How To Successfully Handle Medically Nonstandard Cases
As a specialist involved in getting “nonstandard” cases underwritten and successfully issued, I have found the following six steps to be essential:
1. “Interrogate” for information. The most important key for success in handling these types of cases is information. It is imperative that you interrogate your prospect. The more information you can find, the easier it will be in placing a case. This point must be taken very seriously. You cannot gloss over any matter concerning the risk at hand.
To begin, you need to get enough preliminary background information and then call an underwriter, or a specialist, before you submit any application. This is to ensure that you have got everything the underwriter needs to do a full assessment, preferably the first time. The least number of interruptions an underwriter gets in the process of assessing a case, the better, because each time additional information is required, the greater chance there will be a conservative outcome.
2. Use the Internet for research. Once you know what the problem is, go to the Internet. Use this resource to find out all you need to know about the condition, also to find information for the underwriters to use–they will appreciate any research you can provide them.
There are some extraordinary sites that are available today for you to familiarize yourself with your prospects condition and become better informed. Here are just a few Internet sites you can use (see chart on page 20 for addresses):
Merck Medical Manual: This is an outstanding medical resource manual. Download specific sections related to the applicants condition, and then send it to the underwriter for his or her information. This assists with the risk evaluation process and reduces the need to further research the topic.
National Cancer Research Institute: For research into cancer, this site is outstanding. Again, download sites like this and not only give it to your underwriter but give a copy to your prospects–they are always extremely grateful for additional information.
Risk Tutor: This is an advisers medical underwriting resource available to you. Dr. David Solies valuable service is available for a small annual fee–the cost usually entirely recovered with your first successful case! You may like to take advantage of their free cassette tape as this covers more extensive information.
3. Be your prospects advocate. As an advisor, it is your job to try to find as many positive supportive pointers for your prospect, by being their advocate. This isnt the job of the underwriter, thus often lightheartedly referred to as the “Policy Prevention Department.”
The more supporting evidence you can provide the underwriter, the better the assessment will be. Too often, critical issues are overlooked as being unnecessary background, when in fact providing this improves your prospects chances.
4. Prepare a good cover letter. The cover letter is an often critical item neglected when presenting the application to an underwriter. A good cover letter can make or break a case. Remember, the underwriter has not seen the applicant! You know your prospect, you have talked to your prospect, and you probably visited his place of business. Nobody is in a better position to explain what your prospect does than you!
This particularly applies in the case of disability income insurance, as that quality of detail can mean all the difference, especially when you are attempting to obtain the most favorable occupation classification. Professional standards like this must minimize misunderstandings between the underwriter and the prospect.
There are a number of items that should be considered when drafting the cover letter (see chart).
5. Look “outside the square.” As an advisor, your skill is to be creative, but for the underwriters it is to process complex data. It is therefore your job, not necessarily theirs, to think “outside the square.” Here are a couple of examples and ideas of ways to assist a prospect with a medical problem: