3 Things to Know Before You Go Into Underwriting For Life Insurance

Unfortunately, when I tell someone I am a financial planner usually their first reaction is to say – “Oh so you sell insurance?”  It drives me nuts.  Planning is not selling investments, life insurance, or any other product – it is simply helping clients make confident financial decisions and reach their goals.

With that being said, life insurance plays a key role in a financial plan.  In fact, the results of the financial plan will dictate how much and for how long you need insurance.

We don’t sell insurance – instead we use independent professionals who specialize in getting the best coverage for the lowest cost because, at the end of the day, life insurance is a commodity.

Our friend, John Haugh of the Pinnacle Benefits Group, wrote this article to help planners prepare their clients for the underwriting process of life insurance. 

Here are some things for you to prepare before starting the process:

An insurance carrier will have access to a great deal of information about you during the underwriting process, and from a medical standpoint you should do all in your power to present yourself in the best light possible to get the best underwriting results.

Here are the top 3 things you and your clients should know before you go into underwriting for life insurance:

1. Be Honest!  Whether it has to do with medical treatment received, prescriptions taken, family health history, alcohol usage or potential drug use it is best to be honest and fully disclose all pertinent information.  Carriers will have access to all of your medical records and also the MIB, Medical Information Bureau, which holds all medical and prescription information on you.  If the carrier uncovers something about you that you have denied or have not disclosed, that information will be held against you more strongly than if you originally disclosed the information. In many cases, if you omit information about yourself that the carrier then finds out, it results in an automatic decline of the application. If you have a question regarding your medical history it is best to have an off the record conversation with your insurance broker prior to the application. 

2. Complete the medical procedures that have been recommended to you by your doctor. If your doctor recommended you have a cautionary follow up test during your last regular checkup – make sure you have the test! You should also be up to date with your recommended testing, for example, if you are a male over 50 you should have had a colonoscopy.  Not following up with doctor’s recommendations, or not having tests based on age will be held against you in the underwriting process.

3. Get your annual physical before applying. If you are looking to apply for life insurance and you have not gone for an annual physical for longer than 12 months it is recommended you go for the annual physical prior to applying. In this case it will show the underwriter you practice preventative medicine by going for physicals. If something pops up in the exam it allows you time to address the issue and potentially rectify it before applying for the life insurance.