Many people falsely presume that because they have diverticulitis, they can’t buy life insurance.
… Not the case.
And since so many people call us at JRC with this doubt, we’re going to explain exactly how serious diverticulitis is to life insurance companies, tips on being approved, and how it will affect your pricing.
Life Insurance Companies Are Concerned by Life Threatening Diseases… Does Diverticulitis Fit the Bill?
Diverticulitis is a condition that affecting the colon or large intestine, caused by pressure within the colon resulting in bulges along the colon walls.
These bulges are commonly referred to as diverticulum, and when these diverticulum become inflamed or create patches and scars, they are known as diverticulitis. Diverticulosis refers to multiple patches and scars.
Diverticulitis affects 200,000 to 3,000,000 people each year, and is thought to be caused by a lack of fiber in one’s diet.
Fortunately, the majority of people inflicted will fully recover from a single episode and have no further issues.
Diverticulitis is most common in males 40 or older, with the majority of cases occurring after age 60. The symptoms of diverticulitis usually include abdominal pain, fever, changes in bowel movements, and nausea.
Most bouts or flare-ups of diverticulitis completely resolve themselves within a week; however, some flare-ups may require antibiotics, surgeries, pain medications, or changes to diet and lifestyle.
Common over-the-counter fiber additives like Metamucil also help to alleviate some of the symptoms of diverticulitis, but in some more severe cases, narcotic-based pain medications are prescribed to help manage pain.
If you’re not taking pain medication for diverticulitis, and a year has passed since your initial flare-up, some life companies will completely overlook the diverticulitis history in your medical records.
Each insurer evaluates health records differently….it’s why you’re best served by an independent life insurance agent who specializes in medical underwriting.
Mild to Moderate Cases
A handful of the companies JRC works with, including Prudential and Protective Life, will view a single, mild case of diverticulitis as a “non-issue” and it may not necessarily prevent you from qualifying for their #1 “Preferred Best” rates as long as you meet their other health and lifestyle requirements.
Diverticulitis is not considered to be a progressive disease, but not all cases of diverticulitis are easily treated or managed.
Some extreme cases require multiple surgeries or repeated colon resections, pain medications, diet changes, etc. If you end up with this history, life insurance underwriters will be more cautious, as they’re looking at potential risks moving forward.
Again, this category of diverticulitis can still fall within “Standard” risk guidelines (average risk over time for your population group) if you’re matched with the correct insurer… so make sure you’re working with an expert shopping the market on your behalf. We’ve had extensive experience working with digestive and intestinal issues such as diverticulitis, Crohn’s Disease, ulcerative colitis, and IBS.
If your diverticulitis is severe and requires an opiate-based medication to manage discomfort, or if you’ve had multiple surgeries with continued symptoms, expect for approved rates as a sub-standard risk….know in the insurance industry as a “table rating”.
These sub-standard “tables” generally begin at “Table 2”, then Table 4, 6 or 8. The higher the rating, the higher the risk on actuarial tables, and therefore the higher the cost of insurance.
Beyond Table 8 is a “decline”….the insurer declines offering life insurance to you because they will not accept your level of risk.
Your age of diagnosis also impacts your approval. The odds of surgeries to control diverticulitis is higher with early age onset.
Signs of malabsorption, hemorrhages, obstructions, and perforations are other issues which will likely cause your policy being approved at substandard rates.
Please note: If your doctor has recommended diverticulitis related surgery, you’ll need to complete it and wait at least 6 months before applying for most life insurance.
Please feel free to give us a call at 855 – 247 – 9555 if you would like an accurate quote based on your situation.
Like most things you buy, we recommend shopping the market with an agency skilled in helping people with pre-existing conditions, before applying for life insurance. As stated, some companies are much more lenient with G.I. issues than others.
We’ve seen some life insurance companies charge an applicant 2 to 4 times that of another company for the same policy and medical history.
An example of this is our client Kenneth. Kenneth came to us after buying life insurance from a very popular “call center” agency that he saw advertised on TV. Kenneth was 57 at the time we spoke and was first diagnosed with diverticulitis at age 52. He has had one episode which required surgery, but no issues since then.
Overall, Kenneth is in pretty good shape, just taking a medication to control his blood pressure, and is around 15 pounds heavier than his doctor would like, but has no current or past significant health issues. Kenneth’s medical records showed his diverticulitis to be “mild” and under good control.
Below are the rates the Kenneth received from one insurer, and the rates we were able to help him secure. Both insurers carry A+ ratings, and well-known in the insurance industry.
The “diverticulitis friendly” insurance carrier ended up approving Kenneth’s application at their #1 “Preferred Best” risk, crushing the price of his original “Standard” risk policy.
|$500,000 Death Benefit with Level Premiums for 20 years*|
|Approved Rates through agency on TV||Approved Rates through JRC policy shopping|
|$330.97 (Monthly)||$155.45 (Monthly)|
- Rates vary by age, health and other risk factors. Policies not offered in all states.
Assuming Kenneth outlives his policy, he will save $42,124.80 over the course of 20 years!
Life insurance underwriters evaluate history of surgeries, prescribed medications, and frequency of flare-ups in considering the severity of diverticulitis, however, they look closest at the previous 12 months.
If you have had diverticulitis or other G.I. issues, call to speak with one of JRC’s expert agents. We’ll provide free advice and accurate, pre-qualified quote comparisons from leading, highly rated life insurers.
If you’re not sure what’s in your medical records, no problem. We regularly help our clients “re-shop” after receiving their first approval.
Diverticulitis in the News
A famous and current case of diverticulitis made national headlines in 2011 when former UFC Champion Brock Lesnar announced his daily struggles with the disease and his upcoming surgery. At the time, Lesnar was on the cusp of becoming one of the most dominating athletes the UFC had ever seen.
Lesnar, a 6’3”-250 pound former professional football player, WWE Wrestler, and NCAA Wrestling Champion showed the world that even the strongest and fittest athletes can struggle with diverticulitis.
Brock was first diagnosed with diverticulitis in 2009 when he was 32 years old, and at the height of his career. Unfortunately, diverticulitis eventually ended Lesnar’s UFC career, as the challenges of such a competitive sport while battling with his illness were too much to overcome.
Lesnar has since made a full recovery from his diverticulitis, and he has been able to continue a successful WWE career.
Were here to help!
If you’re in the market for life insurance and would like assistance determining your options and obtaining coverage, call JRC today. Our agents are experts at underwriting GI issues and can shop over 40 companies on your behalf. One-stop shopping at its best!
Whatever your needs or questions then please call me direct at 855 – 247 – 9555.
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