We get it. You are out there pounding the pavement, finding clients, convincing them YOU are the ideal advisor to help with their financial planning needs. YOU want to deliver the best solutions from the right carriers who offer the most affordable premiums. YOU are competing with that “other advisor” who always shows best class numbers whether they are warranted or not and tries to convince your client that he or she can do better. At the same time, you are contending with on-line and TV ads that offer “quick and easy” insurance products. AgencyONE recognizes that your GOAL is to deliver only the best product and price to your clients, ideally at PREFERRED or BEST CLASS offers. BUT if you want PREFERRED Offers, you need to understand PREFERRED criteria!
KNOWLEDGE IS POWER – ARM YOURSELF
Understanding preferred criteria arms YOU with the information you need to have meaningful, educated conversations with your clients. YOU can set realistic expectations and demonstrate a greater depth of knowledge while ENGAGING your clients in the underwriting process. In this ONE Idea, we are going to take a closer look at what goes into a preferred offer and WHAT AND HOW you need to communicate with your clients.
THE DEVIL IS IN THE DETAILS
Assuming your client does NOT have a ratable medical impairment, avocation, occupation, foreign travel or driving record, meaning they are considered a true STANDARD RISK, AgencyONE looks at a carrier’s preferred criteria to see where the client can qualify for the best possible rate class. This allows YOU to deliver the desired product at the most economical cost. The number of preferred classes (Standard Plus, Preferred, Super Preferred, etc.) and the parameters around each vary from carrier to carrier. Typically, preferred criteria includes specific metrics around:
- BuildBlood Pressure
- Tobacco Use
- Family History
- Foreign Residence and Travel
The COVID pandemic has kept a lot of us away from the gym and possibly snacking a bit more than usual, and the result may have been unwanted weight gain. A 10-to-15-pound weight INCREASE can result in a rate class DOWNGRADE! Did you know, for any recent and significant weight LOSS, most carriers will add half of the weight BACK until the weight loss has been maintained for an entire year? Each carrier has MULTIPLE build charts. In addition to preferred build criteria, carriers may have DIFFERENT parameters for males and females, Accelerated Underwriting Programs, Long Term Care Riders, TERM, UL, and Hybrid products. Many carriers underwrite by your Body Mass Index (BMI) which you can calculate here. Clients considered UNDERWEIGHT (generally a BMI < 18) can also be knocked out of preferred classes!
SO, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? Be specific with your clients. EXPLAIN WHY you need their ACTUAL weight, not their GOAL weight, and how this information can translate into premium dollars. AgencyONE has all the necessary information at our fingertips and can help guide you and your clients toward the ideal carrier.
A “normal” blood pressure reading can vary depending on who you ask, but 120/80mm/Hg is typically the means for comparison. The preferred parameters for blood pressure readings differ for each carrier, each rate class, the age of the client, and in some cases, if the clients are treated for hypertension. Many carriers will average 12 months of blood pressures to determine your client’s class qualification.
SO, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? If your client says that he or she has high blood pressure, ask how well it is controlled. If your client takes medication, remind him or her to TAKE IT as prescribed leading up to AND on the morning of the insurance exam. Advise your client to LOOK at the examiner’s blood pressure reading, and if it seems higher than is normal, REQUEST IT BE TAKEN AGAIN. Understanding the economic impact of the blood pressure will help your clients engage.
Total Cholesterol and cholesterol ratio are considered with preferred criteria. [The cholesterol ratio is total cholesterol divided by HDL (good cholesterol)]. These parameters also vary by carrier, rate class, age, and if the client is treated for high cholesterol. Although not typically included in preferred criteria, an elevated triglyceride level can also affect underwriting offers.
SO, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? If your client says that he or she is on a statin for their cholesterol, ask them how well it is controlled. Explain how the cholesterol readings on the insurance exam can COST or SAVE your client money. Encourage your client to watch his or her diet and alcohol intake leading up to the exam, and to make sure to take any recommended medication regularly.
If your client used to smoke cigarettes and has quit, it can take anywhere from 1 to 5 YEARS to qualify for a preferred or best class offer depending on the carrier. There are differing parameters around cigars, dip, chew, Nicorette Gum…. even marijuana smoking.
SO, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? DISCLOSURE is EVERYTHING. Make it VERY CLEAR to your clients that you need ALL the details. If your client quit smoking cigarettes recently, get the actual quit DATE (most people know it). If your client tells you that he (or she) smoked a cigar on the golf course – find out how often and when your client had the last “puff”. The fact is, there are carriers that will take cigar, dip, chewers, Nicorette users at their lowest preferred class (Standard Plus band) and NON-tobacco rates, even with nicotine in the urine…as long as they know it IS NOT from cigarettes. With Marijuana – same story – preferred rates are possible. Disclosure and frequency of use are imperative details to collect and will help AgencyONE point your case in the right direction.
Your genes matter! Carriers look at the age and cause of death for an applicant’s parents and sometimes his or her siblings. Many carriers will not offer ANY client preferred or preferred best classes if he or she has ONE parent that passed away prior to age 60 to 65 from cancer or heart disease. There are carriers that ignore family cancer histories all together, some that will offset family cardiac histories if the applicant has had certain medical testing, and other carriers that will consider a preferred offer if ONLY ONE parent died before age 60. Some carriers throw these parameters out of risk assessment entirely once the applicant reaches” insurance age” 59, while others never do. The guidelines are “all over the place” with family history!
SO, WHAT SHOULD YOU DO? Ask your client if anyone in his or her immediate family passed way. If so, what was their relationship to the insured, age, and cause of death? Again, AgencyONE uses this very important information to guide you and your client towards the best carrier for your case.
Client: John Smith, 59-year-old male applying for $5,000,000 of 10-year Term, Key Man coverage
Build: 6’3” in height, 245 pounds
Blood Pressure: Normal, averaging 123/82mm/Hg
Cholesterol: 293 HDL 50 – TC/HDL ratio of 5.86 on the insurance exam
Family History: Father was a heavy smoker, passed away at age 57 from heart attack
AgencyONE HAS YOUR BACK
We have created several tools to make gathering and relaying this information easier. Our AgencyONE Informal Inquiry and Exam Prep Video provide detailed information about what is required to start the underwriting process. Good, clear communication between advisor and client is extremely important. Explain WHY the details matter and how accurate collection of the details will very likely save your client time and money.
AgencyONE’s Underwriting Team has many years of well-regarded experience, deep carrier relationships, knowledge of underwriting guidelines, and a mastery of carrier niches to direct your client’s cases to the RIGHT CARRIER at the RIGHT PRICE EVERY TIME! We are COMMITTED to providing you and your clients with exceptional underwriting, competitive offers, and extraordinary back-office support.