What is the best Final Expense company? This is a question I get asked every week. The answer to that question is obvious: there is no one company that is BEST! That’s the beauty and benefit of being an independent agent. Many agents got started in this business working for a captive company, but in their desire to do what is in the best interest of their clients, they eventually decide to go independent. Not only are the independent carriers more competitive when it comes to price, which is very important for our Fixed Income prospects, but having multiple carriers to choose from will enable you to not only give the lowest price, but 1st day level coverage.
Some may argue that their company’s captive product is the BEST. Maybe they believe it offers greater value than the less expensive product. Yet I don’t think anyone would argue that getting a lower price and no waiting period would be in the best interests of our clients. That’s the true value of having access to multiple carriers. We can get people 1st day Level coverage 90% of the time. I don’t know how many times I have walked in to a prospect’s house and found out they were offered a 2 year Return of Premium/Modified plan because they were on blood thinners, had COPD, were in a wheelchair, had an amputation etc. Maybe they had to go modified because of a number of different factors, but many times I am able to get them immediate coverage because I have access to so many different products.
Now some people are so sick that all they can qualify for is Modified coverage, and if that’s the case, then almost any competitive company will do, but how many people are sold Modified Two year ROP plans that don’t have to. How many people get sold a Modified plan and die in the first 2 years? How would you feel if someone could have gotten your mother or your grandmother 1st day coverage, but decided to sell them a Modified plan?
So let’s look at a few examples of some difficult health conditions that will cause a client to go Modified with most carriers and we will also look at what products independent Final Expense agents can use to get these folks 1st day Level Coverage!
What happens when you run into a 400lb woman that has insulin dependent diabetes and is being treated for Neuropathy? Royal Neighbors will take that preferred! Diabetic Neuropathy is a common issue for diabetics. Most companies will decline or cause to go modified if their diabetes has progressed this far, Royal Neighbors is one of the few companies that will take this risk who also has no Height Weight chart.
What happens if the week before you see your client they had had a TIA/MiniStroke? Almost all companies ask about Strokes and TIAs in the same health questions. Not Royal Neighbors. They do not care about TIAs at all. Americo Ultra Protector will take TIAs as long as they do not take any medication for diabetes.
What about blood thinners like Warfarin, Coumadin, Xarelto etc? This is a knock out with so many companies and so many people use these drugs following heart attacks and strokes. Transamerica considers these medications as maintenance after the 1 or 2 year lookback for standard or preferred. As long as they can answer No to the Royal Neighbors health questions, they can get preferred while taking blood thinners.
What about wheelchair use? Some companies, like Royal Neighbors, only ask if they are confined to a wheelchair. So those that use it occasionally and are not completely confined would be able to answer that question NO! Then you have some companies, like United Home Life, that do not ask about wheelchair use at all.
Another common issue that we run into is amputation caused by disease or diabetes. Most companies ask if this has ever occurred. United Home Life does not ask at all and Americo Eagle is ok with it after 2 years.
What about those that started Insulin use in their teen years? Foresters does not care when the insulin use started.
How about those that use Oxygen? That’s always ROP/Modified right? Not if it’s used just for the Cpap breathing machine at night. Most carriers will still decline that, but Foresters will take that preferred.
Some carriers offer a preferred rate and a standard rate. The standard rates are a little higher, but they still offer the client 1st day level coverage. I believe, with all my heart, that 1st day level coverage trumps everything, even price! So if they have to spend $10 more a month to get level coverage, that’s what I will show them.
Some companies will offer a true Graded coverage like Royal Neighbors. Royal Neighbors and Foresters, for example, will pay 30/70/100% of the face amount in years 1, 2 and 3. So if they had a $10,000 policy it would pay out $3000 in year 1, $7000 in year 2 and the full $10,000 come year 3. If you can’t offer 1st day level coverage, this is still a much better option than a Modified/ROP plan.
Most companies will ask if the client has had a Heart Attack or Stroke in the last 2-3 years. Transamerica will offer standard pricing for those that are only 1 year out from a heart attack or stroke.
How about the dreaded COPD diagnosis or Emphysema? Transamerica and Liberty Bankers will take that standard level coverage. Foresters and Royal Neighbors will offer their 30/70/100 Graded plan for COPD. Royal Neighbors and Foresters will also offer level preferred coverage to those that use inhalers for Asthma, even if it’s an everyday thing, whereas Transamerica would consider any inhaler use more than once a week a Chronic Lung Condition.
What about those folks that have the Direct Express card? We have plenty of carriers that will take that. Transamerica, Liberty Bankers, Security National, Family Benefits, Great Western and Gerber will all take the DE card and some of them will even take a regular credit, debit or prepaid Visa/MC. Some of these companies do upcharge a little for preferred Direct Express/CC business though, so keep that in mind.
What happens if someone has COPD and takes insulin for their diabetes? Transamerica won’t take that, but Liberty Bankers will take it Standard. What happens if they also had diabetic neuropathy? Royal Neighbors will take that risk Graded.
What about Congestive Heart Failure? Aetna will take that Graded and their graded is a little better. It’s actually 40/75/100. Great Western won’t take people level that have hypertension level, but they will take people with CHF level if it’s over 2 years.
Great Western will also take Organ Transplants level, if it happened over 2 years ago.
How about irregular heartbeat or arrhythmia? Transamerica will always consider taking medications for those ailments as current treatment, but Royal Neighbors and Foresters have no problems with those health risks.
We could go on all day, but these are just a few of the many situations that you will run into while in the field and most of these health conditions would cause a rate up or even Modified coverage if all you had was one company. There is no BEST company for Final Expense. I think everyone should pick a Go To company that has liberal underwriting and will take the healthy and the unhealthy prospects and focus as much as you can on that one company, but if you only have a hammer, every problem will present itself as a nail. We need multiple solutions for our clients so that we can do what is in their best interest!