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Does Your Cardiologist Understand Mortality Risk?

Oh, if only doctors and life insurance underwriters were from the same planet. Nix that since we can’t change it. Oh, if only life insurance clients could understand better that their cardiologist, urologist, psychiatrist or primary care doc is in the business of making you feel good and life insurance underwriters are in the business of measuring risk as it relates to any number of health issues.

A long time client of ours has a policy coming to the end of the level term period. He ignored our advice to get a longer term when he was 15 years younger and now he has a couple of minor abnormalities on his ekg and doesn’t qualify for preferred plus rates anymore. He thinks he should based on his cardiologists take on the abnormalities that he doesn’t see any current issues with them, so he even went and showed the cardiologist the ekg from the insurance company. He then did a cardiac workup including a stress test and the cardiologist confirmed what he had stated before, “doesn’t see any current issues”.

From that doctor’s point of view he is probably 100% right and what he is telling his patient is “don’t worry about it. It’s not that big a deal and you should be just fine if we keep an eye on it.” This cardiodoc has a lot of experience and studies to back up what he’s saying but what he doesn’t have is the actuarial statistics to decide if this guy should get preferred plus or standard rates. What the underwriter doesn’t know is how to be this guys doctor, but what he does know is out of 10,000 people with the same two ekg abnormalities, statistics show that there is a mortality risk. It’s not a big risk so they can offer a standard rate, but it is a risk nevertheless so he can’t offer anything better than that.

We hear the argument fairly often, “but my doctor says that isn’t a problem”, but we don’t see doctors that are willing to co sign as the death benefit payor. Having said all of that, life insurance underwriters can be more brutal than necessary occasionally and we’re not afraid to call them on it. We currently have outstanding challenges to several companies to show us actuarial proof that a slight increase in the national suicide rate is coming from people who are treated for mood disorders and actuarial proof that active intervention with low grade and stage prostate cancer is better than active surveillance. All of the scientific information we’ve found doesn’t agree with most life insurance companies so we’ll fuss with them until they prove they know what they’re doing, or not.

Sometimes differences between life insurance underwriters and doctors can be narrowed down or even reconciled but it takes a client that is willing to do the legwork to build a case. If you’ve applied for life insurance and been rated for something your doctor doesn’t believe is a mortality risk, call or email us. We may be able to find an underwriter that agrees with your doctor or at least isn’t as far apart.

About the Author

Every year millions are needlessly declined for life insurance or approved and paying far more than they need to. For 14 years, I have specialized in turning those situations around and finding the right life insurance solution at affordable rates. I give every client the personal attention they deserve.

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