Life Insurance and Cancer

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Life Insurance and Cancer: Background

Recent advancements in the treatment of cancer have had a major impact on the way life insurance companies underwrite cancer survivors. Many forms of cancer are very treatable in the early stages and insurance companies have adjusted their pricing accordingly.

This point was highlighted in a recent National Post article.  Joan Tolan a retired Vice President at Munich Reinsurance was quoted as saying “Every individual is treated differently and assessed on their own individual risk. But almost every disease out there, if it’s under control, there will be some type of coverage.”

In certain instances cancer survivors can qualify for traditional life insurance. Caroline Keyes, Director and Chief Underwriter at Kingston based insurer Empire Life points out in underwriting life insurance and cancer “we look at the type of cancer, the stage it’s at and how far advanced it is.” The earlier it’s diagnosed the better because it’s more treatable and is more likely to have a favourable underwriting decision. 

It is very important to work with a broker who has experience with Life Insurance and Cancer. The claims experience and underwriting practices can vary sharply from one insurance company to another. For applicants with a history of Cancer it is often useful for your broker to submit a cover letter with the application. Underwriting life insurance and Cancer is about assessing and understanding risk, is the person more likely to die sooner than someone else the same age without that risk. People often think because they have had cancer that can not qualify for insurance but recent advancements in technology and on the product side have created new opportunities for clients.

Non Medical Life Insurance for cancer patients

A very exciting recent trend in the industry has been the increase in non medical life insurance providers. The term “non medical life insurance” is sometimes misused, while it’s true the insurance company does not require a medical on many of these plans still do ask a series of health questions.

No Medical life insurance can be broken down into 2 categories.  Simplified Issue Life Insurance where there are no medical tests and a short series of health questions and Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance where there no medical tests and no health questions.  All Guaranteed Issue plans and some Simplified Issue plans have a 2-year waiting period, meaning if the insured dies in the first 2 years by a non accident the death benefit is limited to a return of premium plus interest.

Assumption Life has very competitive rates on its Permanent Plans, including their Golden Protection plan which is available without a exam medical. Cancer survivors may qualify as long as they were diagnosed with cancer over 2 years ago and have not had a change in medication over the last 2 years. They also have a No Medical Life Insurance plan available with a higher face amounts on a immediate pay basis.

Humania Assurance which recently introduced a $300,000 Simplified Issue Term 10 and Term 20 policy which is available to people with Cancer if they are actively working. But their is a pre-existing condition exclusion period on their plans.

We also took a lot at some of Humania’s unique underwriting processes when we sat down with National Sales Director Michael Suska

The HuGO application is really the first of its kind. It’s an intelligent application vs the more common electronic application. The intelligent application is basically like having a built-in junior underwriter in your software.

One of the true heavyweights in the Simplified Issue marketplace is Canada Protection Plan. The company was one of the first on the hard to insure scene offering o medical Life Insurance solutions since 1992.

If you have a history of Cancer this is definitely a good company to look into. Some of things they look at when analyzing an application:

  • The type of cancer,
  • The stage, has it spread to any lymph nodes or organs
  • Any prior history of cancer
  • The date of the last treatment or the date deemed to be in complete remission

So how much can you qualify for with Canada Protection. They have a $25,000 Guaranteed Issue plan. You can qualify for up to $75,000 if you currently have cancer, that is a first occurrence and has not spread. You can qualify up to $350,000 Lung Cancer, colon cancer, all female cancers, malignant melanoma, leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma if the insured is between 1 to 3 years of complete remission. These first 3 plans all have a two year waiting period on the death benefit. They will also issue $500,000 of immediate pay coverage for most non-aggressive cancers, after 12 months since date of complete remission.

Another unique feature of Canada Protection Plan is it doesn’t matter if you have been declined somewhere else. This is a knockout question on many Simplified Issue plans.

What cancer life insurance is offered by other companies?

Some other Simplified Issue insurance companies include Industrial Alliance, IA Excellence, The Edge Benefits, Wawanessa Life and BMO Insurance.

An important factor to keep in mind when choosing a Simplified Issue Life Insurance plan is to to make sure you understand the questions you are being asked. The questions can be ambiguous. If you are unclear, ask for clarification and get your response in writing. Answering, the questions incorrectly could make your policy null and void and leave your family out of luck.

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Cay Travis
Cay Travis

My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer …. . He was … at the time and his doctor has advised that his cancer is so small and not life threatening that it is best to do nothing. This doctor was doing a blind study trial using a drug/placebo that may stop the growth of this cancer. Benefit of participating from February 0f 2017 to 2018 regular examinations and blood tests and 24/7 access – plus very reassuring to my husband and cancer related anxiety. During the numerous blood tests the PSA stayed the same and then lowered. We need whole… Read more »

Jessica Billiet
Jessica Billiet

Brad, I am really sorry to hear about this! I am looking forward to the reply as well so I can learn about your options with your individual carrier. I did want to ask though- are you currently employed? You might ask your employer if they offer voluntary life insurance. We work with firms and they usually get a life insurance group policy up to $150,000 without health questions. These policies will often include long term care riders. People in your situation will often purchase a permanent life policy with $150,000 of coverage and the following year purchase another $150,000… Read more »

Brad
Brad

Hi, I was diagnosed with CLL 6 months ago. My doctors and specialists have told me that I am so far at the bottom end of the spectrum of the disease that they are not even worried about it right now. It was a very early diagnosis…barely recognisable. I only need to check in every 6 mos, and depending upon the progress of the disease it may only be every 6 mos for the rest of my life. My life expectation is still quite long, and I am healthy in every other way. Non-smoker, casual drinker. I just completed a… Read more »

Carson Jones
Carson Jones

Hi I’m 56 and I have stage 2 prostate cancer. I previously had a surgery to remove the tumour, but it came back the following year. I just wanted to know what my best options are.

Chrissy shaw
Chrissy shaw

Great advice. I would.like to get some life insurance. I have three kids. Had total thyroid removal in 2008. Pathogist found small amount of cancer. Decided not to treat. Nodule began to grow and was diagnose for suspected malignant. Can I still get coverage. Please reply of email. Thank you

William
William

I’ve been cancer free for about 12 years now. Can I still get a regular life insurance or do I need to go the no medical route and choose a simplified or guaranteed life insurance? -Thanks.

annie
annie

Hi,

I was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer in early 2011. I took tamoxiphen up until Nov/12. I go for mammogram once a year and everything has been normal. Any life insurance available for me?

Dawn Luhning
Dawn Luhning

I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer in 2013 and took tamoxiphen up until Nov 20, 2018. I applied for a life insurance (with Empire Life) about two years ago just to see if I could get it and did. They rated me 150% and I said SOLD!! I was so happy. I always tell my clients don’t be afraid of the questions asked; an educated advisor can help you navigate through all this information. LSM – thanks for sharing this post!

LSM Insurance
LSM Insurance

thanks for sharing your experience Dawn

Khalid
Khalid

Hi, I am 54 and was diagnosed with Colon Cancer stage 2 in October 2011 had surgery in November 2011 but no other treatment such as chemo or radiation. I am now free of cancer. I was denied my house insurance on May 2012. Can I get a life insurance and also house insurance on my mortgage? If so what would be the cost?

Thank you,
Regards,
Khalid

Toby
Toby

May be a silly question. I know the type of cancer effects longevity. But insurance companies take this into account or do they just lump all cancers together.

Stan
Stan

Can I still get life insurance and I am receiving cancer treatments

Cathy
Cathy

Canb I get a quote on life insurance for my sister she had breast cancer 4 years ago. she is 58. ty

Harris
Harris

what matter more the type of cancer or how long ago I had it?

Dave P
Dave P

I was diagnosed with stage …. on … 2010. I had a f/u surgey on … 2011 but no treatment since and fell great. I looking for $50,000 don’t want a plan where my family has to wait if I die.

Rohit
Rohit

My wife has been diagnosed with throat cancer. She is on a student visa. The insurance through her college doesn’t cover surgery. Need suggestions. If you can treat this matter urgent.

Thanks
Rohit

Kelly Williams
Kelly Williams

my mom had non-malignant growth 20 years ago. She is now 52 – healthy and a non-smoker. She was told that she cannot get regular insurance.

Please advise how she can qualify.

lalitha
lalitha

Hi

diagnosed with cancer 10 days ago can i get medical insurance

Lindsey
Lindsey

Hi there,

I would love to hear any specific recommendations with respect to providers who will approve young cancer survivors. I’m in my mid-30s and cancer-free for 10 years, but unfortunately cannot find anyone who will approve me. Would love to hear from you. Thank you!

Edward
Edward

I have been cancer free for exactly 5 years today (yay!). Should I have my policies reevaluated to see if I am eligible for any discounted rates?

renee
renee

hi im looking for a life ins.for the amount of$50.000 for my husband he was diagnosed with cancer in may he still getting chemotherapy
treatment.what type of policy can you provide me with that information. thank you

Fred
Fred

I was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer last year. I am in remission with medication. Any insurance policy for me

jay
jay

hi there my name is jay i have a friend that has cml leukemia, is there anyone we can contact to help get him some life ins. any info would be greatly appreciated.

thanks
jay

Barbara
Barbara

hi i am lookng for a insurance in the amount of @75000.00 i was diagnose with cancer in 2008 had operation and now i am on medication life insurance if is available and how much will be on monthy basis plus what type of policy can you provide me with that information thanks

hanif
hanif

In March of 2009, I was diagnosed with cancer. I went through chemotherapy and have had one minor relapse that required radiation treatment for a few days. Is there a life insurance policy available for someone with my background? I continue to work full time….did not stop even during my treatments. I don’t want to formally apply for insurance as I don’t want a record of being “denied insurance”. I currently have a life policy that was in place prior to my diagnoses but would like to supplement that if possible….

David
David

Hi,
My wife is diagnosed with breast cancer, any kind of plan is available for her now?

Lani
Lani

I’m breast cancer survivor for almost 8 years. Stop medication after 5 years. 47 years old. Can I qualified for universal life ? What life insurance can I fit with my health situation . I’m also looking for insurance that will fit my budget.