I was reminded this morning just how wrong a life insurance company can be on mood disorder underwriting. I am well aware, having gone through some difficult mental health issues myself, that there are times when a higher rate is appropriate, but when USAA kicks a well controlled case of ADHD all the way to their standard rate, well, they join the ranks of companies that aren’t user friendly.
In this case USAA didn’t underwrite anything. They just took the diagnosis some 15 years ago of ADHD and left the dots unconnected between that diagnosis and a highly successful surgeon who is completely unaffected by the disorder. While life insurance has taken a step back from 5 years ago when the best rate class was available, with excellent control, for almost all mood disorders, very few have taken a step back on ADD and ADHD. USAA didn’t have to take a step back. They have never done what is known as clinical underwriting so they underwrite the diagnosis with no offset for if the diagnosis has an impact on the client’s life and should have an impact on their life insurance rates.
I recognize that clinical underwriting of life insurance is a little more work than just matching a rate class to a diagnosis, but it’s the fair thing to do. Two people with depression diagnosed at the same time and taking the same medication can be living very different lives because of the depression and what they pay for life insurance should reflect that. The one that takes their medication and feels very little affect from the depression shouldn’t pay the same rate as someone who still struggles with the depression and whose life is very much affected by it. It’s a no brainer that life insurance companies often ignore because of the extra work it takes to weigh the difference in the two cases.
Call me cynical, but when I see a mega rich life insurance company cutting corners at their client’s expense and spending bazillions on advertising to convince you that they are all you and all of your family will ever need, well, it makes me wonder what other corners are being cut. In the real world of life insurance, whether it is ADHD, depression or bipolar disorder, good control should pave the way to good rates.
Bottom line. If you feel like you’ve received a bad deal on your life insurance and they say it’s due to your mood disorder that is so well controlled that it doesn’t negatively affect your life at all, time for a second opinion. If you have questions or want to run your situation by me to see if I can turn things around, call or email me. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.