“Tell me what he’s taking, and I’ll tell you what he’s got!”
How well I remember writing that phrase for the first time, on a flip chart during my first-ever agency visit to lecture about underwriting back in 1977.
And how little did I realize back then what a powerful statement this would come to be in 21st century risk management.
Considering current issues surrounding medical record procurement, in context with the ever-widening embrace of teleunderwriting, it is Rx details that now pave the road to faster, more accurate underwriting assessments.
This is equally true whether the case is highly substandard or eligible for super-preferred.
Imagine, as an example, three middle-aged females all disclosing a history of a “nervous breakdown.” Their understandable reluctance to delve into detail, coupled with the vicissitudes inherent in extracting details from an attending psychiatrist, do not bode well.
However, if one knows precisely what medication was prescribed to treat this ambiguous condition, the risk may come squarely into focus.
Let’s postulate that the women were given Prozac, lithium and olanzapine, respectively. What does this tell us?
o That the first woman is surely the best risk of the three, quite probably “standard” if not even better.
o That the second is likely bipolar–formidable, yes, but not outside insurable boundaries in many cases.
o That the third may have schizoaffective disorder, if not overt schizophrenia.
We can extend this last scenario further, asking: What dose was prescribed?
A short course of olanzapine at 2.5 mg makes a compelling case for a period of intense anxiety (which may have completely resolved and therefore have little or no influence on our assessment), whereas 15 mg reinforces a “worst case” assumption.
Back to the first lady.
A comprehensive list of conditions potentially treatable with Prozac–not to mention the other widely prescribed drugs in the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) family (Zoloft, Paxil, etc.)–doesn’t quite match the Manhattan White Pages in length, but it comes closer than any other prescription drug in the world!