A formal life insurance application was recently submitted on a non-smoking female, age 74, with a history of well controlled hyperlipidemia, hypothyroidism and a remote history of breast cancer
. The life insurance carrier approved and issued the case at standard rates due to the history of cancer.
Our underwriter felt the offer was fair — standard or average longevity is reasonable and generally the best assessment available in the
market with histories of most cancers. However, the producer expected the client to balk at the offer. Based on prior discussions with the client, the producer knew the client would be expecting an offer better than standard. The producer asked if we could review the case for a better rate class.
Though breast cancers can have long-term risk and there is always the possibility of recurrence for decades, underwriters are sometimes presented with cases of very remote cancer from which proposed insureds feel “cured” and demand better than standard pricing. The underwriter agreed to review the file.
Prognosis of breast cancer in large part depends on staging — staging (stage and grade) tells of tumor bulk, progression and speed of growth. Our underwriter noted in review that the client’s tumor was not large, the staging was not high, there was no lymph node involvement, and no metastasis (spread). This was all good. There were other favorable factors:
- The treatment was successful with no recurrence of the cancer for over 30 years.
- The client had been diligent over the years getting regularly scheduled mammograms with good results.
- The client had normal lab testing over the years, including Complete Blood Counts (CBC).
- The client has stability in height and weight, which are very important in the underwriting of older age applicants.
Our underwriter decided there was enough information to ask for an exception and agreed to make the request for the amount applied only. The request was made arguing the favorable aspects of the medical history as well as an entreaty based on our good relationship with the carrier.
The carrier uinderwriter agreed to make the exception and wrote, “I reviewed this file and agree the client has many favorable factors and appears to be at low risk for recurrence. She is well-followed and as you indicated, very stable.” The case was approved and issued with a preferred rate class
for the amount applied.
differences between preferred and standard can often be relatively few. However, premium differences between the two rate classes may be fairly substantial.