a crime and may subject such person to criminal and civil penalties according to state law.

So if you did smoke pot or do coke back in the day, but deny doing so on the app, that is a materially false answer. So what can happen? The claim can be contested.

Your policy will contain verbiage very similar to this:

This policy shall be incontestable after it has been in force during the lifetime of the life insured for two years from the issue date, except for… fraud in the procurement of this policy, when permitted by applicable law in the state where this policy was delivered or issued for delivery…

I have always understood this to mean that if the company finds you lied about drug use, for example, then they could contest the claim even if the cause of death was not related to drugs. Why risk depriving your beneficiary of their money?

2. It probably won’t affect the rate anyway.

Your recreational activity 10, 15, or 20 years ago or more, does not necessarily affect your mortality now. Today, you are older and wiser, and engaging in activities that are better for your health. Underwriters understand that. Unless they have reason to believe you are at risk for going back to your old ways, odds are they will not hold your past against you pricewise.

Even if your drug use was more recent, it could affect your eligibility for a policy only temporarily. In the worst case, maybe an offer would be postponed. Perhaps additional premium would be assessed on a short-term basis. In both of these cases, your eligibility for coverage could be reassessed year after year until a carrier is found who would make a decent offer. Good deals that are not available now could be available later.

In some cases, current drug use would not preclude an offer now. For example, people who use marijuana can qualify for low rates, including non-smoker pricing in certain situations.

3. Going through full disclosure builds the confidence of underwriters.

Life insurance as a business. Like every good business deal, it has to be a win-win for all parties concerned. The consumer needs a policy that gets the job done. The company needs a paying customer. The broker needs to earn a commission once the sale is finalized.

Nobody wins when applications are declined for incomplete or contradictory data. If information emerges in underwriting that conflicts with other disclosures, then the deal can be off, and all parties involved will have wasted precious time and money.

Full disclosure in the prequalification stage of the purchase is essential for avoiding this problem. Once an underwriter sees that you have provided thorough and accurate answers on the “minor” stuff, like drug use long stopped, they are confident underwriting won’t uncover major inconsistencies that could kill the deal. They are much more likely to put their best rate on the table from day one and stick to it. You have established credibility with them.

4. It is a private matter.

Privacy protection regulations keep your application information within the strict confines of the insurance company and its affiliates. These laws are taken very seriously. You can see this with all the authorizations you have to sign for even those parties involved to have access to your application and underwriting file.

This means that nobody else gets to see your answers to the personal questions. Not your spouse, not your children. Not your business partner or employees. Not the bank who needs the life insurance to cover your business loan, or the investor who needs you covered as a key person.

It also means that the life insurance company is not going to report you to law enforcement agencies for having done something illegal back in the day. Go ahead and ask a criminal attorney if he’s worried about that happening. I don’t think so.

5. There is no stigma.

I understand that in the greater social environment, recreational drug use is considered “bad.” I recall being in “health” class in junior high school in the 60s. I think the instructor took great relish in forecasting doom if you smoked pot. First it would be marijuana, then you would move on to heroin, and finally you would end up in jail – or dead. Today, guys like that are still waging the “war on drugs” and trying to pack the prisons full of drug users.

Putting the politics aside, the fact of the matter is that many extremely successful and wealthy people have used recreational drugs. For some, it was a phase; with others, it became an addiction that needed treatment. Some still use them.

Since drug use can in some way impair health and functioning, it is valid for a life insurance company to determine how it may be impacting your mortality. With the proper direction from your broker, this assessment could and should be done fairly, and with the upmost respect and sensitivity. Find a broker you can trust, and you will be in good hands.

Please feel free to comment, or to contact me directly with a specific question. If you need a quote now, or a second opinion on a quote you have received, the best thing to do is to call me toll-free at (866) 633-1818. Or email me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. I also encourage you to download my free Life Insurance Guide – see the above tab. Many people have found it to be extremely educational.

“Compare term life insurance rates at no cost from top rated companies in seconds.”
https://www.insurenowdirect.com/stevenkobrin/Default.aspx

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

What To Do When Your Term Insurance Renewal Rate Spikes

TermInsurance

There’s a good chance that when you first purchased a term insurance policy, you were focused on finding a low-cost insurance policy. You were just starting a family, buying a house, and stretching your money thin due to other financial demands. So, you purchased a low-cost 15-year term policy. Now, it’s 15 years later, you still need life insurance, and you still have financial demands, but now your policy’s renewal premium is significantly higher than when you first purchased.

Unfortunately, this isn’t an uncommon situation. There are a number of reasons why your policy’s premium amount increases. The biggest reason is age. On average, a premium amount increases between 8% and 10% for every year of age. Every life insurance carrier has underwriting requirements that usually include health tests, and the older you are the more tests that are required.

Beyond age, the policy carrier may also be concerned about its reserves or the availability of credit. One insurance company was facing insolvency, and to avoid declaring bankruptcy, they realized they needed to reduce future liabilities. This meant they needed to eliminate a number of their policies. The best way to do this was to increase policy premiums in order to encourage some policyholders to cancel. Although the court ultimately ruled against the insurance company, this still remains the thought process for some companies.

If your term insurance premium has significantly increased when it comes time to renew, you do have options. Start by getting pre-qualified for life insurance to see your other options and what other policies for which you are eligible. This typically involves a complete medical exam and, depending on your age, the type of policy, and the amount of coverage, a carrier could request additional tests, such as treadmill test or EKG. You may discover that based on your age, health, and other factors that your premium renewal rate is on par with other quotes, or you may find you can obtain a different policy for much less.

As you shop around for different policies, consider a permanent life policy to avoid having to go through this ordeal again. Many term insurance policies can be converted or exchanged for a permanent life policy, including Whole Life and Universal Life, with no additional underwriting required. Whatever you choose to do, make sure you obtain another policy before cancelling your current one.

As I stated earlier, the unfortunate truth about term insurance is that the premium can significantly increase when it comes time to renew. If you are currently considering term insurance, consider your needs beyond the policy limits, whether it’s 10 or 30 years. You may discover permanent life is a better option for your needs. If you already have a term policy that is approaching its renewal date, start looking into alternative policies now so you can be prepared and know your options.

If you have questions about term insurance or would like a second opinion on a life insurance quote you have received, please call me (866) 633-1818 or send me an email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com. I also encourage you to download my free Life Insurance Guide, which you can see in the above tab.

“Compare term life insurance rates at no cost from top rated companies in seconds.”
https://www.insurenowdirect.com/stevenkobrin/Default.aspx

About Steve

Steven Kobrin is a life insurance expert with 25 years experience. He serves high-net-worth individuals and business owners as well as high risk and uninsurable “impaired cases.” Steven offers concierge life insurance process to ensure the policy is approved as it’s quoted. To learn more, visit his website, read his blog, connect with him on LinkedIn, or request a policy audit today by calling his office at (866) 633-1818 or by email at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Life Insurance for the Walking Wounded: People With PTSD

ptsd-e1383860925532People with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are among the walking wounded. They have been through a lot. They are survivors. In my work helping them to purchase life insurance, I have developed an affection and admiration for many.

When you find out what these folks have been through, it makes you cringe. Some have experienced horrible abuse, sexual and otherwise – at home. At school. In a place of worship. In prison.

Some have survived horrible accidents – plane crashes. Car crashes.

Some have been traumatized simply through trying to help others survive terrible events. I have met a number of first responders to the Twin Towers on 911 who were greatly affected by the ordeal.

And then you have the many returning warriors. Veterans who served their country in battle and came home battered and bruised, both inside and out.

I know life insurance underwriters who want to help these people. They want to make offers. What will give them a comfort level taking on the risk, and at a reasonable price? Here are a few of their primary concerns:

Diagnosis and treatment

People with PTSD can have all kinds of symptoms. Their emotions can be so out of wack. They can experience great rage, but also severe depression. Trouble sleeping.

They can have numerous psychological and neurological problems. Nightmares. Flashbacks. They can jump at the drop of a hat. It’s as if you can take the man or woman out of the battle, but you can’t take the battle out of the man or woman.

Medically, there can be many conditions. There can be complications with many organs. Bad stomachs. Headaches. The stress level they have experienced can overburden their system.

In all these cases, an underwriter wants to be sure the potential applicant has reached out for help. Has received the proper medical attention. Has identified the problem and been prescribed a course of treatment. And is compliant with that prescription.

Support system

I have found that people with PTSD can attempt to treat themselves before seeking professional help. They can try to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. In a way, I guess they are trying to escape, and to numb the pain. Who can blame them?

But the drugs and alcohol just create additional problems. We all know that. An underwriter will pay special attention to any drug or alcohol history, to make sure it is indeed history. A major factor in the potential applicant’s favor will be participation in a support group. Strong family backing and communal involvement also help.

Functionality

Sadly, people with PTSD can have a really tough time managing their relationships, both personal and professional. Marriages get severely strained. As do relationships with kids. And parents.

Jobs can be hard to keep. Careers can be difficult to restart. If the potential applicant has managed to find stability at home and also at work, these are big plusses from an underwriting point of view. They also mean that odds are against the potential applicant taking drastic action, like contemplating suicide.

Let’s help these folks!

I like to help anybody and everybody buy life insurance. Every man and woman deserves a shot at the coverage they need at the price they can afford. And as a professional salesperson, I have to be respectful and sensitive to the unique circumstances of each and every client. Sometimes, though, the plight of a particular people strikes you really deep. Folks with PTSD affect me that way. They have really been through a lot, and I really try hard to help them.

Along these lines, I want to direct you to a fantastic story about a Ukrainian teenager who helps the veterans of her country deal with their PTSD. Her remarkable efforts have been reported by Nolan Petersen of the Daily Signal. Reading it will make your day.

Please feel free to comment, or to contact me directly with a specific question.

If you need a quote now, or a second opinion on a quote you have received, the best thing to do is to call me toll-free at (866) 633-1818. Or email me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

I also encourage you to download my free Life Insurance Guide – see the above tab. Many people have found it to be extremely ed

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Are You a Preferred Risk?

download (3)Life insurance underwriting can be kind of mysterious. Lurking behind the risk assessment lie underwriting classes. You have preferred, and standard, and so on.

Does everyone get preferred? Can everyone get preferred? This question was asked recently on Quora.

Here is my answer.

Please feel free to comment, or to contact me directly with a specific question.

If you need a quote now, or a second opinion on a quote you have received, the best thing to do is to call me toll-free at (866) 633-1818. Or email me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

I also encourage you to download my free Life Insurance Guide – see the above tab. Many people have found it to be extremely educational.

 

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

I’m Healthy Now! Should I Reshop My Life Insurance?

AAEAAQAAAAAAAAjCAAAAJGJkNzFhNGU3LTgwYTktNDU0ZC05MzkwLTAyMGM4ZTE0NGZhZQYes, you should. You have nothing to lose!

I get asked this question a lot by clients who originally bought life insurance when they were dealing with a serious illness. Hepatitis. Diabetes. Heart disease. Recent cancer.

But that was ten or fifteen years ago. Now you have successfully completed treatment! Or you have modified your lifestyle for the better. You are stable. Your labs are good. Your physician has made all kinds of nice comments about you in your medical file 🙂

You are healthy! Would it be possible to reduce the cost of your coverage? Let’s give it a shot!

First I will try to get us into a price ballpark. This way we can determine what savings just might be available. If those numbers look good, then we can go through full prequalification.

All this takes place before you submit a formal application, of course. We don’t want to raise false hope or waste anyone’s time.

If it looks like we can get a better a deal, then by all means you go through underwriting. It goes without saying that you do not drop your current policy until the new one is in place. We DO NOT want a lapse in coverage.

And rest assured: your attempt to get better pricing from another company will in no way violate your contract with the current carrier. As long as you keep paying that premium, they are stuck with you 🙂

Here is the bottom line: since you are now healthy, you may very well qualify for a lower life insurance rate. Prequalification is a short and sweet way to find out. Take advantage of it!

“Compare term life insurance rates at no cost from top rated companies in seconds.”
https://www.insurenowdirect.com/stevenkobrin/Default.aspx

Thanks for dropping in!

Please feel free to comment, or to contact me directly with a specific question.

If you need a quote now, or a second opinion on a quote you have received, the best thing to do is to call me toll-free at (866) 633-1818. Or email me at skobrin@stevenkobrin.com.

I also encourage you to download my free Life Insurance Guide – see the above tab. Many people have found it to be extremely educational.

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Continuous Underwriting Continued

life-insurance-17-terminosI was just featured in an article by Cyril Tuohy on InsuranceNewsNet, “Health Data Leads to Floating Premiums in Some Life Policies.”

My opinion was solicited in an analysis of “continuous underwriting.” Here is one quote:

“If you make it convenient for a person to stay with you, there’s less temptation to shop it out but if I’m a consumer I wouldn’t want to prevent the convenience of getting a better deal elsewhere,” Kobrin said.

(Read the full article)

Continuous underwriting remains a hot topic in the industry. I addressed it in two prior blog posts:

http://www.planrisklive.com/power-to-the-policyholder/

http://www.planrisklive.com/its-5am-does-your-insurer-know-where-you-are/

There’s a lot to think about here. What do you think are the pros of continuous underwriting? How about the downside?

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

Breast Cancer: A Life Insurance Deal…Maker?

Some people have a tough time getting life insurance.

This is especially true of people with a cancer history.

Women with a history of breast cancer can sometimes feel it’s almost impossible to get a policy.

But the good news is that it could be easier than you think…

Breast cancer can actually be a deal-maker, not a deal-breaker!

Reason to be Optimistic

Financial writer Barbara Marquand does a solid job of addressing this issue for NerdWallet.

Here is one of her key points:

“Don’t despair if you get turned down for coverage by one company. The underwriting process varies among insurers, which is why it’s so important to get quotes from different carriers….don’t be afraid to apply for life insurance.”

I can tell you from first-hand experience that there is hope for people who have a history of breast cancer to buy life insurance.

This is important because breast cancer is unfortunately very common.

Many of us know someone personally who has had to treat it.

These folks need life insurance as much as anybody else – perhaps more so.

Get Prequalified Correctly

It is certainly true that a broker who knows how to handle the risk factor, and what questions to ask, will be able to get you good rates.

Here’s what else you need to know:

  • Prequalification is essential. It is possible to identify the company, product, and price before you apply. Your broker should be able to effectively pre-underwrite you to confirm that going through formal underwriting will be worthwhile. You do not want to use underwriting to get a quote because that could waste your time, and also produce an unnecessary flag on your record of insurance applications.
  • If you are not eligible for coverage now, you may be at a future point. Your broker should be able to tell you what circumstances prevented you from qualifying for a policy now, and what those circumstances need to be in order to qualify in the future.
  • Application problems in the past don’t have to affect the future. Many people are declined or rated for coverage unnecessarily. They had applied with the wrong company, or were not effectively prequalified. If your broker can successfully account for these misdirected efforts, then they do not have to affect your eligibility for coverage going forward.

Your Insurability Must be Managed Closely

Managing insurability is part and parcel of financial planning.

Many times it takes specialized expertise to help a client become eligible for coverage.

The services of a life insurance specialist are key to the planning process.

How about you? Have you – or someone you know – tried to buy life insurance with a cancer history, especially breast cancer? How did it work out?

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.

How Climbers & Divers Can Save Money

dreamstime_xs_30093945Greedy life insurance companies are NOT out to rip you blind.

Men and women who enjoy adventurous hobbies like scuba diving and rock-climbing do NOT have to pay an arm and a leg for coverage.

As a matter of fact, the rates charged can be surprisingly reasonable.

I know this contradicts everything you have been taught about big, bad insurance companies.

Bear with me as I give you the rest of the story.

Risk Less, Pay Less?

Writer Aubrey Cohen does a great job of explaining how people with adventurous hobbies are assessed for life insurance rates in Nerdwallet.

He asks the all-important question:

What happens when you retire from that activity?

When you bought life insurance, perhaps you had to pay more because you engaged in a dangerous hobby you’ve since given up. Or perhaps you’ve quit smoking in the years since you purchased your policy. Now that you’ve stopped, how can you get your insurance company to lower your premiums?

His inquiry gives us a good opportunity to explain further how premiums are set for “higher-risk” applicants, with regards to both lifestyle and also medical condition.

Here’s the big news:

Life insurance companies will be reasonable when assessing the level of risk you represent.

If you pose a lower risk, they will lower the rate.

Surprise!

How to Drop Your Premium

Nobody wants to overpay for anything, let alone life insurance.

If your lifestyle or medical condition changes so you could be eligible for a lower cost, there is a procedure available for you to do so.

Take heart!

You can save money when budgeting for your life insurance.

And – here’s the clincher – it is not true that completely dropping a risky habit/hobby is the best/only way to get better rates.

  • Very reasonable rates can be available for people who still enjoy the hobby. Life insurance companies specialize in the risks they underwrite. Some are strong for cardiac cases, others for diabetes cases, others are strong for rock climbers, while still others are strong for scuba divers. As a matter of fact, an underwriter with a very clear understanding of the hobby may not assess much comparatively extra premium at all.
  • Waiting periods are not always necessary for a rate reduction. If the broker provides proper perspective on the lifestyle change, an underwriter may provide a lower rate immediately. For example, if an avid rock climber retires due to a new child, the right underwriter may completely understand that he or she really doesn’t want to climb any more and put his family at risk. The rate reduction could be immediate.
  • Many companies will wait just 12 months after smoking cessation to allow for non-smoker rates. This would be proven by a written statement on the application, as well as a negative test for nicotine in a urine sample. It should also be noted that some companies actually specialize in smokers (this includes both tobacco and marijuana.) Depending on the amount used and frequency, non-smoker rates may actually be available!

How to Find a Good Rate

The life insurance industry is full of specialization and subspecialization.

The job of the broker is to find the underwriter who is the best match for a particular client.

A thorough prequalification process will accomplish this and give the client confidence that the rate quoted is the most competitive available, and also one at which he or she will be approved.

What do you think? Are you surprised that life insurance could be affordable for people with higher risks?

 

Want to learn more?
Read my free guide, How To Get Great Life Insurance Rates and learn how you can get life insurance companies to compete for your business, at no risk or extra cost.