Underwriting Hepatitis C Clients: What You Need To Know
Many clients who have Hepatitis C are not impossible to place for life insurance, provided you present the underwriter with a case showing a history of treatment and good follow-up.
One circumstance that makes this type of risk so difficult for many to evaluate is the lack of prior knowledge of the hepatitis C virus (HCV). Many times, it is discovered at time of underwriting.
As with any other impairment revealed at time of underwriting, this discovery means there has been no treatment and no histology behind that treatment. Such records are among the strongest assessments that underwriters rely upon to make a fair offer for coverage, so their absence is problematic.
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Producers can help avoid the lack of prior knowledge situation by asking the right questions during the client interview.
Naturally, if the client mentions he or she had the disease, ask: How was the disease transmitted?
[Note: The most common ways are transmissions through intravenous drug use; blood transfusion prior to 1992 (before accurate drug screening was established); and inhaling cocaine through contaminated straws. Less commonly, the virus can be contracted through tattooing, body piercing and acupuncture.]
But the challenges come when the client doesnt mention the illness, or perhaps doesnt even know he or she has had it. (Such lack of personal knowledge is not uncommon today, because this virus is still relatively unknown and frequently, in the early stages, it displays no symptoms.)
This is where your careful questioning can be of critical assistance.
For instance, explore whether your client is harboring a hepatitis B co-infection. And check to see if the client has any other major health problems (cancer or diabetes, for example). These facts become an important part of what an underwriter looks for.
What about medicinal therapies? There are several to look for when you are interviewing a person who has hepatitis C.