Open communications with the underwriters are essential when producers seek “exceptions” on underwriting decisions regarding submitted long term care insurance applications, said Dirk Weisiger during a panel discussion here.
Held at the Society of Actuaries annual Intercompany LTC Insurance Conference, the panel probed the sometimes touchy subject of exceptions, giving both producer and home office perspectives.
“We need to look at this as a team,” stressed Weisiger, who is president of Summit Resources, a LTC and financial services firm in The Woodlands, Texas.
The “team,” in this sense, includes home office administrators, underwriters, producers and clients, he indicated.
The producer is the communications link on the team and the “mouthpiece,” he said. So, “let us know what you need to find out,” he told the underwriters in the audience. “You cant see these people [for yourselves].”
Concerning clients, Weisiger said many tend to think insurers dont want to give insurance to anyone who has so much as a hangnail. This means agents must focus on “selling the client on the idea of LTC insurance and then guiding the client through the process.”
When obtaining the underwriting information, the producer should question the client thoroughly, said Weisiger. “Ask open-ended questions,” he suggested, to elicit details that will help the underwriter better determine the extent of risk the client presents.
Web-based training on underwriting might help agents learn more about the kind of information they need to obtain, he added. As it is right now, “many agents dont have a clue. They are sales-oriented, not underwriting-oriented. Its the biggest weakness of LTC agents.”
For starters, Weisiger suggested that agents, when evaluating a clients potential risk, should “pretend you own the company. Put yourself in the seat of the company administrator and ask, Would I take that risk?”
Also, “educate the client on the role of the insurance company, and what it takes to pay out thousands of dollars in claims per month.”