Life Insurance after Brain Aneurysm

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If you are wondering if you can get affordable life insurance after brain anuerysm, you have come to the right place.

The simple answer is yes it's possible. The more complicated (and honest) answer is "it depends on your particular circumstance". Based on your situation rates can range from standard to a table rating or even a decline.

This article will provide the information you need to know about getting life insurance after brain aneurysm. You will learn what underwriters will want to know about your health, possible ratings and rates.

Life Insurance Underwriting is about Risk Assessment​

The reason life insurance underwriters look so closely at every detail of your health is that they are assessing how much risk your health poses to the company's profitability. The simple fact is that if you die too soon, they lose money. They get paid to limit that possibility.

With the simple premise of the life insurance company's perspective in mind, it's worth noting that the process of applying for life insurance is virtually the same regardless of your existing health condition. So, whether your risk is a previous heart attack or recreational scuba diving the application process is the same.

What Underwriters Want to Know About Your Aneurysm

Whether the application is for life insurance with Crohn's disease or any other impairment, life insurance underwriters will generally be concerned with 5 general questions with regard to medical issues:

  • Do you fit into the usual risk factors for the condition
  • What are/were your symptoms
  • What was the Diagnosis & Treatment
  • What is the aftercare (follow up & compliance)
  • What is your health like apart from the condition/history in question

While the outline above is general in form , the questions will require specific answers. These answers will be gathered from your application, a telephone interview, the Medical Information Bureau, a Script Check, and an Attending Physicians Statement (APS).

Lets look at the general areas of inquiry one at a time.

Do you "fit" into the usual risk factors for the Condition

Because Aneurysm's are so dangerous, underwriters will scrutinize symptoms more closely than most files.

Underwriters tend to be more comfortable with making offers when the applicant's condition fits into a common risk factor pattern. If the condition doesn't fit, there as a concern that something else is at play. When this is the case, underwriters will try to allay their fears by taking a harder look at the file.

In the case of an aneurysm ​the known risk factors are divided into conditions that exist at birth and conditions that develop over time. 

Risk factors present at birth

  • Inherited connective tissue disorders
  • Polycystic kidney disease
  • Abnormally narrow aorta 
  • Cerebral arteriovenous malformation 
  • Family history of brain aneurysm

Risk factors that develop over time

  • Older age
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure (hypertension)
  • Hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis)
  • Drug abuse, particularly the use of cocaine
  • Head injury
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Certain blood infections
  • Lower estrogen levels after menopause
  • Source: Mayo Clinic

What are/were your symptoms

When underwriting an applications for life insurance after brain aneurysm , carriers will want to know the symptoms you had, how recently you have had them, and how long you had them before the diagnosis.

While most aneurysms don't show symptoms until they burst, a very large aneurysm may cause symptoms before it bursts, including: pain above and behind the eye, numbness, weakness, or paralysis on one side of the face; dilated pupils; and vision changes. 

A ruptured aneurysm will show the following symptoms:

Your Diagnosis and Treatments

Life insurance underwriters will want to know the date of first diagnosis​ and of any subsequent symptoms. Underwriting will also want to know what procedures, medications, and follow up you have been prescribed for aneurysm.

Being often idiopathic, aneurysms are often undetected until rupture. However, people who undergo CT scans, MRI, cerebral angiograms due to unrelated head injuries often have aneurysms detected prior to rupture.   ​

​Treatments for brain aneurysms include open surgery and vascular catheter surgery. Both of these options pose risks that can outweigh the potential reward.

the common pharmaceutical medications prescribed are :

  • Pain relievers
  • anti seizure medications
  • calcium channel blockers
  • vasodilator
  • vasopressor

While information that is "foggy" will be taken from your medical records, knowing the dates of diagnosis and treatments is necessary to get an accurate quote.

Your Follow Up Care

When evaluating life insurance after brain aneurysm applications, underwriting will want to see compliance with prescription medication and any follow up requirements including doctors appointments.

In addition to diligent follow up with your physician, lifestyle changes that are recommended are :  

  • Don't smoke or use recreational drugs 
  • Eat a healthy diet and exercise 
  • Limit caffeine
  • Avoid straining 

Your Over all Health (and related conditions)

While any application for life insurance will take into consideration your overall health including conditions like high cholesterol and goutunderwriters in aneurysm cases will specifically look for certain related complications. Of major concern are the following:

  • Re-bleeding
  • Vasospasm
  • Hydrocephalus

  • Hyponatremia

Obtaining Life Insurance After Brain Aneurysm

With a couple of caveats, the process of obtaining life insurance is essentially the same for everyone regardless of health.

The primary caveats for life insurance after brain aneurysm  are that no exam or so called “non-med” policies will only be available in small face amounts and an attending physician's statement (APS) may to be requested.

The APS will likely slow the process as doctors are in no hurry to respond to requests from life insurance companies.

The information that you will be required to provide in order to get the most accurate quote is as follows:

  • Date of Diagnosis (your corresponding age)

  • Treatments Undergone

  • Dates of Treatments

  • Severity & Frequency of Symptoms

  • Any Other Health Issues

Some of the details that this list will require are any hospitalizations, recommended surgeries, employment disability, last episode-how many episodes in last 6 mo.,1 & 5 year periods, and any prescriptions being taken.

Possible Underwriting Ratings with Aneurysm History

Because Life insurance applications are evaluated on a case by case basis, your story matters.

That is to say two people with the same age and condition may get vastly different offers from the same carrier based on age of diagnosis and patient compliance.

Underwriters will take all the information they have received on your case, this will include a prescription check and a motor vehicle checkalong with medical records.

Once all the information is obtained (it can happen pretty quick with computers) the underwriter will use a point system to assign a value to each of your issues. This point system which is different with all carriers , will determine your rate class.

Because each case is different, the following pricing scenarios are the best estimates based on experience.

Best Case – If you had an aneurysm that was detected before rupture and sucessfully operated, have followed up diligently and are in excellent health, you may have a shot at a standard rate.

Mid-Severe –all applications for life insurance with aneurysm history that do not fit into the best case scenario will be a degree of substandard. The severity will depend on your history, time elapsed. and any symptoms. Also, any other health issues, particularly if the other conditions contribute to the aneurysm like high blood pressure.

To learn about how table ratings work click here.

Decline– For a severe case you may be declined for traditional coverage. If this is the case you may be eligible for a smaller face amount policy. These policies are referred to as Guaranteed issue or simplified issue. If you have been declined please contact us.

Why you Should Use an Independent Agent when Shopping for Life Insurance after Brain Aneurysm

Now you already understand that your story matters, and that two people in similar situations can get very different offers from the same carrier.

What you might not know is that different insurance companies will also treat each case differently.

For example TransAmerica may have more of an appetite for the risk that restrictive cardiomyopathy presents than say Protective. In this case the underwriting grade will reflect this increased appetite.

So, if your Agent only represented one carrier and you found out later that that you could have gotten a rate 35% or 45% better, how would you feel?

angry customer

You’d probably be pretty peeved either at the agent or yourself or both. So it’s important that your Agent represent multiple carriers.

In fact a good independent agent will have access to over 50 carriers. This ensures the best chance at a good rate.

Note that if he doesn’t, he probably won’t be in a hurry to let you in on this information.

Please see the case study below . it will show why it is in your interest to have as many options as possible available when shopping for life insurance after brain aneurysm or any other impairment.

Case Study Pricing: Life Insurance After Brain Aneurysm

So, I have been preaching about the importance of using an independent Agent and you may think that sounds a bit self serving coming from an independent agent.

You’re right, it is. However, it is also the (provable) truth.

Gender: Male Age: 45

$500000 20 Year Term

Tobacco: No

Operated pre rupture aneurysm  age 42, normal CT scan, excellent follow up,preventative blood thinner - ​excellent health otherwise.

This looks like a best case scenario that could be either standard (if very lucky) or Table 2/B or 4/D depending on the insurers appetite for a cardiac risk. Let’s take a look at the rates.

Standard Rates - Table 2/B Rates - Table 4/D Rates

 protective$95.25 banner126.00 banner166.25
 banner98.08 protective142.88 principal193.81
 mutual omaha99.93 mutual omaha147.17 mutual omaha194.43
 prudential logo112.50 transamerica144.48 transamerica191.78
 assurity130.50 prudential logo171.22 prudential logo230.98

*Rates as of 12/10/2016

This table which shows only a few of the major life insurance companies available illustrates the difference in rates. For standard rates Assurity is 33% more expensive than Protective.

On it’s face this seems like a pretty straight forward choice and if underwriting grades between carriers is the same, it really can be that simple.

This kind of easy price shopping is particularly useful for younger folks in good health and demonstrates why you want to use an independent Agent.

For people who suffer from history of brain aneurysm or any other serious diagnosis, it gets much more complicated.

Because life insurers manage their appetite for specific risks by being more lenient or more stringent with underwriting grades, you need to know which company will grade you a standard or table 2 risk and which ons will grade you as table 4-6.

In the case above Prudential (the second most expensive standard rate) is likely to be the best deal because the more competitively priced carriers will likely rate the risk table 2/ 4 while Pru might well go standard.

This is something you can’t know by simply looking at the lowest price. In this case using an independent agent could save you 38% (the difference between Prudential @ standard and Banner @ Table 4).

Your Next Step

Now that you know the information you will need to receive the most accurate quote possible, it’s time to gather the information and speak to an independent Agent (raising my hand).

Thank you for choosing the to research life insurance after brain aneurysm. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to give us a call or shoot us an email.

James Tobin, CFP

Jim Tobin is the owner of Life Insurance Help Desk, a Fairfield County, CT. life insurance agency. You can find him on LinkedIn and Facebook. Over the past 10 years, Jim has used his CFP-financial planning designation to help individuals with their life insurance needs. In addition to working with life insurance clients, Jim teaches ESL classes in his spare time. He resides with his beautiful wife Nicole and the 3 cats that rule their lives..