Welcome to 2021! Together with you, our AgencyONE 100 Advisors, we have continued to sell, underwrite, and deliver insurance protection consistently over the past 10 months despite the challenging and unique circumstances brought on by COVID. We have adapted to restrictions, mastered new technology, stepped-out of our comfort zones, and found ways to get business placed!
Although 2021 promises healthier days are ahead, COVID continues to pose a meaningful threat to mortality and morbidity, particularly for your older clients and those with pre-existing medical conditions. While the vaccine offers hope that the curve will eventually flatten, the CDC COVID tracker suggests that cases are still rising and, as a result, underwriting restrictions remain in place at many of our carrier partners.
Our first ONEIdea of 2021 will cover the following:
- what CAN be underwritten despite continued COVID restrictions at the carriers;
- where underwriting challenges persist and solutions can be found; and
- how impaired risk cases can be placed with meaningful carrier relationships.
What CAN Be Underwritten:
To date, we have fourteen carrier partners who will consider coverage for clients over age 70 and six for clients over age 80. Generally speaking, these clients need to land firmly at a standard rate class…but there are always exceptions. AgencyONE has seen an increase in carriers who are issuing policies for clients with planned foreign travel. Country and travel location have always been scrutinized during underwriting and now, as a result of COVID, the CDC COVID level MUST be considered for approval as well. Foreign National business has steadily picked up. Several carriers have reinstated these programs, so we have plenty of options for you and your clients to consider. Retention limits are creeping back up and reinsurers continue to support our carrier partners in getting jumbo cases approved.
Underwriting Challenges and Solutions:
Obtaining exam requirements remains a challenge. With the recent uptick in COVID infections, cases are increasingly delayed due to the understandable concerns that clients have allowing examiners in their homes. At the start of the pandemic, several carriers developed temporary guidelines attached to their accelerated underwriting programs. For healthier clients, some carriers will consider allowing exam requirements to be satisfied if a physical exam and lab work have been completed in the last 12 to 24 months, depending on the client’s age and desired face amount. We have had enormous success with these accelerated programs which are STILL an option for your clients! Thanks to your willingness to utilize Human API, we also have had great success retrieving the necessary APS information in a FEW HOURS rather weeks. Carrier Accelerated and Executive Underwriting programs are detailed for you on the AgencyONE website under the underwriting tab on your personal dashboard.
For your clients who do not meet the criteria for a “fluid less” or accelerated underwriting program, an insurance exam will be required. You and your clients can be assured that the paramedical companies have gone to great lengths to keep their employees and your clients safe. To help allay the fears of your clients regarding in-person insurance exams, AgencyONE has created a Covid Insurance Exam Safety Procedures handout that details the safety protocols the paramedical companies have implemented for the Covid emergency. Feel free to pass along this easy to understand one-page flyer to help reassure your clients.
More Than Just An Underwriting Case Study:
Underwriting is not just black and white, particularly when it comes to impaired risk cases. AgencyONE’s collective medical knowledge and underwriting expertise allows us to accurately evaluate complex medical histories, assess mortality, advocate for your clients, and place the most difficult cases.
The uncertainties and challenges we have faced over the past 10 months, especially with impaired risk cases, have highlighted the importance of relationships, both personally and professionally. The following case study exemplifies that when the power of AgencyONE’s underwriting expertise is combined with a solid carrier partnership, there is no limit to our collective success.
Mr. Smith is a 75-year-old, non-smoking gentleman with a history of an uncomplicated heart valve replacement and single-vessel bypass surgery who applied for $4,000,000 of permanent coverage. The best-case scenario for his age and cardiac history was estimated at a Table 4 to 6 rate class. Although Mr. Smith had been stable and asymptomatic for several years, possessed extraordinary exercise capacity, had favorable post-surgical cardiac testing, and optimally controlled cardiac risk factors (blood pressure, cholesterol, blood sugar, Nt-pro-BNP, etc.), he was still a quick “no” for most carriers due to COVID restrictions.
Instinctively, AgencyONE continued to advocate for Mr. Smith. ONE chief underwriter, who AgencyONE has worked with for decades, looked at the case based on its individual merits and understood why we believed it was viable, even in the restrictive environment. The chief took the reins and advocated for this client on our behalf. By working collaboratively with AgencyONE’s underwriters and several reinsurance partners, an offer was agreed upon making it possible for us to deliver the coverage our client needed. The target premium was in excess of $250K, so everyone involved in the case left for the holidays happy! The extraordinary effort made by this underwriting leader exemplifies a true partnership. This carrier will see a lot of business from AgencyONE in the coming year.
AgencyONE’s underwriting department is a powerful advocate for you and your clients. We will continue to navigate challenges together, keep you informed on the ever-changing carrier guidelines, and remain your ONE resource throughout 2021 and beyond!