SPRINGFIELD, Mass., Sept. 27, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) announced today it has made significant revisions to its life insurance underwriting guidelines for people who have battled breast cancer based on a review of recent medical research including changes to the official staging system for breast cancer.* The end result: more breast cancer survivors than ever before are likely to be eligible for life insurance coverage, and often with lower premiums.
Building on a long-standing commitment to helping people before, during and after a cancer diagnosis, MassMutual conducted a comprehensive review of its life insurance underwriting guidelines for invasive and noninvasive breast cancer and made a series of revisions that have resulted in more favorable ratings for many breast-cancer-survivor applicants.
"Ultimately, more breast cancer survivors are now eligible for life insurance, many at reduced premiums," said Valerie R. Kaufman, MD, vice president and chief medical director, MassMutual. "So many people who have battled cancer have told us they do not think they're eligible for insurance or they cannot afford it. As a company, we are proud to dispel this myth and help so many people."
Breast cancer stages and underwriting guideline changes
The established staging system for categorizing breast cancer is now more complex, with new "layers," or subtypes, added to some of the original four stages. MassMutual's risk-selection approach incorporates the latest scientific information, in particular the recognition of new clinical subtypes of invasive breast cancer. The company has also realigned its ratings for both noninvasive and invasive breast cancers.
"MassMutual is known for continually evaluating and updating its life insurance underwriting guidelines to reflect the benefits of the most up-to-date diagnostic and treatment advances," said Dr. Kaufman. "This round of updates is just one more example of our deep commitment to helping people protect themselves and those they care about."
Within the last year, MassMutual also updated its underwriting guidelines for people with a history of prostate cancer and kidney cancer.
A commitment to cancer awareness
This year marks the company's seventh consecutive year of its annual breast cancer awareness campaign.
In recognition of Breast Cancer Awareness Month since 2005, each time a financial professional affiliated with MassMutual conducts a "Pearls of Wisdom®" financial education seminar with 25 or more people in attendance, MassMutual will contribute $500 to $1,000 to a local cancer-related organization. Last year's seminars resulted in more than half of MassMutual's agencies conducting almost 100 sessions, reaching scores of women and their family members and friends while also resulting in more than $100,000 in donations.
In addition, MassMutual CEO and President Roger Crandall is a member of the CEOs against Cancer' program with the American Cancer Society. The company is also a recipient of the CEO Cancer Gold Standard™ accreditation, which recognizes MassMutual's commitment to reducing the risk of cancer for employees and their families by promoting healthy lifestyle choices, encouraging early detection through cancer screenings, and ensuring access to quality treatment.
Seeking peace of mind
"Although breast cancer is not unique to women, the prevalence is staggering and the toll on women is compounded by another contributor to sleepless nights – financial angst," said Tara Reynolds, corporate vice president, U.S. Insurance Group, MassMutual. According to a recent study commissioned by MassMutual with Kelton Research,** more women than men (77 vs. 68 percent) admit they are worried about the state of their finances and four in ten admit they agonize about their money daily.
The study also revealed that more women than men (35 percent vs. 26 percent) struggle to focus on the financial future of their family when they are so centered on their current situation. At the same time, the study showed that more women than men are at ease talking to their loved ones about debt (64 vs. 56 percent), insurance (63 vs. 49 percent), and investments (54 vs. 45 percent).
"Sometimes it's the little things that make a big difference," said Ms. Reynolds. "We can all try to control what we can control, and carving out just a bit of time for financial planning with a trusted professional can help create better peace of mind, no matter what the future holds in store for us."
Founded in 1851, MassMutual is a leading mutual life insurance company that is run for the benefit of its members and participating policyholders. The company has a long history of financial strength and strong performance, and although dividends are not guaranteed, MassMutual has paid dividends to eligible participating policyholders every year since the 1860s. With whole life insurance as its foundation, MassMutual provides products to help meet the financial needs of clients, such as life insurance, disability income insurance, long term care insurance, retirement/401(k) plan services, and annuities. In addition, the company's strong and growing network of financial professionals helps clients make good financial decisions for the long-term.
MassMutual Financial Group is a marketing name for Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and its affiliated companies and sales representatives. MassMutual is headquartered in Springfield, Massachusetts and its major affiliates include: Babson Capital Management LLC; Baring Asset Management Limited; Cornerstone Real Estate Advisers LLC; The First Mercantile Trust Company; MassMutual International LLC; MML Investors Services, LLC, Member FINRA and SIPC; OppenheimerFunds, Inc.; and The MassMutual Trust Company, FSB.
*Information on official stages of breast cancer is available on www.breastcancer.org.
**The MassMutual Financial Decision Tracker Study was conducted in October 2010. Quotas were set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population of ages 18 and older from a total pool of 1,017 respondents.