It wasn’t that long ago that if you wrote DUI on a life insurance application it would automatically burst into flames. Why allow it to make it to an underwriter when it was an automatic decline, almost no matter how long ago it was. There used to be a company called Federal Kemper that felt so strongly that the life insurance liver function GGT was an indicator of a life time of drinking that they declined on of our clients whose GGT was 66 (normal 0-65) and had a DUI 35 years prior. He swore he didn’t drink anymore and we easily got him approved by another company, but Kemper swore the two issues had to be connected. Federal Kemper aside, industry wide there wasn’t much love or compassion for anyone who had a DUI and if you had two in your life, well you better like your life insurance toast crispy black.
We can report though that some sanity has begun to back fill the void left by the life insurance underwriters from the good old days. Let’s start with one that hits real close to home with Federal Kemper’s philosophy, coincidentally with the company that bought Kemper, Protective Life. We shopped a life insurance case just recently where a businessman who was just over 50, when going through our portfolio of “Have you ever” questions, admitted that he had two DUI’s in his past, 23 and 29 years ago. He also had a couple of minor skin cancer issues a squamous cell carcinoma and a basal cell carcinoma. Anyway, we shopped it and actually had two companies come back saying the it looked preferred plus to them even though he admitted that he still had an occasional glass of wine. Another company came back at preferred. It seems that a window has opened where, as long as the history stays in the hormone riddled past, they can see that it doesn’t impact his stability now and shouldn’t in the future. Oh yeah! Most companies still wouldn’t do better than standard with his sordid past and one company, Protective Life, said they would decline it. Guess the apple doesn’t fall far from the person who ate it or something like that.
Until recently a best case one time DUI had to wait at least a year to apply and be approved for life insurance. We had another CEO who needed business life insurance and was declined by a company because he had a DUI 4 months prior. The story was that he was in Montana on business and had a terrible chest cold. He was feeling so bad that he drove to the ER and they checked him out and gave him some prescription cold drugs, the kind that dries you up, makes you quit coughing and makes you sleep. They kept him a while for observation and then suggested he call for a ride back to the motel. He assured them it was only a few blocks and he would be fine. The cop didn’t agree when he pulled him over. He plead guilty even though it probably would have been dismissed by a judge. We shopped it and were able to get him a standard table 1 rate. The underwriter said the same thinking would have carried over even if the guy rarely drank and had a little too much. With no history of heavy drinking, another DUI or a drinking problem, a person could be approved at Standard table 1 as soon as three months after the offense.
We’re currently working a case where a guy that says he just doesn’t drink, but did once in college and got busted and 7 years later had some drinks the day he found out his father had died and got busted again. I honestly didn’t think we would find anyone interested, but one life insurance company came back and said that if he can actually substantiate that he doesn’t drink in the normal course of life (he assured us he can) then the company will approve him highly rated.
Bottom line. We are in no way insinuating that drunk driving isn’t going to make it harder to get life insurance, but it appears some sanity has entered the room. If you have questions or feel like you may have been treated wrong on a life insurance application because of a DUI, call or email us. We may be able to help.
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