The Life Insurance Agent as the Champion of Personal Wellness
Personal wellness is no longer the exclusive domain of doctors, nurses and nutritionists as this national conversation goes well beyond the four walls of a physician's office.
With so many chronic conditions impacting the cost of medical treatment, a different group of professionals is now part of this discussion. I refer, specifically, to life insurance agents (myself included) who advise clients with serious illnesses about the importance of getting coverage and the urgency of embracing a cleaner diet and exercise regimen.
Nowhere is this issue more critical, with regard to buying life insurance after a heart attack, than in the role experienced, independent life insurance agents must assume. . . for the good of their respective clients and the betterment of the economy as a whole.
As a teacher with a commitment to transparency—as someone who will always show an applicant the underwriting guidelines and likely outcomes concerning coverage for a person with heart disease—I want to inform the public about a pressing item.
This topic is important for several reasons, starting with the fact that, based on statistics gathered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is responsible for one out of every four deaths in the United States.
This year alone nearly 720,000 Americans will have a heart attack—heart disease accounts, separately, for 380,000 annual fatalities—of which 205,000 will have had their second (or third, or fourth) heart attack.
Since life insurance agents are so closely involved in this matter, as it can take up to six weeks or longer for an applicant to find out if he or she qualifies for coverage, we have a heightened awareness about this condition and the steps necessary to increase the likelihood a person can secure coverage.
The following three steps are part of an overall wellness campaign, which I encourage patients with heart disease to adopt.
1. Improve Your Health Before You Apply for Life Insurance
We need to end (or at least reduce) the dependency on reactive health care, particularly for people with heart disease, in favor of a proactive plan that patients can make their own.
Which is to say, instead of waiting to see a doctor until your condition has worsened—rather than continuing to eat unhealthy foods, never mind smoking or drinking—patients should have a balanced diet and fitness routine that, one, lowers the risk of a heart attack; and two, restores a much-needed sense of vitality to these individuals while also enabling them to possibly lessen their reliance on prescription medications.
Life insurance agents can accelerate this path to wellness by educating applicants about the underwriting process, meaning: Given the fact that insurers will review an applicant's medical history, and because a paramedical professional will have that applicant undergo a physical exam, it is in an applicant's financial self-interest to be as healthy as possible.
Directing applicants to certified health and wellness experts is, thus, a priority. These professionals can teach applicants how to lower their cholesterol, independent of long-term use of statins, by selecting "super foods" and organic fruits and vegetables, in lieu of the processed, microwavable meals that have large amounts of sodium, preservatives, additives and other chemicals.
2. Record Your Results and Maintain Your Healthy Lifestyle
The results from this dietary transformation, as well as this doctor-approved fitness schedule, should speak for themselves.
Maintaining the subsequent weight loss, decreased cholesterol and renewed strength associated with this behavior should be a top priority.
Life insurance agents can sustain this "wellness revolution" by reminding applicants of the financial benefits related to sustaining these results; they can underscore how these achievements increase the chances of getting coverage, thus protecting a person's family from a health calamity.
Education by way of reinforcement, repeatedly emphasizing the seriousness of this issue, is a powerful guide to better health.
3. Have a Heart for the Things that Matter Most
I would be remiss if I did not mention the value of compassion and decency on behalf of any individual trying to live a healthier life.
Our collective attention to detail, fueled by encouragement for each person who seizes the moment for better living, can make this revolution in health care a permanent reality.
With a heart for wellness, and with a heart for those battling heart disease, we can enjoy a multitude of rewards. WF
Brad Cummins is a distinguished life insurance professional, with considerable experience involving ways to quickly find and secure coverage for a variety of otherwise difficult to insure clients. In his role as Founder of Local Life Agents, Brad delivers the customized service that is a hallmark of his success and compassion. By empowering clients to choose the right life insurance policy, Brad provides these individuals with the peace of mind they deserve to guard against a potentially devastating tragedy. A graduate of Ohio State University, Brad and his wife and son reside in Columbus, OH.