If, after an application for life insurance has been underwritten, the company perceives too much risk
based on their standards, they will decline to offer coverage. While an appeal can sometimes reverse
the decision, more often than not you have reached the end of your attempt to procure life insurance
through that company. Being denied life insurance doesn’t mean that you are in imminent danger of
dying. It most certainly doesn’t mean that all companies will decline you. What it does mean is that you
need to have an impaired risk specialist like Risk Life review your case and advise you going forward.
Let’s be clear. There are legitimate denials of coverage that cannot be overcome. Stage 3 or 4 cancer
of just about any type will be declined. To understand better why that is you don’t need to look any
further than the 5 year survival statistics for stage 3 and 4 cancer. Someone with COPD or a history of
lung cancer who still smokes would be declined. Uncontrolled diabetes would be declined or possibly
postponed until it is under control. Anyone with a BMI over 50 isn’t going to be approved.
But assuming your health is not in a disastrous position Risk Life can often find another company that
will look at the same information from a different perspective. An example is a case we are currently
working on for a client who was declined due to an elevated PSA. Most companies slam the door shut if
the PSA on your application exam is above 4. They don’t look at your history and they won’t entertain a
retest. We’ve now spent a week working with this client to piece together the whole picture, a history of
his PSA being as low as 1.2 and as high as 6.8 over the past few years. His PSA can vary as much as 2 in a
very short period, at one point going from 3.7 to 1.8 in two weeks. He’s had a biopsy to rule out cancer.
He’ll get the life insurance he needs at a fair price. Risk Life understands that some underwriters will
deny insurance based on the title of the book, when just reading the first chapter takes the risk away.
The key to our success is client involvement. Most of our clients did their original application through
another agency who would rather leave you declined than share what they know about your case and
why it met its’ demise on their watch. They are at the end of their expertise. So we need to dig for
information. We ask you to provide lab results and testing from your medical records and in some cases
a letter from your doctor summarizing your particular situation. We’ve mentioned that Risk Life shops
every case involving impaired risks and it’s why we succeed where others don’t.
We could take a client declined due to severe sleep apnea and just send it to our companies that
generally do the best with sleep apnea and hope for the best. Instead we ask our client to do the
homework. Sleep studies and labs are provided by the client and my email to all of my underwriters
will look something like this, “Proposed Insured born 8/1/70, 6’, 225, non smoker. Diagnosed severe
obstructive sleep apnea 2009, controlled and compliant with cpap. 3/12 sleep study impression =
1. Severe positional obstructive sleep apnea syndrome. Off supine AHI is normal. Respiratory events
were associated with oxygen desaturations (nadir of 87% on room air)
2. CPAP settings of 8, 9, 10 and 11 cm H2O normalized patient’s AHI in supine sleep. Nevertheless, loud
snoring in supine persisted into the final pressure of 11 cm. At a CPAP setting of 8cmH2O, the arousal
index normalized and the oxygen saturation was maintained at and above 94%.
3. Abnormal sleep architecture likely due to respiratory events, PAP titration
1. AutoCPAP ranges 5 cm to 20 cm H2O with humidification or positional therapy. A medium Resmed
Quattro FX FF mask may be suitable.
2. Alternatively CPAP 8 cmH2O with humidification might be preferred for cost reasons. If symptoms
persist on this pressure, a dedicated titration study is needed to target snoring, particularly when
patient would be in supine position.”
Almost no agency will dig for that much information and very few agents even know what it means.
Acquired before applying this information resulted in a great tentative offer and because the
information was absolutely correct, an approval with no surprises.
Most of our clients have been declined or have had an awful experience in applying for life insurance
before they come to us. Our goal and our business model that supports it, is to change those outcomes.