The COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed personal and professional lives across the globe in a matter of weeks. People have been required to “stay at home” to protect themselves and their loved ones from this new, invisible threat. Many of us have been glued to the news waiting for our esteemed “alphabet soup” of experts (CDC, WHO, NIH) to help us make sense of it all. We have watched coronavirus cases rapidly increase and death tolls rise. The uncertainty has many considering their own mortality and asking: Do I possibly need more life insurance? Is now the time to get life insurance? Can I do so safely? The answer is YES! and AgencyONE can help.
TECHNOLOGY IS YOUR FRIEND
The digital transformation of the life insurance industry has been progressing slowly over the past several years. Electronic applications are available at almost every carrier and allow for necessary information to be gathered without a face-to-face meeting between client and advisor. AgencyONE is a leader in the use of electronic application processes, having thoroughly trained our advisors on utilizing these platforms over the last several years. We have seen a large increase in the use of e-apps and business flow since the pandemic began and because we had all the processes in place, AgencyONE was READY.
The creation and implementation of Accelerated (fluid-less) Underwriting Programs has been pioneered by a few of our forward-thinking carrier partners over the last 5 years or so; since then, many other carriers have followed suit. These carriers were prepared and well-positioned when the “shelter in place” orders were instituted, allowing QUALIFYING insurance applicants to be issued coverage WITHOUT AN INSURANCE EXAM. But, what happens if your client DOES NOT QUALIFY and he or she NEEDS an insurance exam?
THE PARAMEDICAL EXAM WOES
In the best of times, the paramedical exam was an underwriting hurdle (some may say hassle). During the COVID-19 pandemic, clients were unwilling to have strangers come into their homeswhich has caused many to put their insurance needs on hold. Likewise, there were safety concerns for the paramedical professionals with some states banning face-to-face exams entirely. Several carriers responded with enhanced Accelerated Underwriting guidelines that allowed APS information, when available, to be substituted for the paramed exam/lab work. IF THE UNDERWRITING REQUIREMENTS CAN BE SATISFIED WITH DATA PROVIDED IN CURRENT MEDICAL RECORDS, THERE IS NO NEED FOR THE PARAMEDICAL EXAM TO OCCUR. AgencyONE’s foresight in piloting electronic health record platforms like Human API and Clareto has allowed us to continue processing business without interruption and equipped us with the tools to access medical information in MINUTES, ultimately getting our AgencyONE 100 Advisors’ cases issued rapidly.
Covid-19 is a watershed moment producing the “new normal” in underwriting.
DO YOUR BEST TO POSITION YOUR CLIENTS
It is important to understand that LIFE INSURANCE COMPANIES ARE NOT WAIVING EXAM REQUIREMENTS. They are starting to take a hard look at what data they can gather WITHOUT the insurance exam. If these sources provide what is needed to make prudent underwriting decisions, carriers can issue your case quickly and without an exam. So, if your clients say they are not willing to complete an insurance exam, step one is to see if they can qualify for an Accelerated (fluid-less) Underwriting Program. The FOUNDATION FOR SUCCESS in any of the available Accelerated Underwriting Programs is the QUALITY OF FIELD UNDERWRITING FROM THE ADVISOR. Taking the time to ask for COMPLETE health history details, review the program’s guidelines and checklists, and collaborate with a team member at AgencyONE is CRUCIAL IN SUCCESSFULLY DIRECTING YOUR CLIENT TO THE RIGHT PROGRAM AND CARRIER for their individual profile.
If you are unsure whether your client will qualify for an established fluid-less program, check the expanded age and face amount parameters outlined on our updated Accelerated Underwriting Spreadsheet located on the AgencyONE website Advisor Dashboard. If the client doesn’t meet ALL the parameters for an Accelerated Program, and they are not willing to have an exam, your next question should be “when did you have your last physical exam with a complete set of lab work?” Then, provide as much DETAIL as possible (and encourage your clients to as well on the tele-interview) on the Part 2/Non-Med. Thorough information will help underwriters approve cases that do not fit perfectly inside the “box”.
CASE STUDY – WHY FIELD UNDERWRITING MATTERS, SAVES TIME, AND GETS YOU PAID FASTER
Mr. Doyle appears to be the picture of health. He is 31 years young, very physically active, has never smoked, and maintains an optimal build of 5’10” 200lbs. On paper (and in-person) he is the ideal candidate for an Accelerated (fluid-less) Underwriting Program, right? The answer is… MAYBE.
At the recommendation of his advisor, Mr. Doyle applies to Carrier A for $1,000,000 of 30-year Term insurance coverage and successfully completes the telephone interview. Carrier A then runs internal checks (MIB, MVR, Prescription Check). Red flag! The prescription check reveals a previously UNADRESSED history of mild asthma. Mr. Doyle was prescribed Albuterol as recently as two months ago. Regardless of severity (mild to severe), Carrier A’s guidelines specifically state that a history of asthma is a “no-go” for their Accelerated Program. The case is therefore moved to traditional underwriting and a paramedical exam is required. Understandably, Mr. Doyle has expressed his unwillingness to complete a paramedical exam at the current time due to the COVID pandemic. With AgencyONE’s understanding of the client’s medical history and knowledge of the underwriting guidelines for multiple Accelerated (fluid-less) Underwriting Programs, we informed the advisor that Carrier B was the better fit for this client. Mr. Doyle completed his application and telephone interview for Carrier B and in just TWO short days was approved at best class rates!
The important takeaway from this case study is that a LITTLE FIELD UNDERWRITING GOES A LONG WAY. Even seemingly healthy clients may have medical or non-medical histories that, at a minimum, may require discussion prior to formal submission.
WE ARE HERE FOR YOU
The team at AgencyONE is very well versed in the idiosyncrasies of each of the carriers’ Accelerated Underwriting Programs. We are constantly updating the vital carrier program information on our Accelerated Underwriting Spreadsheet located on our website. Simply log into www.AgencyONE.net, go to your Advisor Dashboard, and then the Underwriting dropdown tab for the spreadsheet which details ALL the Accelerated (fluid-less) Underwriting Programs available. If you can “ACCELERATE” only HALF of your business, just imagine how many more clients you could engage! People WANT to talk with you about their life insurance needs – one of the few good things to come from this worldwide health crisis. AgencyONE’s goal is the help you put the life insurance protection your clients want and need IN FORCE quickly. We can do this together.