1. 12689 POINTS
    Ted RatliffPRO
    Owner, SFS Associates,
    Usually it is because the insurance company is waiting for information. If your company requests medical reports from the doctor, very often this is not very high on your doctors priority list. I have had to have many clients call their doctor and request that they get the information to the company as soon as possible.
    Answered on April 21, 2013
  2. 11773 POINTS
    Larry GilmorePRO
    Agent Owner, Gilmore Insurance Services, Marysville, Washington State
    Believe it or not technology. When I started 25 years ago, the turn around on a life policy was about 3 weeks. Now, it is not uncommon for 8 weeks to pass before a policy is issued. I say technology because the modern age has lowered insurance pricing but has increased how much an underwriter gets to review. With the information age being what it is, it still takes time to gather and review all the new information available today. Having access to more information has lowered pricing but added time.
    Answered on April 21, 2013
  3. 63333 POINTS
    Peggy Mace, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®PRO
    CEO, Outlook Life, Inc, Most of the U.S.
    In order to save money, many life insurance companies are trying to cut down on ordering medical records from the insured person's doctor. As a result, they often wait to order medical records until after the exam is completed. One way to possibly shorten the time that your policy is in underwriting is to have your paramed exam done as quickly as possible after applying.

    At our agency, we have an in house Case Manager who can order medical records, which helps cut down time in underwriting. Still, it is easy to get delayed if an underwriter decides to order additional medical records after everything comes in. It can be nerve wracking to those going through it, but if your agency is on top of things and gives you regular reports, it helps alleviate the stress.
    Answered on May 2, 2013
  4. 15645 POINTS
    Edward HarrisPRO
    Owner, Best Health And Car Insurance Rates - Instant Online Quotes, US
    Life insurance underwriting takes into account many factors, including lab tests (f used), results from paramedical or physical, financial records (if applicable) and answers to medical questions.

    Depending on the face amount of the policy, the process may not take as long as anticipated, depending on how quickly information is received and reviewed.

    An insurer must make certain all information is received and accurately gathered so the correct rate can be applied to the policy. Once approved, until the term expires (assuming it is a term policy), your rate is guaranteed not to change and you may have specific conversion privileges.
    Answered on March 31, 2014
  5. 820 POINTS
    Pete Wittman
    President, The Wittman Group, Tennessee
    While technology has definitely shortened the life underwriting process, it has not reached the level that has eliminated waiting for the required information.  Typically, life underwriters gather information regarding the risk of insuring a person's life through more than just the application.  They will check MIB (Medical Information Bureau), the lab results and often medical records.  The medical records often take the longest to obtain.  Many doctors utilize services to copy the records & send them to the requesting party, while others do this "in house".  On occasion, we have had to have the insured called their doctor's office to get them to release the records.  Sometimes, obtaining medical records could take 30 - 60 days, resulting in longer underwriting times.
    Answered on March 31, 2014
  6. 3998 POINTS
    Matt BenorePRO
    Founder, DenverWest Insurance Professionals, Inc.,
    One other factor you need to be aware of is the potential back log of applications underwriters are have to process.  If your application needed additional information such as those listed in the previous comments, then your application may go to the bottom of the pile and have to work it's way up to get looked at again.

    Be sure your agent is the squeaky wheel as sometimes the applications are missed and just sit there.  The only error here is that we are all human.

    Typical turnaround time to plan on is 2-4 weeks depending on the type of insurance you are applying for.
    Answered on March 31, 2014
  7. 63333 POINTS
    Peggy Mace, Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®PRO
    CEO, Outlook Life, Inc, Most of the U.S.
    If you are applying for a policy that requires an exam, there is the chance that the underwriter will want to see your medical records. As an impaired risk life insurance specialist, I have seen several cases take nearly 6 months due to the complexity, amount, and elusiveness of those applicants' medical records. This is what I have learned, to help speed up the process.

    1) Put all the doctors you have seen in the past 5 years on your application, and include the doctor who diagnosed your most serious health conditions. Delays often happen because records are received, but then the underwriter notices that the patient was referred to someone else during that time. Getting all your doctors noted at the start does not necessarily mean the insurance company will order records from all of them, but at least it gives underwriters the opportunity to pick and choose which ones they want, so they order them in a timely manner.

    2) Do your exam quickly. Putting of an exam for months sets back the whole application process. Sometimes medical records are not even ordered until the exam is done.

    3) Warn your doctor or clinic that they will be getting a request for your medical records, and ask them to fill the order ASAP. You might even want to collect your own medical records to speed things up, if that is allowed.

    4) Provide additional details in a timely manner. Sometimes insurance companies will see something on your MIB or MVR or application that will cause them to need more information. Answering that extra question, filling out that extra form, or doing whatever needs to be done, can eliminate unnecessary delays.

    5) Don't jump to another company without talking it over with your agent first. Give him/her a chance to find out where the logjam is, and get it cleared up. If you cannot get answers from your agent, it's OK to switch, but close your first application out, or transfer it to someone else. Otherwise, you may end up applying for the same policy with two different agents, and that can cause further complications and delays.
    Answered on April 2, 2014
  8. 5082 POINTS
    J Paul Wilson CFP, CHFCPRO
    Certified Financial Planner, JPW Insurance Retirement Investments, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
    In order to properly assess a risk the life insurance company needs to have a complete picture.

    Essentially the more information you provide upfront the less likely an underwriter is going to ask for more information and order additional reports.
    There are ways you can help yourself.
    If there is going to be a medical then present yourself in the best light by:
    Getting a good nights rest
    Not doing any heavy exercise for 24 hours before
    Avoid food and beverages (except water) for 2 hours before
    Drinking water to help you provide a urine specimen
    Avoiding caffeine for several hours
    Avoiding alcoholic beverages for at least 8 hours
    Do not smoke for at least 1 hour before the exam
    If you are taking prescription medication be sure to have the information for reference
    Avoid taking non-prescription for 24 hours prior
    If you have an insurance exam scheduled and you are under severe stress or ill, consider rescheduling if you are not able them be sure and advise examiner.

    If you have a condition that you believe might cause your insurance to be rated , be aware that companies deal with conditions similarly but differently - check with your independent insurance broker.

    The underwriter needs a complete picture them more information you can provide up front the quicker a decision can be made.

    If you have further questions, or feel that I could be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.

    If you would like to work with a local life insurance broker, you could start with a Google search. For example, if you search for: life insurance broker Halifax or life insurance agent Halifax, my name, along with several others, will come up. You can use the same method to find a life insurance broker in your community.
    Answered on April 3, 2014
  9. 7479 POINTS
    Steve KobrinPRO
    President, The Firm of Steven H. Kobrin, LUTCF, 6-05 Saddle River Rd #103, Fair Lawn, NJ 07410
    I am so glad you asked this question. Life insurance is an underwriting-driven sale. A well-managed underwriting process will yield both good pricing and good service. This is what you need to keep the client satisfied.

    The underwriter has the final word. At the same time, the client, the broker, the general agent, the case manager and the underwriter all collaborate in making things happen. In addition, third-parties such as physicians offices, and advisers such as accountants and attorneys and bankers, all have a role to play.

    Let me give you some examples of how things could work the right way, and also the wrong way. The right way can get you an approval in a matter of weeks. The wrong way can drag it out to months and months and months.

    First of all, you as the client must go through full disclosure. Answer every question thoroughly and accurately. Make sure you get prequalified so that any underwriting challenges are addressed before you submit a formal application. You might have to clarify elements of your medical history. You might have to give details on risky activities such as mountain climbing a scuba diving. Amendments to physician records may be needed.

    If all this information is collected up front, then you can benefit in two ways. First of all you can be confident that you have both competitive and reliable quotes. Your application should be approved at the rate quoted. In addition, the underwriting process should run more smoothly because a number of underwriting requirements have already been obtained.

    If you don’t get prequalified, and underwriting challenges are not addressed before hand, then all the time needed to do so will delay the formal underwriting process.

    It is also important to get the insurance exam completed quickly. Those lab and test results are essential to evaluating the level of risk you present. It may be that your blood chemistry is off the day you take the exam, and that might raise some questions. You might even have to repeat the exam. Or clarification may be needed from your doctor. Better to take care of these items sooner rather than later.

    The longer you wait in scheduling that exam, the longer the evaluation will take, and the longer it will take to remedy any emerging issues.

    Medical records are also a dealmaker or a dealbreaker. They too play a huge role in assessing risk. These days many physician offices are short-staffed and overloaded with bureaucratic insurance company and government requirements. They often contract with services to make copies of records. Their turnover of requests for copies of files is often slow. Bear in mind that they are paid in advance – and well paid – for this service. You as the patient may have to get involved to stress the importance of a faster turnaround.

    Many times, statements and documents from professional advisors are needed. In one case I have, I obtained a medical approval of great pricing over six months ago. However, copies of trust and buy sell agreement documents are required to get the final approval, and to issue the policies. The attorneys and accountants still haven’t delivered.

    General agents play a key role in delivering customer satisfaction. Brokers typically do not deal directly with underwriters - we deal with general agents who operate at the wholesale level. A general agent who has strong leverage with carriers will be able to deliver underwriting concessions. He or she will also be able to intervene as needed and advocate on behalf of the client and broker if snags pop up during underwriting.

    Things can happen. Sometimes one underwriter will prequalify a case, and another will formally underwrite it. These two may not agree on what the price should be. The general agent needs to stay on top of this and get the dispute resolved as quickly as possible.

    Case managers are also key. These are personnel inside general agencies who expedite requirements. If they are really on the ball, then the broker is notified promptly of the need for outstanding records, documents, client information, etc. If they are slack, then requirements are filled too slowly.

    I think too many agencies just rely on software to give updates. This technology is useful; at the same time, managers really do need to stay involved personally with cases and move them along. It takes the personal touch.

    In essence, with the right team approach and cooperation from all involved, then things can happen relatively quickly. The broker needs to treat underwriting as such and provide proper direction. Without this leadership, there is so much room for error that underwriting can become a nightmare.
    Answered on September 24, 2015
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