Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Life Insurance For Diabetes & Other Pre-Existing Conditions

Today's Guest Host has interesting back-story, and here it is.

Last year my BIL (Brother-in-law,) Clark told me about one of his friends/clients, Gordon Conwell.

Back Story: Clark is an uber IT guy, incredibly funny and a really great judge of character. And he's my favorite brother - But that's for another post entirely.

Anyway,Clark told me that Gordon was an independent agent/broker who specializes in impaired risk life insurance. And I was like: WHAAT - English, please!

Turns out, Gordon knows a thing or two about providing reasonable life insurance for those of us with pre-existing conditions, which I'll also refer to as PECs.

One thing led to another; including a mutual email intro via Clark, a flurry of emails between Gordon & I, a few phone calls as well. And I came to the conclusion that Gordon was a good man who provided a great service to those of us with PECs.

Look, nobody likes to think of life insurance, and lord knows I bitch about the high cost of health insurance for pre-existing conditions A LOT.

But here's the thing: Whether you have a pre existing condition and have a family, or a mess of nieces and nephews like me, we shouldn't be priced out of Life/Health Insurance!

So, I asked Gordon to write a guest post on the subject of life insurance for those of us with diabetes - And he agreed.

FYI: While Gordon isn't a PWD, he does have a pre-existing condition, so he "gets" it!

Thanks, & take it away Gordon!


Even though I'm in the life insurance industry, I've never been a big fan of life insurance companies and their underwriting practices. As someone who was born with a bicuspid aortic valve and had valve replacement at age 40, I pay more for life insurance than I think I should.

I've learned to play the underwriting game for myself and others by shopping thousands of cases and developing relationships with underwriters at the more aggressive companies for people with certain health issues.

One of those health issues is diabetes. The underwriting concerns that insurance companies have about diabetics may be legitimate, but there are a small bunch of life insurance companies making significantly better offers than others for type 1 and type 2 diabetics right now.

Since there's never any guarantee on the exact rate that anyone will qualify for, I'd recommend that all diabetics apply to the 2 most probable best insurance companies for them.

Since any quotes that you're given before you actually apply are only estimates at best, by applying to more than one company you increase your chances of getting a better rate. Plus, competition can make for better offers if your agent lets the underwriter know there's a better offer on the table.

This 2 application strategy has worked really well over the past 20 years. To this day, I'm still sometimes surprised at the difference in rates that 2 different companies will offer to the same person for same plan and amount of life insurance.

There are definitely life insurance companies that are more "diabetic friendly" and the insurance companies that are best for any one diabetic will vary depending on the individuals diabetes and other health history.

Diabetics that are currently getting the best offers are those with A1C of about 7.0 or less, decent history of control with no history of nerve damage, eye problems, kidney problems and overall good health otherwise.

There are other insurance companies that will offer immediate and full coverage to diabetics as long as their A1C is less than 10.0 and/or if they do have neuropathy, retinopathy, other diabetic complications or other health issues.

Then there are also "high risk" life insurance companies that will cover almost all diabetics, even if they have poor diabetic control, more severe diabetic complications and other health issues. These companies offer expensive rates and would not pay out the full insurance amount if death occurs in first 2 or sometimes3 policy years, unless death is caused by accidental means. These companies should only be used as an absolute last resort.

The good news is that almost every diabetic is insurable for life insurance.

If you are going to shop for life insurance as a diabetic, make sure the agent you're dealing with has experience with diabetes cases. Also make sure the agent you deal with can offer you rates from many different insurance companies and that they can easily shop your case to other insurance companies later, if the initial offers you get are higher than expected.

Since I've never met a salesman that indicated he was not good at getting whatever I wanted to buy, use your best judgment in choosing the agent you decide to use and don't get pressured into applying if you're not comfortable with the agent or with the information/rates they provide.

Bottom line is that some life insurance companies have been making significantly better offers to diabetics and due to the advances in treatment for diabetes, this will continue.

This is good news for diabetics that need life insurance or that already have it, but may be paying too much.

Gordon Conwell is an independent agent/broker specializing in impaired risk life insurance. His website is and he can be reached at 1-800-380-3533 or gconwell(at)

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