Are you receiving your “Credits” on your life insurance application?
Most consumers aren’t aware that certain life insurance companies offer “Credits Programs” to give applicants applying for life insurance the opportunity to qualify for the best underwriting class available.
Often times when someone applies for life insurance everything will be good except for one finding. Whether you are just a little over the build chart for your height, or have elevated blood pressure or cholesterol or one of your parents had heart disease at an early age. This finding will unfortunately put you into a different rating class and will raise your premiums. This can be prevented by applying with certain companies. For example, American General Life (AIG) allows applicants ages 41-70 one class Preferred upgrade or one Substandard class (Table rated) improvement if they meet 4 of the 16 reference points on their Healthy Credits Program. The 16 reference points are as follows:
1. Normal stress EKG, thallium, stress echo, Sestamibi, MUGA, EBCT, or other Perfusion or imaging test
2. Normal chest or abdominal CT scan
3. Hemoglobin A1C< 5.5
4. APS documented daily rigorous aerobic exercise and the physical measurements to substantiate
5. LDL below 100 within 6 months without medication
6. BMI of 23-25
7. Untreated blood pressure 120/80 or better
8. Normal mammogram
9. Normal executive physicals at top-tier clinics such as Mayo, Cleveland Clinic, Cooper Clinic, etc.
10. Parents survived into their 80s
11. Normal colonoscopy
12. NT Pro-BNP<100
13. Normal CBC
14. Normal spirometry
15. Normal blood chemistry profile
16. Normal total cholesterol (200 or less) without medication
For Banner Life three of these seven criteria must be met to move up one class:
1. No tobacco use in the past 10 years. This criteria is met if the applicant occasionally smokes cigars (no more than 12 per year) and has a current urine specimen showing negative for nicotine.
2. Cholesterol/HDL ratio of ≤ 4.5
3. NT Pro BnP under 100
4. A normal cardiac test within the past 2 years yielding superior positive predictive value such as a negative exercise stress test (at least 10 METS), nuclear/perfusion stress test, stress echocardiogram, cardiac angiogram, CT angiogram or EBCT score of 0.
5. Both parents surviving to at least age 75 and no sibling with onset of cancer or cardiovascular disease before age 60.
6. Lifestyle: One of the following must be met: regular annual checkups, regular participation in exercise/wellness programs, routine age or gender related preventative/baseline studies (pap smear, mammography, prostate exams, colonoscopy, ect.) or any other endeavor that adds positive protective value.
7. GGT below 30
There are other companies that offer this Credits Program such as Prudential, Mutual of Omaha, Genworth and others. (Qualifications differ for each company) Make sure you speak to a knowledgeable agent or broker who can over the details and qualifications for the companies that will offer you the best rates based on your health and lifestyle.
How much can I save?
A 35 year old male applying for 2 million dollar policy with Banner Life on a 20 year term who would normally qualify for the Standard Plus rate, with a $1,565 annual premium. If the case was moved one class higher and issued Preferred, the annual premium would be $1,250. A savings of more than 30%!
Make sure you ask your agent about the Credit Program to improve your rating class in case you have an adverse finding on your life insurance application or exam. Not everyone will qualify for the credits but by applying with a company that offers healthy credits you are putting yourself in a better position to receive the best rates possible. Especially for those who are very healthy but may be a little overweight, or have high blood pressure, high cholesterol or family history which is increasing your premiums it may be very advantageous to apply with one of the companies that will put you back into the rating class you deserve. As you saw above, the savings can be significant.
See how much you can save on life insurance!
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