I had a really interesting experience lately — one that I think warrants mentioning not because of what actually happened, but because of the lessons learned from it.
I started the process of attempting to get life insurance way back in November, and while I knew there was potential for it to be a slight uphill climb with some of my challenges, I was assured by the agent that it could be done.
Well needless to say, just a few days ago I got the letter declining me and thanking me for my attempt. While I appreciate everyone’s right to do business with whomever they choose, I did not appreciate that this letter made it fairly clear that whomever had been the reviewer of my information didn’t really review it much at all. The reasons for denial were sweeping brushstrokes of topics that *could* disqualify me yet really didn’t seem to tie to myself and situation at all.
In a slight fury over their seeming misinterpretation of what it meant to live life as me and to better understand by what they meant by “brain disease” and to make sure that they didn’t read something I never knew was in there aka “oh my God is something else wrong with me that I never knew of because who requests their medical records on the regular” I called the underwriter. He had always been kind, transparent, and forthcoming in all our dealings. I doubted that he had put me through this two month process in some nefarious attempt to view my medical records and share it with my home owners insurance agents (they are all working under the same umbrella of a national insurance company). Let’s be honest though, that thought did form in my mind though after how sideways this whole circumstance had gone.
I brought up to my agent how I had received the letter and that I was disappointed at the denial and especially concerned with the reasonings given that seem to indicate an uninformed underwriter. I explained that the conditions listed had all sorts of degrees of variation and that this also had no impact on my lifespan in my own understanding. That the phrasing of other factors with an “s” made one incident sound like many when in fact there was only one incident. He assured me that he would do some due diligence and return to me with explanation of their thought process. He too was curious how the denial had happened.
It took less than two hours for him to get back to me. True to his word, he returned with a call to say that upon his call, the underwriter had “reconsidered” and decided that they could in fact extend me coverage even with no additional information provided by me. While good news for me, I was more saddened about what he had uncovered and the damage that they may have done to others in their haphazard denials because they did not feel like reading the file the day it landed on their desk. I am sure I am not the only one to suffer under their swift pen and snap decisions.
Because of a lazy underwriter, someone has to check the box that says they have been denied before for life insurance. Because of a lazy underwriter, someone is draining their savings to pay for a funeral or pay off debt of someone they loved. Because of a lazy underwriter, someone is staggering to figure out how to make the house payment or create a life for their children without their partner. Because of a lazy underwriter, someone is unable to mourn properly because they just have to figure out how not to drown under the weight of the debt and a new reality. That is completely heartbreaking.
And in that moment, after my wits returned, I was able to discuss with the agent my thoughts. How I thought it was completely unfair that someone – although perhaps unaware -could completely alter the path of someone else’s life and the “someone’s” lives commingled with theirs.
I was also grateful to the Universe that it again showed me the damage that assumption and generalizations make, warning me to check how I might use them in my own life. That my mother raised me to be articulate and kind, yet firey in seeking fairness. That I finally have found my voice to speak up for those things that matter. In that speaking, I can speak for those that are afraid or can’t. That I c can help others and hopefully make someone think twice…or even just think.