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.

Why You Need a Life Insurance Specialist

Who are the financial experts these days?

It’s really not a mystery.

Planners help you with planning.

Investment advisors help you with investing.

Insurance advisors help you with insurance.

And within each field you have your specialists. So life insurance advisors help you with life insurance.

Together, we form a team.  YOUR team.

Specialists Play a Special Role on Your Team

Every now and again I am prompted to remind you of the need to form a team of specialists to work on your finances. Recently, I came across a reply from Dave Ramsey to one of his many readers. The issue was the declination of the reader’s child for life insurance, due to hemophilia.

Here was Dave’s point:

“Unfortunately, you’re going to have a difficult time with this situation. It’s generally pretty hard, for obvious reasons, for hemophiliacs to get life insurance. I hope you understand that’s a statistical statement, not a spiritual statement.

You can always cover him as a child by building an emergency fund over and above the three to six months of expenses I normally recommend. A child rider is just a small policy to cover final expenses and things like that, so you could self-insure by saving up in the event — God forbid — of a worst-case scenario. An average funeral today costs around $7,000 to $10,000. You could always spend less, but if you guys have reasonable safeguards this isn’t a situation you should be facing. I mean, there are probably some things he just shouldn’t do from a common sense standpoint, right? But lots of folks have long, wonderful lives with that particular condition.

It might be that as research on the disease progresses and as he gets older, there’s a possibility that he could qualify. Think about this. If you even whispered a word like “cancer” anywhere near your name 25 years ago in the insurance business, you were done — no life insurance of any kind.” – Dave Ramsey writing for The Oklahoman

Dave does a superb job of identifying and addressing the multitude of issues that pop up in financial planning.

He also tries to help his readers feel positive about their situation.

I would like to add some words of encouragement as well.

In this particular case, I would like to supplement his advice with the knowledge I have as a life insurance specialist.

Because the fact of the matter is that hemophiliacs can get life insurance – and that includes juveniles.

And there are reasons to buy life insurance other than final expenses. Especially on juveniles.

The Special Needs of Juveniles for Life Insurance

Even people with serious medical conditions can get life insurance.

It is often priced quite reasonably.

This includes hemophilia, as well as diabetes, heart disease, and many other ailments.

Now, it is true that you can rely on an emergency fund in order to cover small expenses over a 6-12 month period, following the death of a loved one.

But if you really want to make a sound decision regarding life insurance on a child with hemophilia, it is important to remember the following:

  • Financial experts are often limited in their understanding of specific fields. They can provide sound advice about overall planning. However, they are also often limited in their understanding of specific products and marketplaces. When it comes to life insurance, they are often limited in their understanding of underwriting, and of the need to secure someone’s insurability.
  • Hemophiliacs can get life insurance. Underwriters look at elements such as coagulation factors, the frequency of episodes, the number of transfusions, etc., in assessing the risk presented. The amount of extra premium assessed to cover a higher risk can be surprisingly low given the right circumstances. It can be very affordable.
  • There are several reasons to buy life insurance on a child. It is not just a question of covering final expenses in case that tragedy occurs. Children with serious disease often grow into adulthood needing life insurance for personal and business reasons. It is much more expensive for them to purchase a policy when they are older. When their parents buy a policy on them as a child, they are able to lock in the lowest rate available.

And you always have to remember that they may unfortunately not qualify for coverage as an adult.

In that case they will be really grateful you had bought them the policy when they were a child.

Underwriting is a Field for Specialists

When discussing the potential role life insurance could play in a family’s financial planning, a life insurance expert should be consulted.

A family will benefit from the highly specialized understanding of underwriting.

They can then can make a truly informed decision about what options they may have.

What do you think? Do you have the right specialists on your financial team?

“Compare term life insurance rates at no cost from top rated companies in seconds.”

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.

Whose Voice is Guiding Your Future?

In Ethiopia, girls are often mistreated.

1 in 3 can’t read.

1 in 3 don’t go to school.

1 in 5 feel socially alienated.

And then you have the problems of forced marriage, gender based violence, school drop out, and early pregnancy.

Isn’t anybody doing anything about this?

Yes! The girls are themselves.

Social Change through Drama, Talk, and Music.

Meet Yegna, Ethiopia’s first teen band.

They are showing their country – as well as the entire world – how to change for the better. By changing their culture,

For this is not only an Ethiopian problem, is it?

Aren’t girls the world over are treated as objects and second-class citizens?

And doesn’t every society – including the most civilized – need to upgrade its treatment of them?

Inspiration from the Bottom Up.

It’s gratifying to know that even people at the bottom rung of society’s latter – the uneducated and powerless – can lead the way to positive social change.

And its not just a question of saying, “Education is the solution to most of the world’s social problems.”

There is more to it than that:

  • Education is a means to an end, not an end unto itself. The answer to society’s problem is a different culture – one in which more advanced ideas are preached, and improved practices are adopted. And that culture can only be fertilized by an undeniable feeling that things must change for the better. Then, educational programs can be implemented to nurture that growth in the proper direction.
  • People need direction if they are to make positive changes in their lives. No doubt, the vast majority of mothers – and of all parents – in that society knew they were short-changing their daughters. They just didn’t know how to improve things, so by and large they just kept the status quo. And so they perpetuated the problem, however undesirable that was.
  • It is often the victims of oppression who take the lead in stopping it. They have the most at stake. Even well-intentioned outsiders cannot muster the motivation and determination to persist in spite of all obstacles. Most certainly, political elites cannot force a change from above based purely on ideology – or worse, a desire to control that change.

And That Goes for Life Insurance!

Life insurance is very frequently bought by an income provider for the benefit of his or her loved ones.

That is indeed noble, honorable, and the right thing to do.

But: it must be recognized that this is a product that does not benefit the insured, and only benefits the family members, business, or charity when the insured passes on.

These beneficiaries therefore have a great stake in the purchase of the product, and should always make their needs and desires known when a policy is designed.

Grass-Rooted Progress.

There you have it: people who become our future must be involved front and center in creating that future.

Otherwise, they could very well be short-changed in the process.

This applies to every sector sector of society, especially regarding our treatment of women.

And it has a special bearing on the world of finance.

What do you think? Do you find it easy to involve the people most affected by your decisions in your decisions?


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.


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.

No Junk Food for the Brain!

14601014695_dd8c815c39_oDo you sometimes ask yourself where the day has gone?

True, sometimes when we are really enjoying ourselves, the time flies by.

But all too often, we wonder where the time went because we have no idea how we spent it.

It’s like we keep filling our mind with “junk food ideas” that seem enticing, but are not really worth our time.

And so our days get filled with nonsensical pursuits.

Take the time to stop and think

How to occupy our mind is an age-old problem. Marcus Aurelius thought about it in his Meditations.

“From Diognetus: Not to waste time on nonsense. Not to be taken in by conjurers and hoodoo artists with their talk about incantations and exorcism and all the rest of it. Not to be obsessed with quail-fighting or other crazes like that. To hear unwelcome truths. To practice philosophy, and to study with Baccheius, and then with Tandasis and Marcianus. To write dialogues as a student. To choose the Greek lifestyle – the camp-bed and the cloak.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations I.6

You know what? It takes hard work and deep thought to discover the truth. To figure out how to make life meaningful.

Not a minute to waste

When you think about it, life is too precious to waste even a minute.

If we can mentally engage each moment, then we can make it count.

It’s a question of staying curious and not getting fooled by every fancy-schmancy gimmick that pops up.

You and I both know that there is a snake oil salesman on every corner looking to fool us.

So: how do we avoid the “conjurers and hoodoo artists?”

  • Challenge the “experts.” Especially in this era of Internet thought leadership, anybody can hang up a shingle and call himself an expert.  But how did they get to know what they claim they know?
  • Slick doesn’t always stick. The slickest websites and presentations often do not have any meaningful content.  They have razzle-dazzle, but where’s the beef?
  • Sweettalk is not always what you need to hear. The best advice is often something you don’t want to hear but nonetheless is very relevant to your situation.  People who truly have your interest at heart will tell you what you must know to make a sound decision.

This is all too true when it comes to money

And it is double-true when it comes to life insurance.

Many people these days take much for granted, including their own mortality. It is hard to conceive that our days on this earth will be over – and can be over before we expect.

Financial representatives who sell life insurance will often try to dazzle consumers with projections of future values, guarantees, and rates of return.

But these displays can blind us to the fact that we never know when a claim on our life insurance will be paid – so it is prudent to assume it could be paid tomorrow.

That understanding should lead people to prioritize having sufficient coverage in force NOW.

How to sustain the brain

Good ideas are like good food: they not only satisfy your immediate hunger for information, but they nourish your goals and dreams.

To get past all the junk food that is thrown at our brains from all directions, we have to think past them.

We can about evaluate everything that comes our way and determine what value they have for us as aspiring human beings.

In doing so we make every moment count. Just as when evaluating every financial proposition, we can make every dollar count.

What about you? Are you making every moment count? Every dollar?


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 Your Life On Track?

track-362874_640Do you lie in bed worrying about tomorrow?

When you wake up, do you wish the day was over already?

Do too many things upset you?

It sounds like your life is off-track. Think so?

No worries. Getting back on track does not have to be hard.


That’s what it takes.

Marcus Aurelius makes this very point in Meditations I.5:

“From my first teacher: Not to support this side or that in chariot-racing, this fighter or that in the games. To put up with discomfort and not make demands. To do my own work, mind my own business, and have no time for slanderers.”

You and I both know that it is very easy to get pulled off the course of your life by the demands of others, or by your own personal whims.

What does it take to pull the brakes on such detours?


You must be resolved to stay the course.

And – special note – if the course isn’t good, to get on a better course.

BIG POINT HERE: don’t be afraid to change.

Most people think that the name of the game in life is to go with the winners, and leave the losers behind.

NOPE. Not the case.

Think about it:

  • We are all going to be winners or losers at some point. Win some, lose some, is true. Life has its ups and downs. Nobody remains a hero forever, and nobody remains a bum forever.
  • The easy way ends up being hard, and the hard way ends up being easy. I am sure you know that from your own experience. How many times have you put something off, or avoided a problem, only to have it come back and be double- hard to fix the next time around? And how many times have you just put your mind to something and found out that it wasn’t half as hard as you thought it would be?
  • If you stay focused on your own agenda, you won’t have any time to abide by the agenda of others. So many people have a scheme A whole lot of people just want to pull you in and have you do all their work. They could be salesmen, clergymen, politicians, the gamut. But if you keep your nose to the grindstone, you’ll be too busy to let them loop you in.

DON’T chase the winners.

The world of finance is full of hot and trendy things.

You know how people like to dazzle us with big numbers and bold statements.

All too often, what is trendy or hot in the financial world very often has no long-term value or benefit.

So, the model they use for anti-drug education in schools should be adopted when being tempted by the latest and the greatest financial deal: just say NO.

AVOID TROUBLE down the road.

Yes, it can be done.

People actually can make decisions that maximize their  benefit and minimize their cost.

It takes work to keep on track, but once you find the work is worth it, you stay motivated to keep plugging away.

A better life is the payoff: Better money. Better relationships. Better times.

Is your life better? How did you do that? What else do you have to do?


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.

Power to the Policyholders

dreamstime_xs_29359935Are you power-hungry?

How much power do you think you can handle?

What would be the first thing you would do if you were granted more power?

How about reducing the rate on your life insurance?

Might as well start at a place where you could save some money!

A Fitbit Update

At this point I am sure you have heard about the partnership between John Hancock and Fitbit.

They are using this technology to allow policyholders to qualify for lower rates as they get healthier.

You plug into the company computers and let them monitor your progress.

I was discussing this new development with a friend of mine. He told me that he did something similar on his own:

“I did something similar to that when I applied for my insurance, except that I used advanced diagnostic testing to affect underwriting outcomes. So, when I started, I planned 6 months out – cholesterol was a bit high. So, I partnered with a cellular biologist (my fiance) and a health coach, and changed those numbers. The research proved pretty powerful and efficacious. The outcome went from preferred with credits to ultra-preferred after a chat with the underwriter.”


The policyholder has increased control over the outcome of underwriting.

This could be a very good thing.

Don’t you think that any and all things life insurance applicants are doing to qualify for better rates should be factored into their risk assessment?

Why not give insureds every opportunity possible to control their eligibility for coverage?

“Power to the Policyholders!”

First – a word of caution.

People sometimes are under the false impression that improved health alone will qualify for better rates.

This is simply not true. There are many other underwriting considerations, such as motor vehicle record, financial record, family history, hobbies, etc.

Nonetheless, improved health can be a major influence on rate reduction.

Here’s why:

  • Underwriters can be extremely receptive to information provided by applicants.  Look, they have to get paid too. They need the business. You just have to give them a good reason to take take it – and to put their absolutely lowest price on the table.
  • Communication lines between insureds and underwriters could and should be established to allow applicants to advocate on their own behalf. Underwriters need to know you as more than just a file number and a questionnaire. They need to get a sense of who you are and what you are up to. Providing them with consistently accurate health data is a good way to accomplish this.
  • This is a double-edge sword, however: while improved health can result in lower rates, poorer health can result in higher rates. The data you provide can and will be used against you if merited. That only makes sense. Once you are plugged into a life insurance company’s underwriting department, you have invited the life insurance version of Big Brother into your life. They will assess all the data you give them: the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Who’s ready?

Net-net, this could be a good thing.

People are entitled to as much control as possible over their lives.

Certainly in business, clients should be given every opportunity possible to get better value for their dollar.

And as with any form of power, you need to exercise good judgment when using it.

What do you think? Are you ready for more power as a policyholder?


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.

You, Too, Could Move a Mountain With a Chisel

When you think of doing the impossible, what comes to mind?

Getting your dream job? Finding your soulmate? Solving world hunger?

How about moving a mountain with handtools?

It has been done. By one man.

It took him a number of years, but in doing so he greatly improved the lives of his family and village.

And you know what? You could do the same kind of thing. If you wanted to.

It Takes Devotion

Dashrath Manjhi, a laborer from Bihar, wanted his people to have access to doctors, schools, and jobs.

Armed with only a hammer, chisel, and crowbar, he carved a road through the 300-foot mountain that isolated his village from the nearest town.

He did the impossible:

(If you are viewing this in an email, click here to watch the video on Youtube).

One word comes to mind when I view this: devotion.

When you are 100% devoted, you can do the ”impossible.”

You – Yes YOU – Can Make a Difference

Contrary to popular belief, one lone person can make a tremendous difference in people’s lives.

How, you ask? Well, let’s boil it down:

  • Dashrath showed us that by using even simple tools, people can literally move mountains. When there is a will, there is a way. Some of the greatest feats in the history of humanity have been accomplished by people who “rose to the occasion.” Can you think of some?
  • Dedicating yourself to helping others is key to rising above your own limitations. Dashrath was moved to help his wife get to the village. And others as well. You can be sure when the going got rough, he thought of them and became inspired.
  • You can have a permanent impact on the lives of those who come after you. Think about how many generations of people will now benefit from Dashrath’s digging. The quality of life of his great-great-great grandchildren will be higher because of what he did. And note that in the video, they still talk about him as if he is alive, in a way. He has a living legacy.

Financial Devotion

Guess what?

This has everything to do with buying life insurance.

When you purchase a policy, you are devoting yourself to the welfare of others.

With this devotion, you can find a way to fund the policy.

And so you will leave a legacy of caring – and inspire others to in turn become devoted to their loved ones.

What Mountain Will You Move?

We are each facing a mountain that prevents us from getting what we need in life. From what those we love need in life.

Sure, we can climb it. But it would still be there to impede others.

Better we should move it so all can proceed safely.

What mountain must you move?


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.

Secret Life Insurance Policies

secret1I was recently featured in an article by Aaron Crowe, “Can a Stranger Buy a Secret Life Insurance Policy on You?

My opinion was included in a poll of industry experts:

“Under ordinary circumstances, the insured must agree to a policy on his or her life,” says Steven Kobrin, who owns a national life insurance brokerage. “He must sign the application and agree to go through full underwriting, including a medical exam. So the norm is that nobody could take out a policy on you without you knowing it.”

(Read the full article)

Are you in the unfortunate situation in which a family member or business partner absolutely refuses to cooperate with a needed life insurance policy? Please let me know 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.

Purchasing life insurance: It’s not just about the company

Last week, ProducersWeb featured my article, “Purchasing life insurance: It’s not just about the company.”

I discussed how the selection of the broker and general agent are as important as the choice of carrier when buying a policy:

Our clients need to be guided through the process of purchasing life insurance. Under our able tutelage, they can take full advantage of a general agent who is ready to go to bat, and an underwriter who is ready to seal the deal at a good price.

(read full article)

Have you been disappointed in your attempts to obtain coverage? What was the problem?

Let me know 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.

What’s Santa’s Life Insurance Risk?

download (5)I was recently featured in an article on by Aaron Crowe, “What’s Santa’s Life Insurance Risk?” My assessment of the hypothetical possibility of Santa Clause buying life insurance was included in a poll of industry experts.

Old age may be one of the biggest hurdles to getting insurance, says Steve Kobrin, an independent life insurance broker who specializes in “higher risk” cases. Unless, Kobrin says, Santa can prove he’s much younger than everyone thinks he is. “I would assume that the Santa of today is really the great-great-great-grandson of the original, and so would be young enough to qualify,” Kobrin says.

(Read the full article)


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 Is Bought, Not Sold

download (6)Last week, ProducersWeb featured my article, “Life Insurance is Bought, Not Sold,” in which I discussed why I was never comfortable with the “popular” approach to selling life insurance:

“When I first entered the life insurance business, the gospel was that “life insurance is sold, not bought.” Agency training sessions featured managers and advanced underwriters teaching us ways to not mention the dreaded words “life insurance.” If we were following up on a mortgage lead, we were to say that we were selling “mortgage protection.” If we were in front of a business owner, we sold “buy-sell agreement funding.” One instructor even went as far as to call us fools if we revealed what our product really was, because “the public hates life insurance.” Well, no surprise there if agents keep lying about what they sell!”

(read full article)

How about you – are you comfortable trying to hide the fact that you sell 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.