With the king sized jacking around that life insurance companies are giving HIV+ clients and the agents that fight for them I am occasionally left wondering if the whole game is worth it. Life insurance companies seem to decline and very rarely approve these policies based more on whim than facts and they hold all the cards because they feel no reason to share what was wrong with a case if it is declined. For that matter they won’t even discuss what was right with a case when it is approved. For those few companies that say they are involved in this huge niche it truly appears to be all about the appearance of being in the game, than taking the task seriously.
I was able to garner an approval from John Hancock for a personal life insurance policy. The client’s only other option was to go to Lloyds of London where business life insurance can be obtained at reasonable rates, but no personal life insurance. Hancock has also recently declined two clients that met all of their written criteria. These were single moms with significant income and no way to purchase personal life insurance to ensure their children’s future.
- Self disclosed diagnosis
- Compliant with antiretroviral therapy (ART) for at least 5 consecutive years
- Consistent and compliant follow up with HIV specialist
- Viral load undetectable for the last 2 years
- Current CD4 count over 350
- Current negative Hep B and C testing and no history of hepatitis
- No viral resistance to treatment
- No history of IV drug use or other substance abuse
- No history of coronary artery disease, diabetes, cancer or protein in the urine
- No significant psychiatric history
- Not underweight or losing weight, normal protein levels
- No AIDS defining illness
To these I have added that the potential insured cannot be a smoker since there are proven links to smoking and erratic outcomes of HIV treatment due to the increased exposure to CAD. There can also be virtually no co-morbidity health issues, and it seems with John Hancock, no other health issues ever is a good place to start.
So to put this in context, I can get approval at table 3 to 8 rates for well controlled type 1 diabetes, a disease that can have significant mortality issues especially if early onset and in later years (60-70). I can get approval for low grade and stage melanoma at standard plus rates within just a few months of treatment even though melanoma is a known killer. I can get approval six months post heart attack within certain criteria even though there is no proof at that point that the client will take preventive measures to avoid another one. They don’t even have a consistent track record of compliance with treatment at that time.
But if you are HIV+, a disease that is stopped in its’ tracks by antiretroviral treatment, and have a track record of follow up with your infectious disease doctor every six months or more frequently you are declined, or if approved charged a table 8-12 rate PLUS a $2 per thousand flat extra. This is absurd when you put in context that well controlled HIV+ presents the same mortality rate as a healthy person with no known illness. It’s absurd when you put in context that the HIV+ person sees their doctor for check ups at least twice a year in stark contrast the most of the healthy population not getting regular check ups at all.
Bottom line. While approvals for HIV+ personal life insurance do happen, they are so rare that it is, at least in the mind of this impaired risk life agent, shameful to the life insurance industry. Change needs to happen. Fairness needs to become the norm. When an agent that gets calls every day from HIV+ people wanting life insurance can only place 6 cases with traditional life insurance companies in five years, something is wrong. If you have questions or want to discuss the potential avenues to success, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.