MassMutual makes it easier for breast cancer survivors to get life insurance

By Maryalene LaPonsie on October 10th, 2011

A cancer diagnosis can signal the end of life insurance eligibility. Risk-adverse insurance companies often decline to provide either term life or whole life coverage to patients diagnosed with the disease. Those who are able to find a policy may be quoted life insurance rates that put coverage out of reach.

However, recent changes announced by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) seek to make affordable life insurance available to breast cancer survivors.

Underwriting changes that benefit breast cancer survivors

The underwriting changes at MassMutual reflect medical research and a new official staging system used in the diagnosis of breast cancer. According to the insurer, its new guidelines will mean more breast cancer survivors will be eligible for coverage at lower life insurance rates.

"Ultimately, more breast cancer survivors are now eligible for life insurance, many at reduced premiums," said Dr. Valerie R. Kaufman, vice president and chief medical director of MassMutual.

The changes to the underwriting guidelines for breast cancer survivors follow similar updates made within the last year to the guidelines for policyholders with a history of prostate or kidney cancer.

"MassMutual is known for continually evaluating and updating its life insurance underwriting guidelines to reflect the benefits of the most up-to-date diagnostic and treatment advances," said Kaufman. "This round of updates is just one more example of our deep commitment to helping people protect themselves and those they care about."

Life insurance agents pay renewed attention to company finances

In other life insurance news, a study by industry group LIMRA indicates life insurance producers - more commonly known as agents - are increasingly concerned with the financial strength of insurance companies.

In 2003 and 2008, only 16 percent of producers considered a company's financial strength as one of the two most important factors when deciding where to place their life insurance business. However, by 2011, that number had jumped to 26 percent.

While financial strength is an issue of concern for producers, it is still overshadowed by other considerations, according to many of those surveyed by LIMRA. Producers cited the following factors as most important:

  • Competitive product line: 40 percent
  • Technological support: 20 percent
  • Point-of-sale support: 17 percent
  • Business development support: 16 percent
  • Operational support: 15 percent

In addition, more than half of producers working with independent intermediaries say they prefer to work with local firms with whom they could develop a personal relationship.

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