This is the third post in a long sequence where I want to share stories of real people I have met either while working with a life insurance company, or as an independent investment adviser. My goal is to share their stories so I can impart the lessons I learned in the hopes that these lessons will also serve others - this is for you, my readers!
*All my subjects will be either John or Mary, for privacy reasons.
I want to spend the time today talking about the importance of getting life insurance while healthy, so that the family is taken care of, in case something happens. While working with the life insurance company, I met quite a few people who were not able to qualify for life insurance. In industry jargon this type of prospect is known as an autodecline. This means that even without sharing this info with the underwriters I was able to know that these persons were unable to qualify for life insurance.
A couple of the examples that come to mind are for single parents - a mom and a dad - both young, and both with children under 10 years old. In both cases I was unable to set in place life insurance for the parents. It was a bad feeling of inability to help them. Neither one was able to protect themselves with life insurance, and unfortunately both of them have passed away since. That was even more sad for me to find out. I had to tell their family when they called that no money was coming from the life insurance company.
I still remember meeting Mary many years ago, and she was a great baker - had the privilege to taste one of her cakes. I was sad to be in the position to tell her that because of her condition (sarcoidosis of the skin) she would be declined for life insurance. I remember she had a son - about 7-8 years old. I felt bad having to tell her that I could not help her make sure her son would be taken care of. She had just received the notification from her job that she could not have life insurance through them either, because they had changed providers and she had to go through the underwriting process.
Her medical condition stayed in my mind even though I met her about 10 years ago because it hadn't been long since Bernie Mac had died from sarcoidosis of the liver. Being a fan, this left a profound impression on me.
When I met John, I learned that he had a 5 year old son and he worked out of town - about 2 hours away - so he spent a lot of time driving up and down the highway. His medical condition didn't look too serious at the first glance. He had high blood pressure. Since I had been with the life insurance company for a number of years at the time, I already had quite a few clients with the same condition.
I remember John saying that he didn't really take care of this health but he was in his 30's, so I thought it was no big deal. I thought he still kinda sorta took care of his health. He had a son to take care of, right?! Well, I was surprised when his application came back as a decline for life insurance because his blood pressure was no way close to under control.
Some months later I received a call from his parents and found out he had passed - and not due to an accident. So I had to tell them that they had no life insurance money coming in to help with raising his child.
These situations are some of the saddest that I had to live through during my years with the life insurance company. It's hard to be unable to help people. On a logical level, I understand that it was out of my control. On an emotional level, I still wish I could have helped these families - as well as the other ones where I met people who could not qualify for life insurance.
Please remember this:
The best time to apply for life insurance is NOW. When you are healthy, it is the best time to protect yourself; once something happens, like being diagnosed with a serious medical condition or becoming terminally ill, it is too late.