Rina* came to AboveBoard looking to get coverage for her husband, Josh, shortly after the birth of their second child.
*Note: All names, professions, and other personally identifying details have been changed to protect our clients’ identities.
The Client and Their Goals
Josh, 37, is a litigation attorney at a well-established, mid-sized law firm. He’s an engaged dad and active contributor to his community; a profile that should make any parent (or parent-in-law) proud.
Rina and Josh wanted to ensure that their young children would have the opportunity to live the life they dreamed of for them, even if the unthinkable happened and one or both parents were lost too soon.
But Josh’s path to his current life situation had some “detours”, some incidents that were perhaps not the proudest moments.
Josh was otherwise a very strong candidate for a Preferred rating for life insurance (think “2nd-best pricing”), with a chance at Preferred Best (best pricing) - he has mild asthma and had quit smoking and marijuana usage quite a while ago; he had a shot at some carriers’ Preferred Best rating.
But then there were the three guilty pleas to contend with. While “three guilty pleas” does not sound great, we recognize that the surface-level is often not the whole picture. So we asked to hear the stories behind the guilty pleas.
They boiled down to “groups of rowdy 20-something guys driving around in cars that had bongs inside”. This became a problem when they were pulled over for (pretty modest) speeding. Josh’s 37 year old self was not at all confused as to why the officers had chosen to search the cars - in Josh’s words, “we looked like a bunch of kids up to no good”.
While these youthful indiscretions were unrelated to the grown-up Josh had become, we didn't want to take the risk that they would result in a painful, lengthy process, or worse, denied or unnecessarily expensive coverage. We assessed that these misdemeanors would not be deal-breakers at the carrier we had in mind if we could put them in the proper light.
The Proposed Solution
We decided to proactively write a letter accompanying his application. We highlighted his accomplishments and family- & community-minded adult life. We were honest and descriptive about what had happened in his twenties. We felt good about Josh’s chances.
The Second (Totally Unexpected) Problem
Then the case took a turn: Josh’s blood pressure readings at his paramedical exam came back a little too high for Preferred. The insurance company was willing to offer Standard Plus (think “3rd-best” pricing).
Josh had applied for $3 million of coverage. The $300 / month offered was much more than the $179 / month we were applying for.
We reviewed Josh’s medical history - it seemed the paramedical exam readings were unusually high for Josh, maybe the exam had fallen on a higher-stress day. We followed up with the insurance company and asked what Josh could provide to be considered for better pricing.
The insurance company told us: if Josh can produce 4 additional blood pressure readings at lower levels, taken by his doctor, that would re-open consideration for Josh.
Josh made an appointment. The readings came back at the levels that looked quite good.
We waited to hear how the insurance company would view the combination of a few high blood pressure readings, and criminal history we had done our best to present thoughtfully.
The insurance company did their own research, too - including a criminal records check beyond the typical procedures.
Josh was offered Preferred Best pricing! His premiums came in at the $179 / month we’d been going for, a 40% savings from where he could have ended up if we had not tirelessly advocated for him!
He happily accepted the $3 million of coverage he had applied for and checked getting life insurance off his to do list!
Why We’re Proud of This Client Story
It’s important to share that by cutting Josh’s premiums by 40%, we also cut our own revenue. It also took a lot more time and effort than if we had taken an approach that’s all too common: not advocating for your client.
We could have not bothered with the letter (“sorry, criminal histories can be a problem for life insurance”) or hidden behind the paramedical exam results (“sorry, this happens sometimes”). We did not do that.
I experienced “sorry, it’s going to be more expensive, nothing we can do” treatment when I was shopping for life insurance myself year ago. It sucks.
I knew that any company of mine had to be different.
And we succeeded - AboveBoard served as Josh's smart & hard-working client-first advocate!
We believe doing the right thing is the right long-term strategy for our clients and for AboveBoard.
AboveBoard Insurance Services LLC is a licensed insurance broker and a wholly owned subsidiary of AboveBoard Financial Inc. The quotes referenced in this article and all our “Client Stories” are for illustrative and educational purposes. They are reasonably accurate and directionally correct, but we’ve rounded the numbers to make for easier reading (for example, a number like $5,048.37 becomes ~$5,000, 42.6% becomes ~40%, etc.). As noted above, we have also changed any personal details that could be used to identify the actual clients, including names, professions, exact family structure, etc. So if you read this and thought, “I think I know them”...you definitely don’t. Our adjusted identities just happen to sound like someone else.