Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Underwriting Cancer

Recently, I had an interesting experience with a client which I'd like to share as an example of how important agent communication can be.

A gentleman called up inquiring about some additional life insurance. I did my usual pre-screen process, and he was in decent health, no tobacco use, "normal" height and weight. Got the quote, agreed on a plan design, and sent in the application.

As with most policies nowadays, this one required a routine "paramed" exam (blood, urine, physical measurements, nothing major). The exam was scheduled for this coming Friday.

Today he called with some discouraging news: as part of a routine test last week, he learned that he had prostate cancer. Thankfully, it's in the early stages, but of course this poses a problem with the new life insurance application.

When he called to tell me the news, he assumed that we'd just pull the plug on the application, but I suggested that perhaps all was not lost. There have been some significant changes in life insurance underwriting the past few years, and all was not necessarily lost. I promised to call my underwriter and then we'd go from there.

So, I called my underwriter (one of the perks of my primary carrier is that I have access to the actual underwriter, not just an assistant), and explained the situation. I expected that she'd agree with the client, and pull the application. To my surprise, however, she started asking questions. Turns out, their underwriting guidelines are more flexible than I'd believed, and there's actually a decent chance that we can still get the policy issued (albeit at a temporarily much higher rate). All of this will depend on the conversation my client has with his surgeon next week, but things are at least hopeful.

Live and learn.
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