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prescription medicineTaking prescription medications has become so common that most of us may not give it a second thought. But if you’re applying for life insurance, you can be sure that the insurance company won’t have the same casual view. There are certain risks associated with the use of prescription medications that can affect if you can get approved for life insurance, and often at what rate.

Here are the reasons why…

Too Many Meds – Is Too Many Meds

These days, it is not at all unusual for people to be on multiple prescription medications. They might be taking one prescription to deal with a respiratory condition, two to deal with hypertension, one to deal with shoulder pain, and still another to deal with digestive issues.

While each of these medications may be justified on an individual basis, an insurance company will be concerned with the number of medications that an applicant is taking. The company could take the position that the different medications are each designed to treat a symptom of a greater but undiscovered underlying health condition.

In addition, some doctors – and their patients – seek out a prescription as a first and only solution to a given medical condition. But in many circumstances, lifestyle changes will be an even more effective remedy. An excessive number of medications could be an indication that you are relying primarily on prescriptions to improve your health, rather than being proactive in making necessary lifestyle changes.

Negative drug interactions are yet another concern. Though any single medication that you are taking may be completely safe by itself, drugs can sometimes interact with other medications that you are taking, and cause complications. If you have a long history of taking multiple medications, it may be just a question of time before such a negative interaction will occur. And while many of these problems can be cured simply by removing the offending medication, some interactions are so serious that they result in death.

Prescriptions Aren’t Being Monitored and Regularly Updated

Many people go on a prescription medication early in life, and then continue taking the medication forever. The problem with this type of regimen is that the effectiveness of a medication will change over time, due to age, changing health circumstances, advancement (or retraction) of the health condition, or even a change in weight or physical activity.

For these reasons, you must be closely monitored any time you’re on any type of prescription medications. Failure to do so could increase the chance that the medication itself will eventually become a problem.

Sometimes this is a result of a physician who does a whole lot more prescribing than un-prescribing. And sometimes it’s because patients have a way of getting the desired prescription, and then not coming back to the doctor on a regular basis.

Few prescription medications are ever an absolute cure-all. They must usually be taken in conjunction with other therapies, including lifestyle changes, in order to be completely effective. And that effectiveness can only be determined through constant monitoring.

It could well be that you are on one or more prescription medications that are now completely unnecessary. And if such is the case, the medication could be doing you more harm than good. A life insurance company will not overlook any of these factors.

Adverse Side Effects

If you spend much time watching TV, and seeing a the hundreds of commercials for prescription medications that come on every day, you’ve probably heard the long list of potential adverse side effects that can come from taking any one of them. Side effects on just about any medication run the gamut, from skin rashes and watering eyes, to cancer and death.

While you as a patient may ignore these potential side effects in hopes of being cured of your condition, a life insurance company does not have the same luxury. Since at least one of the adverse side effects of many, many prescription medications is death, the more medications that you are on, the greater the risk to the life insurance company will be.

Life insurance companies are also aware that use of certain prescription medications can even be the cause of a new illness or condition. This is why life insurance companies must consider not only the medications that you are on, but the combinations and their potential risks. Any one of them holds the potential to force a life insurance company to do the one thing that it doesn’t want to do, and that’s to pay a death claim.

Using Medications For Other Than the Recommended Purpose

Prescription of medications are sometimes used for purposes other than that which has been recommended by the manufacturer. For example, a person could be on a medication that treats digestive issues, when in fact they’re using it instead for weight control.

This is not entirely unusual since many prescription medications are reclassified for other purposes after the fact. But if you are using a drug for a purpose other than that which the manufacturer has created it for, the life insurance company could have an issue with it.

The life insurance company is very likely to give you a higher risk rating for the health condition that the medication is designed to treat. <em>It will not matter that you don’t actually have that condition, <strong>they will see the medication as evidence that you do.</strong></em> For this reason, you should be very careful about medications you are using, and the specific purposes that you are using them for.

Don’t Get Caught In THIS Trap

In an attempt to receive a better rating, and a lower premium, applicants for life insurance will often attempt to avoid disclosing certain health conditions, or the prescription medications they are taking in order to treat them. But you can be virtually certain that the insurance company will be able to determine any medications that you are taking, and then assume that you have the underlying condition that they are designed to treat.

The life insurance company only needs to do a prescription database search, and they will know what type of medications you’ve been taking in the past and when. That will represent the starting point for a deeper search into any type of health condition that you are attempting to avoid disclosing.

It’s far better that you fully disclose any medications that you are taking, as well as any medical conditions that you are or have been treated for in the past. Your life insurance agent is a professional (that would be me!), and will know the best ways to deal with whatever conditions that you have. Let him or her (or me) know exactly what’s going on, and then go with the recommendations as the best way to proceed in getting your life insurance policy for the best possible premium rate.

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There are all kinds of “ten best” lists, to rank the best of everything in the world. Though there are usually subjective factors that determine what any of us think about a life insurance company, Insure.com has put together a list of the 14 top life insurance companies in the US. Their ranking is based on the following criteria:

  • Customers who recommend (the company)
  • Customer service
  • Financial strength rating (according to A.M. Best)
  • Value for price

I’m going to put together my own Top 10 Life Insurance Companies list, but weigh the Insure.com criteria a bit differently. I’m going to base my list primarily on the “customers who recommend” ranking.

My thinking is that the willingness of existing customers to recommend a company to others is the single greatest statement on the quality of a life insurance company or any other business. It’s not that the other criteria don’t matter, but more about extrapolating the results that are most relevant to the average person.

As a rule, top ten lists for just about anything are really based on someone’s opinion.

It’s my opinion that people’s willingness to recommend a company is the most relevant factor in choosing a company – while always acknowledging the fact that not everyone will be happy with every company, even the 10 best.

So here’s the Life Insurance By Jeff Top 10 Life Insurance Companies in the US:

top 10 life insurance companies in the us

Top 10 Life Insurance Companies in the US (Infographics)

1. Jackson National

This life insurance company drew an incredible 88% of its customers who either have – or will – recommend the company to others. That speaks volumes about Jackson National. On customer service, it rated four and a half stars out of five.

On financial strength, it was rated A+ by A.M. Best, which makes it a pretty solid company. In the value for price category, Jackson National scored four and a half out of five stars.

There’s one other factor that will be of interest to anyone who’s looking for a life insurance policy, and that is premium rate. 66% of Jackson National’s customers chose the company because it offered the best rate.

2. New York Life

77% of New York Life’s customers either have, or will, recommend the company to others, which is the second highest rating in that category. Customer service gets four and a half out of five stars, and the company is rated A++ by A.M. Best.

In the value for price category, New York Life scored four and a half out of five stars. Only 23% of its customers chose the company because it offered the best rate. However, 28% cited the company’s reputation as a reason for purchasing life insurance from them.

3. State Farm

State Farm matched New York Life in the customers who recommend category, with 77 percent of its customers either have, or will recommend the company to others. The company gets four stars out of five for customer service, and an A++ rating from A.M. Best.

It draws four and a half stars out of five in the value for price criteria. Matching New York Life, 23% of State Farm’s customers chose the company because it offered the best price, while 28% cited the company’s reputation as a factor.

4. Northwestern Mutual

Northwestern Mutual matches New York Life and State Farm with 77% of its customers having recommended the company, or would be willing to recommend them to others. It gets four and a half stars out of five on customer service, and an A++ rating from A.M. Best.

In the value for price criteria, Northwestern Mutual has a perfect score – five stars out of five. 42% of its customer base felt that the company offered the best price for their life insurance. That’s second on this list, trailing only Jackson National.

5. John Hancock

John Hancock came in with 74 percent of its customers who either have or would recommend the company to others. They received four stars out of five on customer service, and an A+ rating from A.M. Best. In the value for price category, John Hancock scored four and a half out of five stars.

Only 17% of its customers indicated that the company offered the best price, but 32% listed the company’s reputation as a factor.

6. Transamerica

Similar to John Hancock, Transamerica rated 74% of its life insurance customers either having, or willing to recommend the company to others. It received four stars out of five in customer service, and an A+ rating from A.M. Best.

In the value for price category, they rated four stars out of five. Though only 21% of customers indicated that the company offers the best price, while 30% cited the company’s reputation as a deciding factor.

7. AXA Equitable

74% of AXA Equitable’s customers either have or would recommend the company to others. The company gets three and the half out of five stars for customer service, and four and a half stars out of five for value for price. A.M.

Best rates the company A+. 35% of customers said the company had the best price, the third highest rating in this category among the companies on this list. 25% cited the company’s reputation as deciding factor in their decision to purchase life insurance with them.

8. Prudential

73% of Prudential’s customers either have or would recommend the company to others. The A.M. Best rating is A+, and the company gets four and a half stars out of five for customer service.

It gets a perfect five stars out of five under value for price. 28% of the company’s customers cited the company’s reputation as a factor, while only 22% felt that Prudential offered the best price.

9. American General

American General either has, or would be recommended by 72% of its customer base – despite the company‘s somewhat obnoxious TV commercials :-) The company rates a perfect five stars out of five in customer service, but only three and a half stars out of five on value for price.

A.M. Best rates the company’s financial strength as an A. 33% of American General’s customers were swayed by the company’s reputation, while 29% felt that it offered the best price on their life insurance policy.

10. Lincoln General

Lincoln General either has been, or would be, recommended by 72% of its customers. The company has an A+ financial strength rating from A.M. Best.

The company gets four stars out of five for customer service, and four half stars out of five in the value for price category. 32% of its customers believe that it offered the best price on their life insurance policy, while 26% cited the company’s reputation.

The Next Ten

There are ten more companies I want to add to this list, companies that I’ve had good or excellent experience with in my own insurance business. A couple of them are on the Insure.com list, but most aren‘t.

11. MetLife

MetLife is on the Insure.com list. 68% of their life insurance customers either have or will recommend the company to others. The company has an A+ rating on financial strength from A.M. Best.

They get four stars out of five for customer service and four and a half out of five stars for value for price. 32% of customers cited the company’s reputation as a reason for buying from them.

12. Banner Life a.k.a., Legal & General

Do a general search on this company on the web, you’ll find it gets high marks from insurance agents everywhere. The company is actually based in the United Kingdom, but has a strong presence here in the US.

They offer a wide variety of innovative life insurance products at affordable rates, as well as policy conversion provisions that allow you to convert a term life insurance policy to a permanent universal life plan.

13. Protective

This company has been around since 1907 and operates in all 50 states. They also provide a full range of life insurance products, including term and universal life insurance, as well as annuities and various investment products.

14. SGLI

Administered by Prudential, Service Members Group Life Insurance – or SGLI – provides life insurance for members of the United States military, which includes all active duty and reserve personnel. It is supervised by the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA).

Premiums on life insurance coverage are set at 7 cents (that’s cents, not dollars) per month per $1,000 of coverage, and policies are available in increments of $50,000 up to a maximum of $400,000. That means that a $100,000 policy costs just $7 per month.

These price levels apply regardless of the members age. In addition, the policies provided specifically do not have a war clause exclusion, which means that, unlike other life insurance policies, the members beneficiaries can collect on the policy even if the member dies in combat.

15. Assurity Life Insurance Company

This company has been in existence since the 1890s and it does business in 49 states. The company is rated A- (excellent) by A.M. Best, and it provides both term and whole life policies, as well as universal life and annuities.

16. North American

This company traces its roots back to 1886, and is rated A+ by A.M. Best. The company has solid life insurance products and, in my experience, good customer service and reasonable pricing.

17. ING Life Insurance

ING also appears on the Insure.com list. 68% of INGs customers either have or would recommend the company to others, and the company rates four stars out of five for both customer service and value for price. 29% of the company’s customers cited price as a reason for choosing ING.

18. Mutual of Omaha

Mutual of Omaha is a well respected company that has been around for over 100 years. The company has all kinds of life insurance products available, and their prices are fairly reasonable.

19. Pacific Life

Pacific life was founded in 1868 and is probably the oldest company on this list. It is also a mutual insurance company, which means that if you’re policyholder you’re also part owner of the company, at least on whole life policies. This company is also well regarded by the public, it has the full range of life insurance products at reasonable rates.

20. Genworth

Genworth is a large, diversified financial services company that writes a lot of life insurance policies, but it isn’t exactly well-known among the general public. However, the company has been around since 1871 and now has more than $700 billion in life insurance in force. That many people can’t be wrong!

(Partial Data Source: http://www.insure.com/best-life-insurance-companies/)

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