Upgrades In Underwriting

There are times when one pesky impairment keeps a case from getting a Preferred or better offer.  It may even lead to a loss of the sale.

One of our carriers has an underwriting program that can give that little push needed to get Preferred classes and help to make the sale.

This program allows for a one class upgrade if the reason for a less favorable rating is based on one of these categories: build, cholesterol, blood pressure or family history.  If the remaining three categories all fall within the better rate class guidelines, the upgrade is applied.  Whether your client is applying for Term or Permanent coverage, this upgrade is available for both products, up to age 70, and even includes smoker classes.

Case Example:

A 60 yr old male’s build places him in a Preferred class.  If his blood pressure, cholesterol and family history all fall within Preferred Best guidelines, he will be improved to Preferred Best.

Take a look at these other underwriting strengths this carrier has to offer:

The One Table Reduction Program can help on substandard cases.  It provides a one table improvement on substandard classes for clients through age 70.  For example, Table B offers can now be improved to Standard.  This is available on both Term and Permanent products

Recreational pipe use can be considered for non-tobacco rates under the same guidelines as recreational cigar use.  For example, Preferred non-tobacco is possible if use if no more than once per month with negative nicotine on urinalysis.

Scuba diving can be considered for Preferred Best rates based on the following criteria:  Resort diving up to 35 feet deep and no more than 6 dives annually or up to 75 feet for certified divers using the buddy system and no more than 10 dives annually.

Interested in learning more about this carrier and how we can help your clients achieve the best possible underwriting outcomes?  Contact your Underwriter for more information.

Extended Shelf Life Of Medical Requirements Can Help Boost Your Sales!

The idea of getting your client examined for life insurance can be a challenge.

Asking for a second exam after one was done in the not so distant past can jeopardize a sale.  Worry no more.

Consider the Following:

A 70 year-old female applied for $10 million of life insurance coverage with another company, was approved, and the policy placed in-force over six months ago.  She now desires additional coverage for the same amount, but does not want to go through another exam.  Her previous exam, lab and resting EKG were completed over nine months ago.

Many of our A-rated carriers will accept the older requirements for up to 12 months, so your client does not have to be inconvenienced by scheduling new testing as long as a non-med part 2 is completed along with the application.

Another of our carriers has some other special guidelines they follow:  They can use another company’s inspection report for up to a year; and for those clients ages 70 and older, they can accept cognitive testing previously done for up to one year in addition to resting EKGs and inspection reports – although they will need a new exam and labs after a 6 month time-frame.

Take advantage of these guidelines when you can, give your sales team a call to discuss the details of your cases –

Placing Sleep Apnea Cases: A Breath Of Fresh Air

Imagine the thought of not being able to take in a breath, then suddenly gasping for air when you’re able to breathe in again.  Now, you’re probably thinking to yourself this sounds a lot like the feeling you sometimes get with certain not-so-favorable offers on impaired risk cases!

All kidding aside, this is actually what happens with people who have sleep apnea.  An individual suffering from sleep apnea may not even be aware of it while it’s happening, but could still experience symptoms – most commonly, daytime sleepiness, morning headaches and loud snoring.  Sleep apnea restricts oxygen to vital organs and if left untreated, it can lead to more serious conditions such as heart arrhythmias, stroke and diabetes.

Diagnosis is usually made after undergoing an overnight sleep study.  Severity is measured by the Apnea/Hypopnea Index (AHI) which represents the number of episodes per hour.  An AHI score of 5-14 indicates mild severity, 15-30 indicates moderate and over 30 is considered severe.

CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is usually the recommended treatment.  Other treatments may include dental appliances or surgery.  Follow up sleep studies to monitor the effectiveness of treatment are also often recommended.

So what does all this mean for life underwriting?

The key to favorable outcomes isn’t as much the severity at diagnosis as it is the follow up and compliance to treatment.

In some cases, lack of compliance or failure to follow up can lead to highly rated offers and declines.

Take for instance this case involving severe sleep apnea but with good follow up and compliance:
  • 62 year old male applying for $500k of UL coverage
  • Lifetime non smoker
  • Height 5’ 9”, weight 300 lbs
  • Hypertension, well controlled on Lisinopril
  • A sleep study done in 2007 revealed severe obstructive sleep apnea with an AHI of 103. CPAP treatment was initiated
  • A more recent follow up sleep study again confirmed severe obstructive sleep apnea with an AHI of 94. CPAP pressure was adjusted and the AHI fell to an acceptable level of 4 on treatment
  • Good compliance with nightly CPAP use

Underwriting decision: Standard NT for the build and sleep apnea history!

Place more business and earn more commissions!  Your Underwriting Team is here to help you get the best possible underwriting offer on each and every case.

How Our Underwriting Team Can Help You Make A Difference To Your Clients

One of the most important aspects to placing more business is a knowledgeable underwriting team to be your advocate for those challenging cases.  Our Life Underwriting team has a philosophy we call “never say never”.

We don’t give up on a case because it’s difficult.  We take on the challenge and look outside the box for solutions.

This innovation sets us apart from the rest and helps to get more cases placed for your clients.

Here are some case examples:

#1:  We were presented with case on a 52 year old dentist seeking $3 million of term coverage.  A recent lab panel for a carrier where he applied and was declined produced the following abnormalities:

  • Liver function tests:  ALT of 71 (on a normal scale of 0-45) and GGTP of 743 (on a normal scale of 2-65);  An alcohol marker and Hepatitis screen were not performed
  • Abnormal liver function tests have been noted since 1987
  • 10/2006 Liver biopsy showed mild to moderate fatty changes and mild liver scarring

If you noted the elevated GGTP alone which is about 11.5 times the normal value, an automatic decline probably came to your mind.  Some BGA underwriters may not have taken the chance to even send this case out for any opinions.  We discussed with our carriers and one was willing to look at the file.  After complete review, we received a Table 4 offer from this carrier.  Case was placed!

#2: A formal application for a 57 year old female applying for $100K of term was recently declined by one of our carriers due to her kidney function history.  An underwriter on our team reviewed the medical records and disagreed with the decline.  We appealed the decision and asked to have the file forwarded to the carrier’s Medical Director for reconsideration.  After Medical Director review, the decline decision was reversed to a Table 2 and case was placed!

If we had not gone back to the carrier for reconsideration, the case would have remained a decline on the books.  Another way we made a difference to our broker and the client.

Let our Underwriting Team help you with your challenging cases and generate more sales this year.  We look forward to hearing from you.

LTC Underwriting V.S. Life Underwriting

Long-Term Care and the cost of care can be overwhelming for most.  In the past, traditional stand-alone LTC policies were the only way to insure long-term care expenses.

These days, there are more ways to obtain this valuable coverage – including LTC riders on Life Insurance policies.

Underwriting long-term care risks can be very different than underwriting for life insuranceLTCi underwriting takes into account medical impairments that impact ability to perform daily living activities.  Whereas, life underwriting is more concerned about impairments that affect mortality, or life expectancy.

In some cases, your client may be eligible for life insurance at a favorable rate class, but may be rated or declined for long-term care.

This recent case study shows how different underwriting mortality vs. morbidity can be:
  • 62 year old female
  • Seeking $1 million of UL coverage with a Long-Term Care rider
  • Non smoker; normal build
  • Hypothyroidism diagnosed in 1980; well controlled on medication
  • Was seen once by a chiropractor for back pain with improvement
  • Diagnosed with scoliosis
  • Final underwriting decision: Super Preferred for life coverage; Standard for the LTC rider due to scoliosis and back pain history

Non-traditional long-term care insurance and chronic illness riders are the perfect solution for those impairments that would be declined for traditional LTC riders.  These alternative riders are automatically available on eligible permanent products with little to no additional underwriting.

Whatever the case may be, there is a product we can pivot to, to cover long-term care needs.  Contact your Underwriting Specialist, we’re here to help you sort through the different options and pre-qualify your client for this much needed coverage.