SEXUAL ISSUES AND LIFE INSURANCE
One of the most talked about cultural and societal issues of late is that of sexuality and gender. The #MeToo movement supporting victims of sexual harassment has brought many secrets to light, with influential leaders in many industries being accused of sexual misconduct. Freedom and rights surrounding gender identity have become a national conversation, and abortion and controversy go hand in hand.
This is a highly personal, very provocative, and therefore often taboo, topic, yet it affects many people who apply for life insurance. You might be thinking, “I can understand how drinking and smoking affect my eligibility for life insurance, but what do sexual issues have to do with anything?” This next series of articles will focus on how sexual issues impact your quest for life insurance and will give you the tools you need to help you take charge of the process if you have personal experience in this area.
An Underwriting Review
First, a review. We know that life insurance underwriting is tremendously comprehensive. It considers your current medical condition, health history, family medical history, lifestyle, vocation, avocation, and legal, financial, and motor vehicle records.
Why is it so comprehensive? The simple answer is that whether directly or indirectly, all of these factors affect your mortality. We’ve discussed this in prior articles but it’s a point that bears repeating. In some cases, the connection to mortality is pretty obvious. If you are fifty pounds overweight, climb mountains, or drive your car recklessly, you know that you are tempting death more than people of normal build or those who play softball as a hobby.
Other risks are less clear. If you had a bankruptcy discharged last year, does that mean you’re closer to death? Certain carriers might think twice about insuring you for business reasons, but does it mean your life expectancy has been shortened? In truth, the answer to questions like this is that it depends.
This is what makes life insurance underwriting so complicated and so personal. For example, if you went bankrupt because a family member was diagnosed with cancer and you spent your life savings on medical treatment, you are in a very different boat than someone who filed for bankruptcy because they developed a cocaine habit and threw their income away. The questions on the insurance application could bring the personal backstory to light, and when an underwriter knows the backstory, it gives context to your disclosures on your application. This perspective can help you get a fair risk assessment and a reasonable premium.
You can see that the backstory highlights something deeply personal and significant about you, giving insight into your lifestyle, life experiences, and life choices. These factors together contribute to your insurability today. I have found that certain types of lifestyles, experiences, and choices can have a truly profound impact on us and greatly affect our insurability, especially if the impact has been negative. This is very true of sexual issues and problems.
How Sexual Issues Affect Insurability
Let’s look at the example of abortion. For many women, having an abortion is extremely traumatic, leading to anxiety, depression, addictions, and even attempted suicide. If you have had an abortion and consequently developed any of these conditions, then you will need to disclose them on your life insurance application. You may be doing okay now, but your backstory will need to be told in order to reassure the underwriter that your conditions are related to a past trauma and not due to an ongoing stress that could get worse.
Every day the news reminds us of the prominent role abortion and other sexually-related issues play in our lives. The #MeToo movement may be highlighting the danger of sexual harassment in Hollywood, but we all know it takes place in offices, factories, and every other place where men and women meet. It’s a big deal when famous celebrities and athletes go into rehab for sexual addiction, but how many of us have wives, husbands, siblings, and parents with the same compulsion? Girls on the US Gymnastics team were sexually abused by their team physician for decades and tragically, children are abused in homes, schools, and camps every day.
A common thread among the survivors of these various ordeals is the lifelong impact the experience has had on them. It’s no wonder that many have developed a number of psychological, emotional, and physical ailments. Fortunately, many have also overcome these challenges to lead productive and happy lives. These success stories have to be told when you apply for life insurance, and you must answer “yes” to the various questions about your mental and physical health.
What To Expect
In the upcoming articles about sexual issues and life insurance, we will share some of the success stories from both our files and elsewhere in the industry. Hopefully, they will encourage you to tell your own story openly and positively. Your backstory will be key to making sure you get the best treatment and pricing available during prequalification and underwriting. My firm specializes in life insurance cases that are high risk or difficult to place. We walk you through the entire process and advocate for you every step of the way. If you are ready to apply for life insurance but know that there are things in your past that may affect your eligibility, contact us and download our free guide.
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.