Eligibility and Underwriting

Looking under the microscope of insurability factors.

Drug Policy and Life Insurance

http://www.dreamstime.com/royalty-free-stock-images-medical-marijuana-image24146929President Obama may be taking a less punitive approach in his drug policy.

Jacob Sullum reports in Reason.com that halfway into his last term, the president is apparently reconsidering the aggressive role the federal government has been playing in the war on drugs thus far.

Sullum mentions a number of options, including clemency, that are being reviewed. Yet, he feels that the most noteworthy potential change in policy deals with the balance of power in our country:

If none of those things happens, Obama’s most significant drug policy accomplishment may be letting states go their own way on marijuana legalization. Even if our next president is a Republican drug warrior, he will have a hard time reversing that decision, especially given the GOP’s lip service to federalism.

The possibility of using executive clemency to free thousands or even hundreds of incarcerated drug offenders would certainly create controversy.

I am sure hard-liners would be concerned about a possible weakening of deterrence from drug-related misdeeds. Soft-liners would mention the eased burden on our criminal justice system.

Speaking as a life insurance salesman, I would talk about the potential for more clients!

People in jail find it virtually impossible to get coverage. People out of jail can get great rates. (Whether or not they are on probation or parole would, of course, be a consideration.)

I also think that leniency for drug use at the federal level would result in more lenient underwriting on people that do use recreational drugs. The illegality of marijuana, etc., often poses an obstacle in qualifying for a policy.

Needless to say, any deleterious health impact drug use has would pose additional difficulty.

 

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.

Why Do People Lie About Their Smoking?

It is well-known that insurance applications ask about the smoking of tobacco. Here is an example:

1 Do you use tobacco in any form? 2 If yes, what type of product(s) have you used? 2a Cigarette? 2b Cigar ? 2c Pipe? 2d Smokeless? 3 Are you currently using a nicotine delivery system? 4 Has the proposed insured used nicotine in the past 12 months?

It is also well known that smokers can pay twice the price (or more!) as non-smokers. Clearly, there is a big financial incentive to get non-smoker rates.

So do people lie about their smoking when they apply for life insurance? Take a guess.

The answer is yes, many do. A recent study James Palmier, MD, of Quest Diagnostics shows that not only do people lie, but most of the lying takes place within specific groups of people: males below age 30 and above age 60, who reside in certain states, and who purchase face amounts of $500,000 and higher.

Why is that? Here is one explanation provided by Dr. Palmier:

A possible reason behind these findings (other than overt misrepresentation) may be that young adults self-identification as users remains ambivalent, while in old ages, embarrassment from non-compliance with medical orders to abandon the nicotine habit mounts.

So younger people aren’t quite sure if they consider themselves smokers – even if they do smoke – and older people don’t want to admit it because their doctor had told them to stop.

Can all this misrepresentation effect the rates for life insurance? Dr. Palmier says yes, indeed, it can:

While the majority of biochemically confirmed tobacco users accurately report their status (self-reporting sensitivity is 80.7%), the remaining large minority of false-negative self-reporting cases would be more than sufficient to undermine the pricing assumptions of most life insurance products if accepted as truthful by underwriters.

It’s pretty simple: underwriters are basing rates on what they believe to be truthful disclosures by applicants. Unfortunately, so many smokers are not being truthful that these assumptions are thus being undermined. So what would happen then? Very possibly a huge rate increase when your term policy renews, as well as a huge increase in new business rates for new applicants.

They say that the truth hurts, but in this case, the untruth can hurt more. What do you think about this situation?

 

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.

Who Should Decide What New Drugs You Take?

ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is very serious. It is virtually a diagnosis of terminal illness. As such, life insurance underwriters typically do not make offers. A few guaranteed-issue products that are good for burial money could be available in some states. In other instances, the patient might be eligible for a group term product with no underwriting. That is about it for life insurance options.

It is one of those diseases that has caught our attention because of its namesake, Lou Gehrig. It is the subject of continuous scientific inquiry to come up with treatments that can prolong survival, and maybe even cure it.

The federal government asserts control over what new medications enter the marketplace. They have their reasons for allowing and not allowing drugs into our hands. It unfortunately cannot be said that every decision they make is in the best interest of the public. Isn’t it in the nature of a bureaucracy to cover itself whenever possible?

Such a mentality could deprive people of treatments that can make them better. They could live longer, they could live healthier – and they could buy life insurance. If you have a good, sound reason to believe a drug would help you, should the government stop you from buying it?

Walter E Williams is a professor of economics and a political commentator. He writes about the FDA holding up clinical trials that have considerable promise for people with ALS. My reading of his article is that the FDA really has no good reason to prevent this. Take a look at what he says. What do you think?

 

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.

“Can I Get Life Insurance With a Criminal Record?”

Throughout my career in the life insurance industry, I have come across an amazing number of people with a criminal record. Some examples include:

  • a male teacher having sex with a (willing but technically underage) girl (and not his student);
  • a pharmacist who became addicted to painkillers, stealing from his store’s inventory;
  • a business owner who had hung out with the wrong, drug-running crowd in his younger days;
  • a businessman caught up in a racketeering crackdown because he made an innocent mistake with cash;
  • an attorney busted for possession of cocaine during his frenetic law school days;
  • a corporate executive arrested for assault after he and his wife were mugged.

The arm of the law is indeed long, and I think sometimes it is too long. Some of these folks had it coming, but others were caught up by government agents, cops, or prosecutors with an agenda – and wound up with a criminal record. (My own opinion is that the vast amount of time in America, the law works to protect the innocent and prosecute the guilty – but that is a topic for another post.)

As a life insurance broker, my job is to get people coverage. This involves addressing the concerns life insurance companies have about people with a criminal record. Carriers know that jails and prisons can be dangerous places, and want to be confident you won’t end up there again. If you had been running with the wrong crowd, they want to know you have upgraded your choice of friends. If prior addictions led you to criminal activity, they want to be sure you have turned the corner. If you unfortunately were victimized by “the man,” they just want to see that your life is back on track.

The fact of the matter is that things happen. The extent to which you have stayed straight or become straight goes a long way towards making you insurable. A stable family life, a successful business, a growing career, and community involvement are all indications of someone who stays away from trouble. They can encourage a life insurance company to want your business.

Do you have blemishes on your criminal record that need some polish?

 

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.

“Can My Child Get Life Insurance – Without Vaccinations?”

Epidemic and pandemics are of great concern to life insurance companies. Diseases that can significantly increase the probability of early death or disability are watched like oncoming cyclones. Emerging cultural attitudes and changes in public medical policy are noted for their impact on the health – and insurability – of the population.  A good example of this is the current issue surrounding vaccinations.

The hot debate about vaccinations has become very interesting, spurring many questions: Will so many people opt out that dangerous diseases become widespread? Will enough people opt in so that the number of people that do become infected has minimal impact? Must the government take charge and force people to comply?

Reason magazine has a superb debate here on the topic, “Should vaccines be mandatory?” It shows all sides of the arguments surrounding vaccinations.

This issue is personal to me. I have a family relative who contracted polio as a child. Thankfully, he beat it and grew to live a long life as an able-bodied adult. He was one of the fortunate children who survived. As recently as sixty years ago, thousands of children per year died from this most-feared disease. But in 1955, the US began widespread vaccinations. By 1979, the disease had been virtually eliminated.

It is worth mentioning that measles are making a comeback, especially among groups who do not get vaccinations due to religious or philosophical beliefs.

The lack of vaccinations against serious disease is an important factor to consider in the health, longevity, and insurability of our children.

What do you think is best for your children?

 

 

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.

Is It Hard for Seniors to Get Life Insurance?

The world of medical technology never ceases to amaze. New and improved diagnostic studies, procedures, and lab tests are constantly being invented. As you can imagine, life insurance companies eagerly avail themselves of these tools. They want to make as thorough and accurate an assessment as possible of an applicant’s mortality. This is true for all ages of potential clients, and is especially true for seniors.

New Tests Mean New Hope for Seniors

I have seen verbal exercises employed to evaluate cognitive functioning. I have also seen blood tests performed to measure heart impairment. As insurance carriers keep coming up with these, I keep rooting them on. Why? Because I know that such deep knowledge could make an underwriter comfortable in offering a low rate. It could certainly give me a strong foundation for advocating hard for leniency.

Then again, such scrutiny may indicate that candidates are really not eligible for coverage at this time. It may even show that their health is not really as good as their doctors claim. Doctors tend to lapse into a “let’s see what happens” approach. On the other hand, life insurance underwriters have to put their money where their mouth is, and so tend to be highly scrupulous in their risk assessment. There have been many times when I have given a potential applicant news about their health and encouraged them to seek a second opinion. Then, when their condition has been stabilized, they can come back with the exact information I need to advocate once again for a low rate.

For Seniors, Knowledge is Power

When it comes to your health, knowledge can be power, and more knowledge can give you more power. This is especially true for seniors whose medical history can pose a number of underwriting challenges. The more underwriters know, the more opportunities they have to make favorable risk assessments.

For more insights into how industries are accommodating seniors, read 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.

“I Survived Sexual Abuse. Can I Get Life Insurance?”

021030-N-0967W-020Michael Reagan, the eldest son of Ronald Reagan, recently disclosed to the world that he is a survivor of sexual abuse as a child.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned while helping survivors of abuse to get life insurance, it’s that it is hard enough to come to grips with your own trauma.

It is double hard to do so as the son of a celebrity – indeed of the former president of the United States. To do so publicly, as a noted columnist and radio talkshow host, takes enormous bravery.

I salute Mr. Reagan.

I wish all survivors could have his courage.

Many of them seem to be out there.

Over the past few months we’ve heard claims of a pedophile ring among Hollywood bosses.

Budding actors and actresses seem to always have to “sleep their way to the top,” but the predation on children makes it all especially sinister.

Sexual Abuse Isn’t Unique to Hollywood

But we can’t kid ourselves into believing that all the bad things happen only in the show business world. The facts speak for themselves: as many as one in three girls and one in seven boys will be sexually abused in their childhood. In a country of 300+ million people, the victims would count in the millions. They are not all in celebrity parties. They are in the homes of our neighbors, in our schools, and in our religious institutions.

Many of them are now grown up and trying to live normal and decent lives. They do their best at not letting their wounds interfere with their relationships and careers. They start families, take on mortgages, form businesses.

And so they try to buy life insurance. Is it easy? Actually it does not have to be that hard. Let me tell you the story of one client.

Drug Abuse and Depression

She called me a number of years ago to ask if I can get a policy for someone with a history of depression. I answered that generally I could, but whether or not I could help her depended on the particulars of her case. We started a dialogue.

In the course of our conversation I learned of the prior history of drug and alcohol abuse. There had been some rough patches, treatments, and relapses. She very clearly had been fighting to control the dark forces that had been haunting her. As we spoke further I realized that the drugs and alcohol were really her attempts at self-medicating for depression. She thought so too, and acknowledged that the official diagnosis and treatment of depression enabled her to finally dropped the drugs.

Depression and Sexual Abuse

But what had caused the depression in the first place? It was then that she shared a bit of her troubled childhood, and of the sexual abuse she had suffered. The trauma finally took its toll when she was a young adult and that’s when the depression symptoms started. Clearly, it had been a long, tough struggle for her to finally come to grips with that experience and not let it drive her life.

But what a great story it was! She had gone from childhood sexual abuse victim, to troubled teen, to out-of-control depressive and substance abuser, to compliant medical patient with a stable history and flourishing life. And as a testimony to her triumph, she qualified for very good life insurance rates.

The stories of sexual abuse survivors, although fraught with tragedy, can be inspiring.

Whose brave tales have you heard?

 

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 If I ‘Lie’ On My Insurance Application?”

liedetectorA recent court case in Colorado illuminates one potential problem when a life insurance application contains erroneous information.

Here are the facts:

  1. A life insurance agent miswrote the age of the insured/applicant on the application. He made her six years younger than she really was.
  2. The applicant/insured reviewed and sign the application.
  3. She subsequently passed away, and the beneficiary filed a claim.
  4. In processing the claim, the insurance company realized the error. They paid the beneficiary a reduced amount based on the actual age and premium collected.
  5. The beneficiary sued them on the grounds that the mistake was unintentional.
  6. A court ruled that the misstatement of age did not have to be intentional in order for the company to reduce the benefit. They did this as per the terms of the contract, which were written according to state law.

What we learn from this:

Misstatement of age can be such a common mistake that life insurance policies have provisions to handle that. Whether or not the mistake was intentional is irrelevant.

Less common misrepresentations may not be so cleanly handled. Nondisclosure of medical conditions or treatment, or of lifestyle risks such as adventurous hobbies, could result in the refusal to pay a claim.

Prequalification is essential for ensuring full disclosure by the potential applicant. After going through prequalification, all parties involved can sleep at night knowing that erroneous information will not come back to haunt the beneficiary.

Are you 100% sure you went through full disclosure on your life insurance application?

 

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.

Can I Get life Insurance With A Selfie Obsession?

People are going crazy with selfies. President Obama raised quite a stir with his selfie at Nelson Mandella’s memorial service. Then, baseball star David Ortiz raised a ruckus with his selfie at the White House. All harmless fun, however inappropriate.

But there is unfortunately a serious side to the this phenomenon. Some people are literally going crazy with them. As reported by Rebecca Savastio in Liberty Voice, selfies are now being linked to narcissism, mental illness, addictions and suicide. She refers to the tragic case of …

a man diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder says he grew suicidal due to his addiction to taking selfies. Danny Bowman says he became so obsessed with trying to take the “right” selfie that he ended up shooting about 200 pictures a day while trying desperately to capture the perfect image of himself.

Wow. It sounds as if people can use some straight advice for using this technology without going overboard. Psychologist Pamela Rutledge makes some good points about this in her article for Psychology Today.

From a life insurance underwriting review, a selfie obsession could pose a new challenge. Let’s suppose the practice spins out of control, and medication or other forms of treatment become necessary. That could become an item the broker must address. The typical life insurance application has this question: “has the applicant been treated for chronic fatigue, stress, depression, anxiety, or any other emotional or psychological condition?”

If the answer is yes, then the broker must put that into proper perspective. The good news is that there are many underwriters who keep current on societal trends regarding mental illness. (I bet a number of them have a few selfies in their own phones). They should be willing to assess a very reasonable rate with the proper understanding.

Do you know people who have problems with selfies? Have they had trouble getting life insurance?

 

 

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 Do I Need to Know About Life Insurance for Older People?

A recent article in USA today states that older workers may still need life insurance. This is true. Here is what you need to know:

1. If your spouse is still dependent on your income, you will need life insurance for income replacement.

2. If you have incurred debts, such as a second mortgage, you will need life insurance so your spouse can pay those off.

3. If your pension distribution will terminate upon your demise, you will need life insurance so your spouse will not suffer the loss of that income.

4. Term insurance may be appropriate, but many times it is not. If you buy 10-year term insurance at age 70, how much higher do you think the price will be if you have to buy more insurance at age 80? Permanent insurance would avoid that problem

5. Remember that if you have insurance in force, but it is not needed by a family member, you can use it as a charitable bequest. Your favorite group that does good deeds would remember you as a hero.

6. These days, life insurance carriers specialize and even sub-specialize in population niches. Premiums can be very reasonable.

7. Specific needs for life insurance, such as estate preservation, might call for a joint policy with your spouse. Pricing here can be very economical.

Be sure to consult with a planner, and a broker who specializes in policies for older ages.

 

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 to Get Life Insurance and Plan Your Estate

How to get life insurance and plan your estate? That was a topic recently discussed by two close friends and business owners. Ross, a 50-year-old manufacturing industry executive, sits down for lunch one day with long-time friend George, a 68-year-old small business owner now considering retirement. As they spent time catching up on each other’s lives, estate planning came up. Here, we listen in on their conversation.

“Yeah, I just came down here to visit my mother,” Ross shares with his long-time friend, George. “Sort of giving Courtney a little break, you know?” The pair met years before, when Ross walked into the offices of G & A Manufacturing, the most prominent and prestigious corporation in their industry. As a 21-year-old, fresh faced intern, Ross was at the bottom of the corporate ladder. George took a genuine interest in him, becoming first his mentor, and eventually his friend. Ross always appreciated George for his kindness in those early days; years later, he still sought him for important advice.

George nods in agreement, smiling. “Ah, yes. How’s Courtney these days?” he asked.

“Good. She’s real good. We’ve been working together day and night on the business to wrap it up for sale, as well as on our various charitable commitments. Sometimes when I talk to her, it’s easy to see she needs a break, so I take that four-hour trip down here to give her… what do women call it? A little ‘ME-time?’”

George chuckles a bit. “I know what you mean. So, is the buyer financing in place?”

Problem: taxation of wealth.

“Yeah, it is We are all set to close. Now I have to think about paying a hefty estate tax. My net worth is going to increase considerably, even after all taxes from the sale are paid. I need to make sure the kids can pay Uncle Sam after Courtney and I are gone.” George nods, prompting Ross to continue. “Having that heart attack two years ago really ‘woke me up’, George. So, I started looking for life insurance coverage as soon as I was released from the hospital. I had no IDEA how tough it would be! It’s like companies keep saying, ‘Nope. Not with this medical history.’”

George interjects, “Yeah, companies can be pretty stringent with their requirements these days. I had the same problem recently. I read about estate taxation in Denis Clifford’s estate planning book and started the process. I, too, sought to get a policy. Apparently by their standards, at 68 with my health history, you’re an old geezer and nobody would take a chance on me.”

How to get a low rate with a history of serious illness?

Ross smiled at the joke, but the look of concern soon returned. “So, what do we do now?”

“Glad you asked,” George chimed right in, not missing a beat. “I asked some other buddies of mine who, like me, own small businesses, are looking toward retirement, and are trying to get their financials in order.”

Ross perked up, now sitting at the edge of his seat. “And what’d they tell you?”

Getting started.

“Well, it’s a little uncomfortable, so a lot of us put it off, Ross. But you need everything in writing, you know that. Have your attorneys draw up a will, as well as Power of Attorney, in case you’re sick and can’t tell your family what you want.”

“Okay,” Ross replied. “What about the life insurance?” He looked glum. “I really would rather my kids not have to sell properties just to pay a tax bill!”

How to get life insurance and plan your estate? It takes the right broker.

“They won’t have to!” exclaimed George. “My buddies referred me to a broker who specializes in tough cases. He can help you, Ross — I’m gonna recommend you to him. Listen, he knows how to choose the right carrier. He’ll fight to get it done for you, even if you’ve had problems before. Plus, he is licensed in 48 states, so if you and Courtney decide to retire to Florida to be closer to family, you won’t have to find a new agent.”

“Wow, George! I knew I could count on you. I’ll give him a call today.”

 

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 insurance is available for an elder with spreading cancer?

font-illustration-letter-q_MJMrdDjdMy eighty-year-old mother has been in a nursing home for a few years. After an aid noticed blood on her undergarments and found her chest to be discolored and deformed, she was sent to an oncologist – who then discovered a huge mass on her breast and diagnosed her with breast cancer. The scan showed that it has begun spreading into her bones. On top of it all, she’s a smoker! According to the oncologist, her life expectancy is approximately two years. Is there any insurance available for her, besides guaranteed issue whole life, which does not require medical exams or the answering of health questions?

[Read more…]

 

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 can I qualify for life insurance with a fatty liver?

font-illustration-letter-q_MJMrdDjdI just found out that I don’t even qualify for insurance due to my fatty liver, which may be alcohol related. So what can I do? I can’t get rid of a fatty liver, even if it’s because of my diet or my meds. And it’s really important to me to leave money for my family. What are three things I can do to qualify for life insurance?

[Read more…]

 

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.

Can I get standard rates with prediabetes?

font-illustration-letter-q_MJMrdDjdSix months ago, I was declined for a $500k, 20-year term life policy because my blood sugars were a little elevated. Not quite Type 2 Diabetes status. Since then I’ve lost twenty five pounds (I’m currently six feet, two-hundred pounds). What can I do to get insured at standard, or even sub-standard, rates?

[Read more…]

 

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.

Am I Insurable After So Many Painkillers?

font-illustration-letter-q_MJMrdDjdI used to have a problem with taking a lot of painkillers. Buprenorphine helped me with that and I’ve been bupe-free for about a year now…but now I’ve got THAT in my patient history! I haven’t used anything “questionable” in over three years – nothing illegal, nothing legitimately prescribed but taken irresponsibly, and nothing that wasn’t prescribed by a doctor. I’m clean as a whistle and I work out almost daily. I need another $500k in coverage but I’m afraid that no life insurance company will even look at me because of my history with painkillers. Does this ever change? What can I do to make myself a better candidate for life insurance?  [Read more…]

 

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.

Should I Take An Exclusion For “Risky Activities”?

font-illustration-letter-q_MJMrdDjdEvery life insurance policy that I’ve looked at required an answer to the “risky activities” question; even if they didn’t ask in the initial forms, they asked it later on. I chose not to lie and was denied coverage when I applied. The best offer I’ve gotten is a policy with an exclusion for the risky activity, rock climbing. Should I take the policy? Could I have refused to answer the question in the first place? [Read more…]

 

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, the President, and Life Insurance

President Obama’s recent remarks about marijuana have “stirred the pot” about this controversial topic. To what extent current laws should be changed has once again entered the national debate.

In the life insurance business, we must deal with the situation as it is today. So, this is a good opportunity to share some pointers about how to get life insurance when you smoke marijuana.

1. It it is important to know that you can get non-smoker rates even if you are a pot smoker, under certain conditions. You can even qualify for preferred underwriting.

2. You must go through full disclosure and be comfortable detailing the frequency, amount, and duration of your habit. In addition, you must disclose the prior use of hard drugs, if applicable.

3. If your doctor’s notes indicate that you are suffering from anxiety or depression, and that you have been self-medicating for this with marijuana, that may create an obstacle.

4. Strict ethical and legal privacy protection constraints prevent the broker, the general agent, and the carrier from reporting your drug use to the authorities.

5. Medical marijuana is typically treated the same as recreational marijuana. Some exceptions may exist.

These are simply guidelines. Prequalification would give you a firm understanding of what pricing would be available to you.

What other questions on this topic would you like to see addressed?

 

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 to Get a Life Insurance Quote Without Risking a Formal Application

How to Get a Life Insurance Quote: One of the Big Questions in Life

“How can I get a life insurance quote?” This is a question men and women across the country are mulling over. It ranks right up there along with the other major life issues people ponder in the deepest recesses of their souls. “Who will I marry?” “How can I get rich?” “What makes me happy?” “When will we have world peace?” And, “How can I get a life insurance quote without risking a formal application?”

Why is this question such a big deal? It is because nobody likes to go through life insurance underwriting.

Life Insurance Underwriting Can Be Really Tough

dreamstime_xs_15764134Life insurance underwriting can be so tedious, so time-consuming, and so nerve-racking, people would do just about anything to avoid it. The application and other required forms can seem endless. The exam can be inconvenient and bothersome. The constant probing into all parts of your life can be intrusive.

Perhaps the most stressful part of underwriting is the uncertainty about the outcome. All too often, people submit a formal application on the hope and the prayer they will be eligible for coverage, and at the price they want. Yet also all too often, they do not get approved at the price quoted. Or, they get declined altogether! They have then basically wasted three months for nothing.

But: what if people were confident of an approval at the price quoted? That would make all the difference in the world. They would go through the underwriting process with satisfaction because they would know the final result would be worth it.

How Can You Get a Life Insurance Quote? Start with Prequalification

Prequalification takes place when the broker does all the homework up front. All the risks and underwriting challenges a potential applicant poses are addressed on a preliminary basis. The applicant’s personal and family history is disclosed. Medical records are obtained and reviewed for potential problems. Professional advisors, such as an accountant, attorney or banker, are consulted if needed.

Very importantly, the potential applicant is given an opportunity to tell her story in her own words. She can give perspective on the tough times in her medical history, driving record, or finances. The broker can assist as well and provide a solid testimonial on her behalf.

The broker directs this process until he feels a thorough and accurate package of quote information has been assembled. Then it is time to go to market – still without a formal application!

How Can You Get a Life Insurance Quote? Reach the Right Underwriters

The risk profile that the broker has compiled on behalf of the client must be presented to the right underwriters. Who are they? The fact of the matter is that different underwriters have expertise in different risk areas. Some are very familiar with cardiac conditions, while others know the ins and outs of rock climbing. The broker must have the contacts and the relationships to make a good match between an underwriter and a candidate.

Once this connection is made, then good things can happen. The underwriter will be able to assess the level of risk a potential applicant represents both fairly and aggressively. Negotiations between the broker and the company can proceed smoothly because everyone is on the same page. This is the type of business the company wants, and therefore everyone has an incentive to make it work.

The rate offered by the underwriter will then be both competitive and reliable. Prequalification has given all parties involved the confidence that formal underwriting would now be worthwhile.

Additional Resources on Getting a Life Insurance Quote

The Wall Street Journal and NOLO  both have useful guides on shopping for life insurance.

Have you used prequalification to get a life insurance quote? Do you wish you had? Tell me about your life insurance shopping experience in the comments below!

 

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 thought I was managing my depression well enough, but my doctor’s records say otherwise”

My office has been able to procure an approval at preferred non-smoker rates for our client who has been managing depression of a number of years. One challenge was that his medical records appeared to indicate a certain amount of instability and lack of control. This had taken him by surprise, as his impression was that he and his doctor were in agreement that all was going well.

Fortunately, we were able to consult with him and his doctor to clarify a number of major concerns held by the underwriter. The additional information and explanation was sufficient to sway the underwriter towards a very favorable decision.

Are you managing depression, and have you had trouble purchasing life insurance? What seems to have been the major obstacles in your path to getting the policy you need? Was the problem potentially damaging information in your medical records?

 

 

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 had a cigar a few months ago – but that was the last! (I think)”

What would you do?

Today’s case: “I had a cigar a few months ago – but that was the last! (I think)”

Our client stop smoking cigarettes several years ago, but stopped smoking cigars only several months ago. Several carriers will offer him preferred non-smoker rates now; once he is completely smoke-free for a year, others would also make offers, and their rates will probably be lower.

His decision is this: if he buys the policy now, he at least would have preferred non-smoker rates, albeit not the lowest around. If he waits until year a has passed by, he might get a lower rate, but then again, another condition might develop that would bring the price up. And – he might start smoking again! You never can tell.

Would you buy now, or hold out for a potentially lower rate later – but in the process take the risk you might not be as insurable?

 

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.