Friday, June 29, 2007

USFL has left the Building

As one might imagine, folks with diabetes, cancer survivors and other folks with significant health problems often find it difficult to obtain life insurance. For one thing, a lot of agents represent only one carrier, which are often picky. Even independent agents, though, aren't always aware of alternative markets for their difficult-to-place cases.
For a long time, most of us "in the know" have relied on US Financial Life as our "go-to" source for social smokers, folks who've had recent bouts with cancer, mutliple-bypasses, and the like. USFL has been "aggressive" in its underwriting, often taking cases that other carriers either declined or rated so drastically as to render the coverage unaffordable.
But the industry is changing, and this time for the better; today, I received an email announcing that the "impaired risk market served by USFL is limited in size and has come under economic pressure as traditional carriers are increasingly expanding into substandard risk classes. Given these challenges, AXA Financial has decided to discontinue writing new business at USFL." [ed: apology to readers; I'm still looking for a linkable version of the announcement]
In other words, more "regular" insurers are willing to look seriously at "problem cases," which means more choices for consumers. I've placed a few cases with USFL over the years, and been happy to have them in my "quiver of carriers," but I also like the idea that my clients will have more choices, and competition should help drive down costs.
We'll have to wait and see on that last, of course.
Oh, and what about in-force policies? According to USFL's prez, Tim Herr, "(e)xisting coverage will continue for clients: the terms and conditions of their policies will remain in place."
As it should.
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