The letter below was sent to me by David Runciman of Quality Underwriting Services, and provides some insight into how insurance companies look at people with the disease, and what effect it may have on underwriting. If you have any questions, or have run into problems with this diagnosis in the past, give us a call. Some companies are more lenient than others, and our advisors are experts at finding the right fit for your needs.
D is for Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease (yes disease, NOT a condition) in which the body cannot produce enough insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it does produce. This can lead to high levels of glucose (sugar) in the blood. If left untreated or uncontrolled, it may lead to heart disease, kidney disease, eye disease and nerve damage to name a few. And we wonder why an Underwriter has concern when a client is not compliant with their diabetic condition.
Type 1 Diabetes – occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce insulin. Type 1 diabetes used to be called insulin or juvenile diabetes, but that term can no longer be used because many people with Type 2 Diabetes and gestational diabetes mellitus may also require insulin. Most people diagnosed with this type are under 30 years of age.
Diabetes Canada stats state that 40% of those with Type 1, will develop kidney problems leading to kidney failure by the age of 50 years.
The exact cause of Type 1 diabetes is unknown, but a family history, a virus that injures the pancreas, and autoimmune processes are all thought to play a role. Type 1 diabetics may have more severe medical conditions sooner that other diabetics. This is why insurance companies tend to not insure or they rate these clients very high.
Type 2 Diabetes – occurs when the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or when the body does not effectively use the insulin. Adult-onset diabetes or on-insulin diabetes were the terms formerly used for Type 2. This type usually occurs in people over age 40; however, this type of the disease is being diagnosed in younger people, even teens. Many with Type 2 diabetes may display no symptoms. High risk groups are: Aboriginals, Hispanics, Asians and those of African descent. Being overweight (especially if you carry most of your weight around the middle) is considered high risk. The number of people with Type 2 diabetes in increasing dramatically, being linked to an aging population, obesity and a less active lifestyle.
Gestational Diabetes – is a temporary condition that occurs during pregnancy. Blood glucose levels usually return to normal following delivery. Both mother and child are at a higher risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later on in life.
When a paramedical is ordered a urine sample will always be gathered and tested with a chemical strip for sugar, blood and protein presence. The chemical strip changes colour if the findings are positive. A positive test for sugar in the urine may mean diabetes.
TRUE STORY: One of my client’s tested positive for sugar in the urine specimen. When I mentioned this to him he said, “Oh I just ate a chocolate bar. That’s why there is sugar in the urine”. I had to explain that it doesn’t work like that. One chocolate bar would not produce sugar in the urine that quickly.
If a positive sugar test comes back to underwriting, they may order a blood test called HGH A1C (Haemoglobin A1C). This gives them a profile of the client’s average blood glucose control for the past two to three months.
Most insurers take into account the type and SEVERITY of diabetes when considering applications. Other factors that may play a role in the issuing of a policy are the length of time since diagnosis, how well the disease is controlled and the presence or absence of complications.
Edmonton General Manager
Quality Underwriting Services