≡ Menu

Life Insurance, Organic Brain Syndrome, Frequently Asked Questions

In this article, we will delve into the complexities of obtaining life insurance with OBS, exploring the impact of the condition on the underwriting process and providing valuable insights to increase your chances of approval.

Understanding Organic Brain Syndrome (OBS)

 Organic Brain Syndrome refers to a range of conditions that lead to structural or functional damage in the brain, resulting in cognitive impairment. It is important to note that OBS is not a specific diagnosis but rather a descriptive term for various brain disorders. These disorders can be caused by factors such as traumatic brain injury, neurodegenerative diseases, infections, stroke, brain tumors, or substance abuse.

Causes of Organic Brain Syndrome:

The causes of OBS are diverse and can be attributed to several underlying factors. Some common causes include:

  • Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI): Severe head trauma resulting from accidents, falls, or sports-related injuries can lead to OBS.
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases: Conditions like Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and dementia can cause progressive cognitive decline.
  • Infections: Certain infections, such as meningitis, encephalitis, or HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders, can cause OBS.
  • Stroke: When a disruption in blood flow occurs in the brain, it can cause damage and result in OBS.
  • Brain Tumors: Tumors in the brain can interfere with normal brain function and lead to cognitive impairments.
  • Substance Abuse: Long-term substance abuse, particularly alcohol and drugs, can cause OBS.

Symptoms of Organic Brain Syndrome:

The symptoms of OBS can vary depending on the underlying cause and the specific areas of the brain affected. Common symptoms include:

  • Memory Loss: Difficulty remembering recent events, names, or conversations.
  • Cognitive Impairment: Challenges with problem-solving, attention, concentration, and decision-making.
  • Personality Changes: Shifts in behavior, mood swings, irritability, and aggression.
  • Confusion: Disorientation, difficulty understanding and following instructions, and problems with spatial awareness.
  • Language and Communication Problems: Trouble finding the right words, speaking fluently, or understanding others.
  • Motor Dysfunction: Coordination problems, muscle weakness, or tremors.

Treatments for Organic Brain Syndrome:

The treatment of OBS depends on the underlying cause and the specific symptoms experienced. While complete recovery may not always be possible, treatments aim to manage symptoms, slow down disease progression, and improve quality of life. Some common treatment approaches include:

  • Medications: Depending on the cause, medications may be prescribed to manage symptoms, such as cholinesterase inhibitors for Alzheimer’s disease or levodopa for Parkinson’s disease.
  • Cognitive Rehabilitation: Rehabilitation programs involving speech therapy, occupational therapy, and cognitive training can help individuals regain and enhance their cognitive abilities.
  • Supportive Care: Creating a supportive environment with routine, structure, and assistance from caregivers can significantly improve the daily functioning of individuals with OBS.
  • Symptom Management: Addressing specific symptoms, such as depression or anxiety, through counseling, psychotherapy, or medication, can improve overall well-being.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: Engaging in regular exercise, following a healthy diet, getting sufficient sleep, and participating in mentally stimulating activities can contribute to better brain health.

Impact on One’s Life Insurance Application

Applicants who have been diagnosed with Organic Brain Syndrome (OBS) may encounter difficulties when applying for traditional life insurance coverage. Insurance companies typically assess the risk associated with each applicant to determine their eligibility and premium rates.

Given the cognitive impairments and potential progression of OBS, insurers often perceive these individuals as high-risk applicants, leading to potential denials in most cases for traditional coverage.

Denial of Traditional Coverage:

Due to the nature of OBS and its potential impact on life expectancy, many insurance providers may choose to deny coverage to applicants with this condition. Traditional life insurance policies typically involve a comprehensive underwriting process that includes medical exams, medical history evaluations, and cognitive assessments. If an applicant’s OBS is deemed severe or progressive, insurers will typically decline coverage altogether.

Alternative Coverage Options

While traditional life insurance coverage may not be available to individuals with OBS, there are alternative products that can provide some form of financial protection. These options include:

Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance:

For individuals diagnosed with Organic Brain Syndrome (OBS), traditional life insurance policies may not be readily available due to the perceived high risk associated with the condition. However, one alternative option that can provide coverage is Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance. In this section, we will explore what Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance is, its key features, benefits, and considerations.

Benefits of Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance:

  • Accessibility: Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance ensures that individuals with OBS have access to life insurance coverage when traditional options may be limited or unavailable.
  • No Medical Underwriting: The absence of medical exams and health questions makes the application process straightforward and eliminates the need to disclose detailed medical information.
  • Peace of Mind: Having Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance in place provides peace of mind knowing that there will be financial assistance available to cover final expenses and alleviate the burden on loved ones.

Considerations for Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance:

  • Limited Coverage Amounts: It’s important to note that Guaranteed Issue policies generally offer lower coverage amounts compared to traditional life insurance policies. Individuals should carefully assess their coverage needs and ensure that the policy amount aligns with their financial goals.
  • Higher Premiums: Guaranteed Issue Life Insurance often comes with higher premiums due to the increased risk associated with insuring individuals with health conditions. It is important to evaluate the affordability of premiums and consider if the coverage and benefits outweigh the costs.
  • Waiting Periods: Some policies have waiting periods before the full death benefit is available. During this time, if the insured individual passes away, the benefit may be limited to a return of premiums paid or a percentage of the death benefit. It is crucial to understand the waiting period provisions before purchasing a policy.
  • Limited Coverage Options: Guaranteed Issue policies may have limitations on the types of coverage available. It is essential to review the policy terms, exclusions, and conditions to ensure it aligns with your specific needs.

Accidental Death Insurance:

Accidental Death Policies, also known as Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D) insurance, provide coverage in the event of death or dismemberment resulting from accidents. These policies focus on protecting against accidental causes rather than natural causes or illnesses. Accidental death benefits are typically paid as a lump sum to the beneficiary in the event of the insured individual’s accidental death.

Benefits of Accidental Death Policies:

  • Accessibility: Accidental Death Policies offer an alternative coverage option for individuals with OBS who may face challenges obtaining traditional life insurance due to their health condition.
  • Simplicity of Application: The application process for Accidental Death Policies is usually straightforward, as they do not require extensive medical underwriting. This can make it easier and quicker to obtain coverage.
  • Financial Protection for Accidental Events: Accidental Death Policies provide a financial safety net for beneficiaries in the event of the insured individual’s accidental death. The lump-sum benefit can help cover funeral expenses, outstanding debts, or provide financial support to loved ones.

Considerations for Accidental Death Policies:

  • Limited Coverage Scope: Accidental Death Policies only cover accidental causes of death, excluding natural causes or illnesses. It is important to assess whether the policy’s coverage aligns with your specific needs and consider additional coverage options if comprehensive protection is desired.
  • Policy Exclusions and Definitions: Accidental Death Policies have specific definitions and exclusions for what qualifies as an accidental cause of death. It is essential to review the policy terms and understand the circumstances under which the death benefit will be paid.
  • Limited Coverage Amounts: Accidental Death Policies typically offer lower coverage amounts compared to traditional life insurance policies. It is important to assess your financial needs and determine if the policy’s benefit amount is sufficient to meet your goals.
  • Supplementary Coverage: Since Accidental Death Policies only provide coverage for accidental death, it may be necessary to consider additional insurance policies or coverage options to address other aspects of financial protection, such as medical expenses and income replacement in the event of illness or non-accidental death. This could include health insurance, disability insurance, or traditional life insurance policies if available.
  • Pre-existing Conditions: While Accidental Death Policies do not typically require medical exams or health questions, it’s important to note that they may still have exclusions for pre-existing conditions. Therefore, if an accident occurs as a result of a pre-existing condition, it may not be covered by the policy.
  • Policy Limitations and Waiting Periods: Some Accidental Death Policies may have certain limitations and waiting periods before the full death benefit is available. It’s essential to review the policy terms and conditions to understand these limitations and ensure they align with your expectations.

Group Life Insurance:

Group Life Insurance is a policy that provides life insurance coverage to a group of individuals, such as employees of a company, members of an organization, or members of a professional association. The coverage is typically offered as a benefit by the group sponsor, often at a reduced cost compared to individual policies.

Benefits of Group Life Insurance:

  • Accessibility: Group Life Insurance offers individuals with OBS an accessible option for life insurance coverage that may be otherwise challenging to obtain through traditional individual policies.
  • Simplified Application Process: Group Life Insurance typically involves a simplified application or enrollment process, which can be beneficial for individuals with health conditions like OBS.
  • Cost-Effective Coverage: Group Life Insurance often provides coverage at lower premiums compared to individual policies due to the shared risk among the group members. This can make it a more affordable option for individuals with OBS.
  • Potential Additional Coverages: Some Group Life Insurance policies may offer additional coverages, such as accidental death and dismemberment benefits, as part of the package. These additional benefits can provide extra financial protection to individuals and their beneficiaries.

Considerations for Group Life Insurance:

  • Coverage Limitations: Group Life Insurance policies typically have limitations on coverage amounts, which may not meet the specific needs of individuals with OBS or their beneficiaries. It’s important to review the policy’s coverage limits and assess if additional coverage is necessary.
  • Dependency on Group Sponsor: Group Life Insurance coverage is dependent on the group sponsor, such as an employer. If an individual leaves the group or the employer changes insurance providers, the coverage may be affected. It’s important to understand the portability options, if available, to ensure continuous coverage.
  • Termination of Coverage: Group Life Insurance coverage may terminate if an individual leaves the group or employment. This can leave individuals with OBS vulnerable if they don’t have alternative coverage options in place. It’s essential to consider the need for additional coverage outside of the group policy.
  • Limited Customization: Group Life Insurance policies generally offer standardized coverage and may not provide the flexibility for customization found in individual


Obtaining life insurance with Organic Brain Syndrome requires thorough preparation, accurate documentation, and a deep understanding of the underwriting process. While the condition may pose challenges, it is not impossible to secure life insurance coverage. By proactively addressing the factors that insurers consider, working closely with healthcare professionals, and seeking guidance from experienced agents, you can enhance your prospects of obtaining the life insurance coverage you need to protect your loved ones’ financial well-being.