to contract prostate cancer in their lifetime and this year alone
186,000 men will be diagnosed with the disease, according to US
insurer The Hartford. For most of these men, 90 percent of whom are
at least 55 years old, this has made obtaining life insurance
extremely expensive or even either impossible.
The Hartford believes this is an unduly harsh approach by
insurers and has announced that it has become the first US insurer
to offer life insurance at standard rates to men who have been
successfully treated with radiation for moderate levels of prostate
“We identified prostate cancer as a disease that has become far
more treatable in recent years and concluded that we can begin
offering life insurance to more men who want it,” explained Brian
Murphy, executive vice-president and director of The Hartford’s
individual life division.
Underscoring his view the US National Cancer Institute reports that
as a result of early detection and improved treatment options, 93
percent of men diagnosed with prostate cancer today will live at
least ten years compared with just 50 percent in the 1980s.
Under The Hartford’s new underwriting guidelines, standard rates
are available to men 70 and older who have been treated with
radiation for moderately aggressive prostate cancer. The cancer
must be confined to the prostate and the man must have a strong
prognosis for survival based on the level of a prostate-specific
antigen after treatment.
Standard rates are the same as those offered by the insurer to most
healthy men of the same age.
For example, according to The Hartford, a 70-year-old non-smoking
man living in Connecticut who meets the guidelines could pay a
premium of $17,016 annually to purchase a universal life policy
with a $500,000 death benefit. Premiums would be payable for 30
years, and the policy would provide a lifetime no-lapse
The potential annual saving is $5,000 compared with a policy
written under The Hartford’s old guidelines for prostate cancer
In addition, a policy can be applied for immediately after
undergoing a favourable post-treatment examination by a physician,
eliminating the need to wait for several years to become eligible
for coverage, as was previously the insurer’s approach.
The Hartford’s decision to improve cover options for post-prostate
cancer sufferers follows similar moves in what it terms a holistic
approach to recognising the improving prognosis for both men and
woman diagnosed and treated for common cancers.
The move in this direction came in 2005 when The Hartford became
the first US insurer to offer life insurance at standard rates to
women age 40 and older who had been treated for early-stage breast
cancer. In 2006 The Hartford followed this by becoming the first US
insurer to offer life insurance to men 60 and older who had been
successfully treated for moderate prostate cancer and that had been