A Second (Risk) Opinion After a Coronary Event
December 02, 2014| By Rick Marinara |
Can a man in his 50s with a history of heart disease ever be considered better than a sub-standard risk for life insurance? The answer is, sometimes, YES.
Here’s an example. John Smith, now age 52, believed he was in great health; why not? He went to his gym a couple of times a week, did yard work and golfed almost every weekend, skied a few times every winter, and felt fine. But two years ago, after mowing his lawn, Mr. Smith felt poorly. He rested and felt better the next morning, but later while walking his dog, the uncomfortable feeling returned, and now included a discomfort in his chest, “like a heavy weight pressing down on my chest.”
He was admitted to the hospital ER and after undergoing some cardiac tests, a heart attack was suspected and invasive treatment suggested. Mr. Smith didn’t need a coronary artery bypass, but one of his arteries was blocked enough to require angioplasty and a stent.
Eight months after Mr. Smith's procedure, he had lost 17 pounds, improved his diet and cholesterol, was routinely working out at his gym and walking for exercise on other days.
He wasn’t sure what to expect when applying for life insurance, and the company to which he applied did feel his history would require charging a significant increase in premiums for a 50-year-old male. However, as a Gen Re client, the carrier forwarded all its tests and medical records to us in the hope of improving the risk assessment. Gen Re is an industry specialist in the underwriting of coronary artery disease.
In fact our review of the records provided by the hospital, cardiologist and primary MD included favorable reports, including EKG testing since his event, and other insurance tests were assessed positively. With this information, Gen Re was able to assess this risk more favorably than the primary carrier, who was then able to offer a reinsured policy with a rating acceptable to Mr. Smith.
That wasn’t the end of the story. A year later, Mr. Smith applied for rate reconsideration with his company, which supplied Gen Re with an updated report and medical records. With continued compliance with lifestyle changes and follow-up testing, Gen Re’s experienced review determined Mr. Smith’s premiums could now be reduced further – to a Standard rate class. Sometimes it pays to get a second opinion.