Preparing clients for the underwriting process

Preparing clients for the underwriting process will help you avoid the “it’s not done yet” speech.

Underwriting has always been a hurdle to jump over when applying for life insurance. With new regulations imposed on insurance companies, home office underwriters take a conservative approach in properly evaluating your client’s medical history.  This not only creates delays but may also require you to keep contacting the client with more questions or asking them to complete more questionnaires.

Properly preparing clients for the underwriting process will help you avoid the “it’s not done yet” speech. This, in turn, will help you avoid common pitfalls that can unravel a case and cause the client to lose confidence in you.  To prepare clients, you should understand how an underwriter will review an application and medical records.

The first thing an underwriter will do is check that all the health questions on the application and exam match. It is important your clients complete both sets of questions exactly the same; when they don’t match up underwriters get suspicious.  Once the exam and application are reviewed, the underwriter will request all medical records. They start with the most recent records and work their way back. They follow this procedure to avoid pre-judgment, which helps prevent table ratings. When underwriters encounter health issues, they review all records associated the condition. If the applicant saw a specialist, underwriters will request those records if needed. Once all records have been reviewed you will receive an offer based on the insured’s health.

After preparing your client for what to expect at the exam, be sure to share the following with them about the underwriting process:

  • Underwriting normally takes 30 to 60 days. Medical records on average are 70 to 85 pages. Doctor’s offices usually take 15 business days to send your records to the underwriter.
  • Applicants can speed up this process by informing their doctor(s) they are applying for insurance and ask them to release records as soon as possible.
  • Doctor’s offices sometimes require their own special authorization signed to release the records even though you have completed a HIPAA release.
  • In some situations medical records can uncover further records from your past, which will then be ordered and may take an additional 30 to 60 days to receive and review.
  • Companies may request more information from you after reviewing your records. So we may be contacting you during this time to get that information.
  • If you are not in compliance with a doctor’s recommended medical instructions the underwriter may postpone or decline your case until complete compliance can be verified.

Obtaining a life insurance policy requires patience from you and your client. Set expectations upfront and keep your client informed along the way, and you can minimize the possibility of the client having second thoughts.

For more advice on how to make the underwriting process smoother for your clients, please call your Life Team Consultants at CreativeOne: 800.992.2642.


Related terms: Life, Underwriting

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