A long term care insurance giant says it has been too careful.[@@]

The insurer, John Hancock Life Insurance Company, Boston, a unit of Manulife Financial Corp., Toronto, says it believes it has been too careful since 1999, when it began using a special cognitive test to evaluate applicants for susceptibility to Alzheimer’s disease and other causes of severe cognitive impairment

Only 0.008% of the applicants who passed the test went on to file LTC claims during the period studied, and Hancock has decided that it now can afford to approve applications from otherwise-qualified applicants who score in the lowest positive range but are not cognitively impaired, the company says.

The company also may offer coverage to otherwise-qualified applicants who suffer from 14 previously declined or postponed condition profiles, and it will allow applicants with hypertension treated with a dual-action medication to be considered at preferred rates, the company says.

Hancock also is reducing the recovery period for new onset diabetes to 6 months, from 12 months.