Diabetes is a syndrome characterized by high blood sugar in which there is not enough insulin being produced (Type 1) or the insulin that is produced is ineffective (Type 2).
Symptoms of diabetes include frequent urination, excessive thirst, extreme hunger, unusual weight loss, increased fatigue and blurry vision. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that in the U.S., diabetes affects over 18 million people or over 6% of the population. Of this group, a third are undiagnosed and insurance testing is a primary way of detecting it.
The diagnosis of diabetes is made based on the presence of elevated glucose with suggestive symptoms or an abnormal blood glucose test. Hemoglobin A1c is a test that is very useful in the underwriting of life insurance, and typically a concern once it reaches levels of 6.0 or greater.
The primary questions to be asked of a proposed insured that presents with this history are:
- Age of diagnosis? Prior to age 40 is typically referred to as juvenile onset.
- What was the latest A1C reading?
- Height and weight?
- How is it being treated? Insulin? Oral RX? Diet & exercise alone?
- What is the average fasting blood sugar readings?
- How often do you test?
- Any diabetes complications? (i.e., neuropathy, retinopathy)
Underwriting decisions for diabetes are very dependent on age of diagnosis and, of course, the level of control. Quite a few carriers are able to get to a Standard rating in the ideal situation with above readings, good compliance, and regular follow up with the doctor; but a Table 2-4 is typically what you'll be looking at for a starting point, in most instances.
Typically, there are height and weight issues, as well as hypertension concerns, and these will factor into the ratings as well.Download the Questionnaire