Protection Products

Ask an Underwriter: Cervical Cancer


Know the impact on health and underwriting

Cervical cancer may be one of the most treatable and preventable cancers out there, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t worry about it. Education is important – not only for prevention and early detection, but also for underwriting. 

According to the National Cervical Cancer Coalition (NCCC), each year, an estimated 12,000 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and one-third will die as a result. So even though the overall risk of cervical cancer has declined over the last few decades, it’s still a serious issue. 

Causes of cervical cancer

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common infection known to cause cell changes on the cervix that can lead to cervical cancer. HPV is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the United States – so common, in fact, nearly all sexually active men and women will get it at some point in their lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control

Cervical cancer is preventable

Insuring Cervical Cancer

When it comes to insurance, your clients’ participation in regular Pap screenings not only helps reduce the risk of advanced cancer, it may also be viewed as a credit during the underwriting process. 

Earlier detection and successful treatment rates have also increased the insurability of individuals with a history of cervical cancer. Someone with a low-grade diagnosis can potentially secure a non-rated offer, and someone with a high-grade/early stage diagnosis could qualify for rated offers within a year, and possibly standard rates after three years. 

With so many variables involved – from the diagnosis/treatment details to carrier risk assessment – we’ve created a comprehensive questionnaire to assist you in your fact-finding efforts. 

No matter the situation, we encourage you to ask questions and get all the facts. Have a specific question? Check out the resources below or drop me a line and we'll be happy to help.


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About the Author

Dianne Leidigh has earned an unwavering reputation, among customers and constituents alike, as a respected partner and trusted resource. Through her personal commitment to continuous professional growth, she’s become an Associate of the Life Management Institute, Associate of Customer Service with LOMA, and an Associate of the Academy of Life Underwriting. As Dianne approaches her second decade in the brokerage life insurance industry, much of which dedicated to advocating risk, her passion for helping others, commitment to personal growth, and perseverance truly yield winning solutions!  


life insurance underwriting ask an underwriter cancer cervical cancer

The Best of Plans are SMART Plans


The best of plans may be laid to waste, poet Robert Burns taught us. But that shouldn't stop you from making them. Because while unfulfilled plans can cause regret, failing to make any plans could leave you even more remorseful.

Advisors are “planners," but how many of us actually have a formal business plan we develop, re-visit and actually follow? It doesn't have to be complicated. A plan starts with goals, so look at the year ahead (and beyond), and ask yourself:

  • What are my specialties and what kinds of clients can benefit from them?
  • What are my weaknesses and how can I address them?
  • Whom do I rely on for support and when do I need to call on them?
  • Taking the above into consideration, what are my long-term plans for my practice?
  • In order to meet my long-term goals, what are my objectives for the first quarter? And for the year ahead?

You've likely heard of the need for your goals to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely. Take a moment to write down your goals for the year (and beyond), and come up with a plan of action to reach them. Find a balance between hard and easy – between stepping out of your comfort zone and keeping things reasonable and attainable.

It's no different than creating plans for your clients. Your ability to plan for them is only as effective as your ability to plan for your own business. So, get started now. If you don’t have any goals, I can guarantee you’ll never reach them.


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“To a Mouse” by Robert Burns:


About the Author

With experience as a producer and carrier representative, Bobby Pesakoff is well versed in the variety of issues that an advisor is confronted with on a daily basis. As an Ash Brokerage RVP, he helps advisors grow their businesses, enhance their practices and serve their clients. His goal is to help financial professionals give their clients peace of mind as efficiently and conveniently as possible.

planning goals

Plants and Policies: A little care goes a long way



Editor’s Note: Because the need for regular insurance policy reviews never goes away, we decided to re-publish this post from 2015. When you’re done reading, be sure to water your plants – then go review your clients’ coverage. 


It’s that time of year again! Houseplant Appreciation Day (celebrated Jan. 10) is finally upon us. It’s hard to believe it’s already been a year since we last took the time to celebrate the bond between man and shrub.

Houseplants offer many benefits: They filter our air, look great and can even reduce stress. As we all know, constant time, attention and care are all required to successfully tend to our green friends. Many of us are more than up to the task. 

Why then, do we neglect to care for one of our clients’ most important financial instruments: their life insurance?

Most financial professionals agree that a client’s life insurance holding should be reviewed every couple of years, or after any major life event (marriage, birth of a child, new job, retirement, etc.) If your clients own any form of cash value life insurance, reviewing the coverage regularly is even more important. Unfortunately, this rarely happens. 

Maybe it’s lack of insurance knowledge that keeps us from contacting our clients. Maybe we want to avoid the image of the “salesman.” Maybe we don’t even know who to ask for help. Whatever the reason, our Life Insurance Portfolio Analysis (LIPA) team can help you care for your clients’ policies and keep them from “wilting.” 

The Ash LIPA team is a dedicated group of people who specialize in the review of in-force life insurance. With a signed authorization from the policy owner or trustee, and a couple other items, they can order information from the issuing insurance company to “stress test” the health and viability of any insurance policy. 

After the in-force policy performance has been reviewed, the team can look at the marketplace today and determine if there are any potential improvements to be made. The life insurance industry is a fluid marketplace; products are constantly changing and evolving, just as your houseplants are constantly growing!

All joking aside, as financial professionals, life insurance review is critical for our clients. The consequences of a poorly managed policy can be devastating.  

So, on this Houseplant Appreciation Day, as you take time to celebrate the indoor flora in your life (or not) at least remember this: Your clients’ policies are like your houseplants – they don’t require a lot of upkeep, but they do require regular attention if you want them to thrive. 

About the Author

As part of the LIPA team at Ash Brokerage, Scott Behrendsen’s goal is to not only ensure clients have the best possible protection, but to also present the planning strategies and concepts in a concise format that’s easy to understand. He’s been in the insurance industry for 10 years, working in annuities, broker-dealer operations, and health insurance before joining Ash Brokerage. He has an extensive background in life insurance case design and advanced strategies. He’s currently pursuing an MBA in marketing.


LIPA portfolio analysis policy review life insurance

Your First Client? Your Family.


I don’t know about you, but this is my favorite time of year. I love spending time with my family, partaking in our annual traditions of eating way too much and playing board games for hours. Every family has at least one tradition. Of course they vary from family to family, but what they all have in common is sharing love and time with the people you are closest to. 

With the holidays and the end of the year coming up, many of us will spend time reflecting. What could we have done differently? How can we grow personally or professionally? More importantly, what will we do in 2016? How can we impact more lives?

Well, have you thought about the impact you have on the people closest to you – your family? 

Many of us try hard to leave work at work. We enjoy our free time and try and not let the pressures of what is waiting for us back in the office get in the way. But sometimes, it might be OK to mix your work and your family. 

In our business, it’s all about making sure everyone is protected, in one way or another. So, your biggest client base should be your family! And what about your personal plans? Have you taken the steps to make sure the people you care for are protected no matter what happens? 

Put it in Practice

We spend countless hours, days, months or even years making sure clients are properly protected. Let’s be sure the people we love have their needs met, too. 

Meghan Cormany’s focus within the Disability Marketing team is to find available coverage for tricky medical cases. She has worked exclusively with Ash’s Disability Marketing Team for more than seven years, so she brings experience and knowledge of individual and business-related disability products and case design, along with medical underwriting with our carriers. 

Put Families First with Business Planning


In the Advanced Markets Department, we most commonly work on cases involving family owned businesses. A death is always hearbreaking for families, but the death of a small business owner can have an especially devastating impact. Without proper planning, there can be a lot of headaches and friction among relatives and business partners. 

Unfortunately, fewer than 30 percent of business owners have a written succession plan in place. A complete plan looks at many factors, both financial and personal, but at minimum, business owners need three things: 

  1. Buy-sell agreement – A written arrangement that directs what happens to the ownership of a business and how the business is valued for the purposes of the sale. Just like a will in estate planning, this document addresses the business owner’s wishes. With no documentation, the wishes may never come to reality. 

  2. Funding for the agreement – In order to have a buyout and successful transition of the business to the new owner(s), capital is needed. Life insurance is an obvious source of funds that are guaranteed to be there exactly when needed. 

  3. Regular reviews – Once a business owner has a documented buy-sell agreement and proper funding, it’s important to periodically review the agreement and funding mechanism. Priorities and objectives can change over time, and periodic reviews can ensure everything consistently reflects the owner’s current wishes. 

Put it in Practice

You could spare the families of your business owner clients a lot of heartache and headaches. Have you asked about their succession plans lately? Be sure they have the proper documents and funding – and be sure they’re up to date.  


As an advanced marketing consultant, Brian takes on complex business and estate planning cases. Prior to joining the Advanced Markets team at Ash Brokerage, he helped to develop, direct and staff its Life Insurance Portfolio Analysis (formerly known as Life Insurance Audit) program, taking it from an initial marketing concept to a profitable operational arm of the life insurance sales division.