Over the years we’ve noticed that there are some lab results that life insurance underwriters will allow a retest on and there are others, viciously to the contrary, that even if they were buried in a truck load of evidence to the contrary they will never admit the possibility of a false positive.
Underwriters aside for the moment, every lab result has to have been through multiple human contacts and every human is capable of making a mistake. There is no intent to do anyone harm, but every test has a margin of error and even if that margin is low, it isn’t ever zero. Among the tests that most companies will never allow a retest for are Hep C, Cotinine (nicotine), HIV and the alcohol marker call CDT. These are all serious issues and a positive result means you’re a drunk, you smoke, have hepatitis or HIV and the companies are so reactive to those results that they will not only not allow a retest at your own expense, but they won’t even do a retest on their own before declaring you guilty.
We recently had a client call who had tested positive for the alcohol marker CDT. After a very long and candid talk with the man it was just hard to believe he was a drinker, let alone a drinker to the level it takes to make a positive CDT. We ran it by one of our very best underwriters and asked if he had ever seen a positive CDT decline turned into an approval and were shocked to hear for the first time ever in our careers an underwriter admit that false positives are not only possible, but more prevalent than the majority of underwriters will admit. Honestly the test is accurate enough that they would lose money on retests.
I understand. I think we all understand that most positive CDT’s are an indication of a very serious drinking problem and I am not saying that every positive CDT should be doubted, but sometimes things just don’t add up. A lot are ruled out by their own admission after hearing they were busted and asked to give an account of what they really drink. A lot are ruled out when we ask if we can review their medical records to see if there is any mention of alcohol abuse, and we don’t hear back from them. There are some who won’t back down no matter what, but their defense is disdain for a system that would even test for something like that. They don’t go any further. And then there are those who truly have a story, a history if you will, that just doesn’t add up to heavy drinking. They will offer up anything you ask for to prove that they don’t abuse alcohol. They will ask you to call their preacher, their doctor, their wife, whatever it takes.
I’m not going to lay out the criteria for reconsideration on CDT, but I can be convinced by a sincere person to fight for a retest. And that’s what we got through our underwriter. The retest was negative. Medical records were pulled and everything indicated that a binge for this guy might be two beers on the weekend. He was approved and the policy has gone to issue. Are insurance labs infallible? They’re good but they aren’t mistake proof. Having said that, don’t expect someone to help you out if you get a positive result and wait a month, long enough to clean out your system, before you call. If you think you’ve been the victim of a false positive and are willing to cough up anything we ask for to prove it, call or email us directly. We might be able to help.
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