Great Western Life Insurance Final Expense Review [For Agents Only]

Are you a final expense agent interested in adding Great Western Life Insurance (GW) to your final expense insurance carriers line-up?

Do you want a “No BS” overview on Great Western’s final expense product from a field-tested agent?

If so, you have found the right article!

I’ll be discussing at length how Great Western Life Insurance’s final expense product stacks up, why final expense agents should consider it, and give you my opinion on its pros and cons as a producing agent selling final expense.

NOTE: If you are a consumer looking for information on buying a Great Western Life Insurance final expense plan, you can learn more about the company and product here.

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Overview Of Great Western’s Final Expense Product

Application Type: Paper or Electronic Application
Agent Support Hotline: (866) 252-5594
Point Of Sale Interview? No, but GW may call your client to clarify any underwriting questions they may have.
State Availability: Available in all states EXCEPT Alaska, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, Delaware, New York, and Vermont
Paper Application Submission: Email application to [email protected] or fax (515) 247-2500.
Average Policy Issue Turnaround Time: 24-48 hours.
Commission Payout: On issue
Can You Sell Over The Phone? Yes using e-app or mailing paper application.
Advancing Available? Yes – 6 months advance for those that qualify with a $500 advance cap – remaining commission paid as-earned.
How Far In Advance Can The First Draft Be? 45 Days
Frequency Of Commission Payout: Daily, Weekly, or Bi-Weekly
Pays Commission On Policy Fee? Yes
Chargebacks On Death: If client dies within first 9 months of issuance for both the Level and Guaranteed Issue plan, or suicide within the first 2 years of issuance.
Chargebacks On Lapses: 100% chargeback if the policy lapses, is cancelled, or surrendered by the client within the first three months of coverage.
Underwriting Overview: MIB and Rx check
Underwriting Guide: Download here – Also download this updated underwriting guide here per U/W changes made 5/1/2020.
Requires E&O? No
Acceptable Payment Methods? Bank account, Direct Express, or Debit/Credit Card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover, and American Express). To use debit/credit card payments, you *must* use the e-app process.
Face Amount Issue Limits:

Assurance Plus (level) & Guaranteed Assurance (guaranteed issue)

  • Issue Ages 40-80: $1,000 to $40,000
  • WA: $5,000-$40,000 for Assurance Plus; Guaranteed Assurance is *not* available.

Available Riders: Accelerated death benefit rider included on all Assurance Plus policies – Child/Grandchild rider for $1/month.
Cover Foreign Nationals? US Citizens and Permanent Residents only
Height-Weight Chart? No height-weight chart
Sample Final Expense Application: Download here
Rate Guide: Download here
Prescription/Rx Guide: Refer to the Agent Guide here
Underwriting Advantages:

  • No height-weight chart!
  • No tobacco ratings!
  • Advancing on policy issue
  • Takes ALL forms of payment (except monthly direct bill)
  • Does NOT require errors and omissions.
  • Two year look backs on major conditions like cancer, cardiac events.
  • Diabetic neuropathy with *no* insulin considered for level coverage.
  • Agent-friendly terms on Guaranteed Assurance charge back policy

Great Western Final Expense Product Health Questions

What follows below is a list of Great Western’s final expense product’s health-qualifying questions your prospect will need to answer in order to potentially qualify for coverage.

To review the application health questions for yourself, you can download a sample final expense application here.

Guaranteed Assurance

Guaranteed Assurance is Great Western’s guaranteed acceptance final expense product.

Your client can answer all the health questions below “yes” and still be considered for the Guaranteed Assurance product, as long as your client is not incarcerated, has ties to terrorism, money laundering, or other illegal activities.

With Great Western’s Guaranteed Assurance coverage, your client receives 110% of the premiums paid in if death occurs from natural causes within the first 2 years of the policy.

After 2 years, the policy pays the full death benefit for natural causes. At any point your client passes away from accidental death, the policy pays full benefits.

Guaranteed Assurance is extremely useful if you commonly run into tough-to-underwrite health conditions in the field.

As a final expense producer, I have used Great Western for years for my clients needing guaranteed issue coverage.

The client’s health condition doesn’t matter; everyone is approved.

Assurance Plus Health Questions

In order to be considered for the Assurance Plus level plan, your client must answer all the questions below with a “no.”

If your client qualifies for the Assurance Plus plan, Great Western increases the death benefit 125% from day 1.

This means if you applied for a $10,000 plan, your client’s actual death benefit is $12,500.

1) In the last two years, has the applicant been a patient in hospice, a hospital, or a nursing home for five or more days?

2) Is the applicant unable to independently perform routine activities such as bathing, dressing, eating, toileting, or transferring to or from a bed or chair?

3) In the last two years, has the applicant been diagnosed with, been prescribed medication for or treated by a healthcare provider for any of the following diseases: Cancer (other than basal cell carcinoma), Tumor, Insulin-Dependent Diabetes, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome-Related Complex (ARC), or any Disorder of the Blood, Kidney, Lung, Brain, Heart, Circulatory System, or Liver? For Prescriptions: Please do not mark “Yes” if the prescription(s) is a maintenance medication and has remained the same (or the generic equivalent) at the same or at a decreased dosage for the past two years. For Treatment: Please do not mark “Yes” if your visit(s) with your healthcare provider in the last two years was a routine review of your maintenance medication and no additional treatment was given or diagnosis was made during your visit(s).

Understanding The Level Benefit’s Health Questions More Clearly

While one of Great Western’s final expense product benefits is its relatively shorter look-back period, I want to ensure you further understand how Underwriting looks at “treatment,” and how prescriptions are treated, either as “treatment” or “maintenance medications.”

Defining “Treatment”

Applicants are required to select “Yes” on the application if the proposed insured has consulted or received any treatment for any Disqualifying Condition in the last two years (scroll down a few paragraphs to see the entire list).

However, applicants are not required to select “Yes” if all visits to a health care provider in the last two years were a routine review of proposed insured’s maintenance medication or treatment.

A visit is considered a routine review of the proposed insured’s maintenance medication or treatment if no additional medication was prescribed, no dosage or frequency for any existing medication was increased, no new diagnosis was given, and no additional testing or treatment was provided or recommended.

If the proposed insured has undergone any exams beyond those of a routine visit, they must answer “Yes.”

Defining “Maintenance Medication”

A maintenance medication is eligible for the Maintenance Medication Exemption if it has remained the same (or the generic equivalent), at the same dosage and frequency over the past two years.

While this potentially provides more level coverage opportunities, Great Western has a list of automatic disqualifying conditions, even if the client can meet the Maintenance Medication Exemption.

The only option available if the client has any of the conditions below is the Guaranteed Assurance product:

Disqualifying Condition List

The following conditions are disqualified for the Assurance Plus level product and only qualify for the Guaranteed Assurance product if the proposed insured is diagnosed, consulted, evaluated, or treated within the last two years for:

• Cancer (other than basal cell carcinoma)
• Tumor (ex: pituitary; adrenal; kidney)
• Insulin dependent diabetes
• HIV (human immunodeficiency virus); AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) or ARC (acquired immune deficiency syndrome related complex) – State regulations may apply, refer to specific wording on your application if applicable
• Blood disorders (ex: anemias; hemophilia; lymphoma)
• Kidney disorders (ex: nephritis; renal failure)
• Lung disorders (ex: COPD; emphysema; pulmonary embolism/blood clot; chronic bronchitis)
• Brain disorders (ex: Alzheimer’s; stroke; Parkinson’s; bipolar disorder)
• Heart disorders (ex: angina; hypertension; congestive heart failure; coronary artery disease)
• Circulatory system disorders (ex: aneurysm; thrombosis/blood clot; peripheral vascular disease)
• Liver disorders (ex: cirrhosis; hepatitis)
• Terminal illness (disease that cannot be cured or adequately treated and is reasonably expected to result in death)

Great Western Rate Chart

Download the Great Western final expense rate chart here.

Remember that Great Western does NOT have smoker rates; everyone is rated by sex alone.

Also note that the charts below are ONLY for the Guaranteed Assurance, guaranteed-issue product.

Please use the rate chart linked above to calculate Assurance Plus coverage rates, or simply multiply the corresponding face amount by 125% to arrive at the Assurance Plus death benefit.

Male Rates, Guaranteed Assurance

Age$5,000$10,000$15,000$20,000$25,000
40$26.25$49.48$72.92$96.25$119.58
45$29.17$55.42$81.67$107.92$134.17
50$31.25$59.58$87.92$116.25$144.58
55$33.75$64.58$95.42$126.25$157.08
60$39.17$75.42$111.67$147.92$184.17
65$47.50$92.08$136.67$181.25$225.83
70$61.25$119.58$177.92$236.25$294.58
75$80.83$158.75$236.67$314.58$392.50
80$115.42$227.92$340.42$452.92$565.42

Female Rates, Guaranteed Assurance

Age$5,000$10,000$15,000$20,000$25,000
40$21.67$40.42$59.17$77.92$96.67
45$24.58$46.25$67.92$89.58$111.25
50$26.25$49.58$72.92$96.25$119.58
55$29.58$56.25$82.92$109.58$136.25
60$34.58$66.25$97.92$129.58$161.25
65$41.67$80.42$119.17$157.92$196.67
70$52.50$102.08$151.67$201.25$250.83
75$70.83$138.75$206.67$274.58$342.50
80$96.67$190.42$284.17$377.92$471.67

My Thoughts On Using Great Western Life Insurance With Final Expense Prospects

As a final expense producer since 2011, I am always on the lookout for easy-to-use carriers with substantial underwriting advantages.

And the good news is Great Western’s Guaranteed Assurance product is one of the easiest-to-use guaranteed issue carriers available.

Here’s why I recommend agents use it as your primary guaranteed issue product:

  • Simple to use with an e-app or paper application
  • Takes all forms of payments, debit/credit, Direct Express, and checking/savings account drafts.
  • Generous protections against charge back risks due to death. After 9 months, you are protected against charge backs if the client dies, whether or not the death is contestable.
  • This is the ONLY guaranteed issue carrier available that does NOT require errors and omissions.
  • Covers tough guaranteed issue ages of 40 to 49. Most start at age 50.
  • Covers in the $1000 to $5000 coverage range which other guaranteed issue carriers do not.

All in all, Great Western’s Guaranteed Assurance product is a solid addition to any agent’s tool bag of final expense carriers.

Drawbacks

While there are certain underwriting conditions Great Western will take with its maintenance medication definition, I worry about writing the Assurance Plus level plan on those clients who are seeking first-day full coverage.

The reason is simple. In my experience, our market of mostly senior citizens can be forgetful.

Odds are high many will not recount if there have been any prescription adjustments within the past 2 years.

And since there is no point of sale interview option, it takes you submitting the application and waiting for Underwriting to make a decision, which may turn out only qualifying for the Guaranteed Assurance product.

With that said, the Assurance Plus product does come in handy when there are height-weight concerns, the client smokes, or if you have a younger final expense applicant between 40 and 49 years old.

Want To Sell Great Western’s Final Expense Product?

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We have access to all sorts of benefits for final expense agents, including:

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  • Weekly sales training calls with David, ride-along training opportunities with David and his team, and direct phone/text access to David when you have case placement and sales questions (yes, David answers his own phone =).
  • Additional training and support for agents interested in cross-selling Medicare Advantage, annuities, or growing their own insurance agency.

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