Optimizing Your Life Insurance Coverage through NFP Underwriting Advocacy
Our Underwriting Advocates team is committed to making your case a priority, and it is our goal to get you the best results in a professional and efficient manner.
What is underwriting?
Before issuing a policy, a life insurance company’s underwriters evaluate your life expectancy based on health, avocation and other statistical factors that impact mortality. You are then classified into a risk category. Your risk classification determines the policy’s price and whether it is issued.
How can an insurance company determine life expectancy?
Underwriters know how medical conditions and avocation choices affect life expectancy. They use statistics based on the outcomes of large pools of people with similar circumstances. This insurance medicine is different from clinical medicine, where physicians treat you as an individual.
What information is used to identify the risk classification?
Your age, gender, weight, physical condition, medical impairments, family history, occupation, avocations, finances, driving record and use of tobacco, alcohol or drugs are key factors that determine risk classification. Note that a medical impairment, by itself does not determine an applicant’s risk classification. For example, two 45-year-old women with diabetes could end up in different risk classes depending on how long they have had the condition, how conscientious they are in treating it and how successfully it is being controlled.
What are the different risk classifications?
While the risk classifications vary among insurance companies, you will be grouped within a spectrum that ranges from preferred to standard and rated to declined. Insurance companies sometimes postpone assigning a risk classification until a condition is further evaluated. Individuals with an above-average to average life expectancy receive a preferred or standard risk classification, and are charged more favorable premium rates. When the risk is greater, underwriters assign higher premium rates. If an insurance company decides an applicant poses too great of a risk, the policy is declined.
What information is needed to complete the application process?
In addition to medical and avocation information, clients applying for coverage are generally required to undergo a insurance examination, including blood/urine tests and an EKG. Attending physician statements (APS) provide more detailed information regarding medical history. If a medical condition requires further evaluation by a specialist, that APS may be requested. Inspection reports may be required to validate the amount of insurance applied for and verify occupation, medical history, avocation or other pertinent personal information. Additionally, there may be a request for tax returns or business financials at the underwriter’s discretion.
How do I prepare for the underwriting requirements?
Specific steps can be taken to ensure accurate results of the blood profile and urinalysis. It is important to fast for eight to 12 hours prior to the blood screening to avoid adverse effects on some of the values in the profile. Be sure you take any maintenance prescriptions well in advance of the exam. Do not exercise eight to 12 hours prior to providing a urine specimen, as it could result in the presence of albumin or red blood cells. Also avoid excessive caffeine products, as well as smoking, both of which affect your heart rate and blood pressure. To assure timely processing and analysis of the blood, it is preferred to have the test performed early in the day.
What should seniors expect?
Seniors may be asked additional questions to test their memory. The questions may appear simple, but it is important that you take the test seriously. Common questions include your date of birth and home address, the current date, and the current U.S. president. You may be given 10 everyday words to use in a sentence and then asked to repeat those words later in the test. You may be asked to draw a clock with hour and minute hands set to specified times. Also, to test your mobility, you may be asked to stand from a seating position, walk a distance of 10 feet, turn, stop and sit down.
How long does the underwriting process take?
Depending on its complexity, underwriting can take 30 to 90 days. The decision is then communicated to our firm, and we contact you directly.
How can I assist in the process of ensuring the most favorable underwriting outcome?
Be sure to provide any facts that mitigate unfavorable information, such as the quality of care you receive, your diligence in addressing medical conditions and any medications that could skew lab results. You should also include your exercise program, herbal supplements, over-the-counter medications, daily activities, community involvement and hobbies.