Life Insurance Underwriting Strategies for Applicants with Cancer
One third of the US population will develop cancer during their lifetime, making it the second leading cause of death in the U.S. – second to death from cardiovascular causes. Cancer can arise in any tissue; however, some tissues and organs are more prone to cancer development. Skin cancer is very common amongst both genders. Breast cancer is common among women, with 1 in 8 affected during their lifetime. Prostate cancer is common in men; most men who reach the later decades will develop prostate cancer.
Expected Underwriting Outcomes:
With most cancers, early and accurate diagnosis, aggressive treatment, and appropriate regular medical follow up lead to the most favorable medical outcomes and underwriting assessments.
Offers of life insurance are usually postponed for at least one year from the date of last treatment, but there are some very early forms of cancer that can be underwritten at standard rates immediately upon removal. Cancers that had the opportunity to spread to multiple tissue layers are often postponed for three or five years, sometimes longer.
Variables Impacting on Life Insurance Underwriting:
The type of cancer, it’s size and level of spread (stage), and the aggressiveness of the cancer cells (grade), are the key variables in underwriting most forms of cancer. Age, date of diagnosis, response to treatment, and date of last treatment are also critical variables.
Insurer Selection is Key:
Several highly rated brand name insurers have developed specialized expertise in underwriting certain cancers; there is no one best insurer for all applicants. Therefore, it is best to gather a few key facts in advance of a formal application. Our underwriters can use that information to negotiate preliminary underwriting assessment from several insurers, identify the most aggressive carrier, and model approximate product pricing for you. You and your client can then make an informed decision on the best way forward. Specialized cancer underwriting questionnaires exist for many of the more common forms of cancer – please ask us for those if you know in advance the type of cancer impacting your client. If the type of cancer is not known in advance of a client meeting, answers to the questions below will enable us to begin our pre-underwriting research.
Preliminary Underwriting Questions:
- What is your name?
- What is your gender? F ___ M ___
- Date of birth:
- What is the exact type (name) of the cancer:
- At what age were you first diagnosed with cancer?
- What stage was your cancer (typically I, II, III, or IV):
- What grade was your cancer (typically I, II, III, or IV):
- TNM Classification: T ___ N ___ M ___
- Other cancer specific classification (e.g., Gleason Score, Duke’s Score):
- Type of treatments with dates (e.g. surgery, radiation, freezing, chemo):
- Current (ongoing) treatment:
- Date of last (final) treatment:
- Evidence of recurrence:
- Regular exercise:
- Do you use any form of tobacco or marijuana? If yes, please describe type & frequency of use:
- Are there any other medical conditions for which you are being treated? If so, please describe:
- How frequently do you follow-up with your healthcare provider?