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First Tech Routing #321180379

Member story: Life insurance and fortunate timing


Parents playing with their child


Like many of us, First Tech member Antoine Atallah didn’t think much about life insurance while he was young and healthy. He only began looking into life insurance plans because he was anticipating the birth of his child and a move to a bigger house.

Although he didn’t know it then, his timing was fortunate.

“Before the house and before the baby, we were young and stupid and we didn’t think about it,” Antoine joked. “But we had a lot of expenses coming—kids are expensive!”

He had been living with his wife in a condominium in Bellevue, WA, but when they set their sights on a bigger home and a bigger family together, Antoine figured he needed to explore life insurance coverage. With the help of First Tech Insurance Agent Sara Bruce-Sehlin, Antoine applied for both term and whole life insurance—which each carried their own benefits.

“Sara helped me the whole way and she did great,” Antoine said. “We had a lower amount in mind but she set us up with the best policies. She was right even though I wasn’t sure.”

A month after closing on his new house—and as his insurance policy appeared settled—Antoine thought he was in the clear. He had completed all of his paperwork and medical exams, and his life insurance policy was bound and in the underwriting process.

Then came the car accident.

While on the way to buy a new microwave for their house, Antoine briefly lost consciousness while driving his car and ran off the road. The episode was oddly out of character for a man who was otherwise healthy and had no prior conditions. It left him with head and neck pain.  

He visited a doctor to treat his head and neck issues when the doctors discovered something more serious. Antoine had a brain tumor.

At that point, everything was up in the air. Antoine was facing life-threatening brain surgery, and was still without confirmation of his life insurance plans—which were under review. Given that his application stated he had no knowledge of any health concerns, the discovery of a brain tumor had the potential to change everything. Sara Bruce-Sehlin went the extra mile to ensure that Antoine received coverage.

“We fought really hard to make sure it went through, and it did,” she said. “We contacted the life insurance companies and notified them of the new findings. It took some long letters and calls, and providing proof of no knowledge of his health condition.”

In the end, Antoine had successful surgery to remove the tumor, and was accepted for his term life insurance policy as written—but was declined for his permanent policy request.

“Had he waited until after the accident to begin the insurance process, he would be ineligible for life insurance,” Sara explained.

“It’s one of the reasons why you should buy life insurance early—it’s not necessarily a question of need at the time, it’s a question of eligibility,” she continued. “It’s also why I’m always concerned when people rely on their employer provided life insurance as their only life insurance option. When you leave your company, you leave the life insurance, and then you have to apply for new coverage with a new company when you’re older and with possible health or medical issues.”

Antoine now lives a happy and healthy life with his family in the Seattle area. With a new perspective, he appreciates the impact of having a life insurance plan in place.

“It’s all about risk management. Someone will have to pay that bill if something bad happens to you,” he said. “If you don’t want to be a problem or burden to anyone, it’s worth having it.”

First Tech Insurance Services is here to help you protect the people and things that matter most to you. Learn more about First Tech Insurance Services, or speak with an agent for help finding the insurance coverage that best fits your unique scenario.