We all have a personal history. This backstory of your life not only impacts your identity, your life situation, and your relationships, but it also plays a major role when applying for life insurance. In our introductory article about sexual issues and life insurance, we discussed how backstory helps people who have had to overcome personal issues gain favorable treatment when they apply for coverage. It can be painful to dig up the past, but it is in your benefit to share your story.
Why Backstory Matters
The backstory narrative gives proper perspective to the physical, psychological, emotional, and lifestyle challenges that may become factors in your life insurance application. The truth is that many people have these challenges due to sexually-related experiences. If you feel comfortable and confident talking about them, then you can serve as your own best advocate during the prequalification and underwriting processes. Your broker, general manager, underwriter, and case manager can then approach the situation with more sensitivity and understanding and the ideal underwriting assessment available can be provided.
Long-Term Effects Of Abuse
Let's start with a troubling issue that has been in the news for months now: the sexual abuse of children. Our nation was shocked when it was revealed that 150 members of our national gymnastics team were sexually molested by their team physician. These girls were teenagers living away from home, training arduously, and putting themselves in the care of professional managers who they thought they could trust. Tragically, their vulnerability was exploited by sick predators and the abuse by these perverts was covered up by officials who didn't want to rock the boat. This is a terrible story, and it's made more terrible by all of the similar accounts coming out of schools, houses of worship, camps, and even families.
How will traumas like this affect these children? What's in store for them as they grow into adults, and take on adult responsibilities? What challenges will they face, and how will they confront those challenges? And how will these challenges affect their eligibility for life insurance?
Backstory Case Study
Here's a story from my files to explain how one survivor resolved her own personal issues with a very successful end result:
A number of years ago, a young woman called my office and asked if we could help someone with depression buy life insurance. My initial answer was yes. Of course, it depended on a number of factors, but depression in and of itself was not a dealbreaker.
So, I started to prequalify her and look at the various factors involved. I learned about her current medications and compliance with them and then began to look at her medication history. Knowing that people suffering from depression often self-medicate, I also asked about her history of drug and alcohol use. That's when I found out about her substance-abuse and subsequent treatment for it. Clearly, she was someone who had been experiencing personal turmoil.
I sensed we were entering “private psychological property” and proceeded with caution. I emphasized that my only objective was to quote a rate at which I was confident she would be approved, and to do so, she would need to have full disclosure. I stressed that the information she provided would be treated respectfully and confidentially.
She felt comfortable enough with the process and told me about her history of abuse as a child. It was a sad tale, and as you can imagine, it threw her life off track for a long time. In her teen years, she began to have “ugly feelings.” At first, she attempted to assuage those feelings, or self-medicate, with drugs and alcohol. That eventually got out of control and she ended up in rehab. Once in treatment, she got the professional help she needed in the form of a proper diagnosis, the right medication, and the correct attitude. She emerged from rehab a new person.
By the time she entered adulthood and was ready to purchase insurance, she had a good track record of compliance with her medication and a high level of functionality. She was concerned that her history of drug and alcohol abuse would be held against her by underwriters. However, in my presentation to potential carriers, I was able to provide proper context. I shared her backstory as an abuse survivor, as someone who suffered trauma and tried to resolve her symptoms with drugs and alcohol. I explained how she sought help and is now on track with her professional management program.
A sad situation turned into a life insurance success story. A number of carriers understood and appreciated the honest account she gave and one, in particular, offered her a very low rate for her life insurance. This true story shows the value of presenting your backstory in the life insurance process.
Don’t Write Yourself Off
If you have a history that is less than ideal from a life insurance perspective, don’t give up and determine that life insurance is not an option for you. My hope is that this series encourages you to share your personal story so you can get the best life insurance options possible. My firm will treat your case with care and respect and work as your advocate as we walk you through the processes of prequalification and underwriting. If you or someone you know would benefit from our services, schedule a free 15-minute introductory phone call online. I’d love to hear from you.
Steven H. Kobrin, LUTCF, owns and operates a national life insurance brokerage. He is a life insurance specialist, and expert in helping clients that are higher-risk or need special handling. He is affiliated with a premier general agent and master general agency to distribute top-of-the-line financial produces and services. Through them, he forms strategic partnerships with insurance brokers, financial advisors, and financial institutions to expand client services, increase sales, and generate referral income.
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