Potential testing options in underwriting people over age 65 are on the move.
In the past year, for example, it has become clear that some combination of up to 5 blood tests will soon allow life underwriters to abandon chest x-rays and treadmill tests while also greatly reducing dependence on resting electrocardiograms.
Moving beyond 20th century underwriting relics is vital to achieve faster, less costly underwriting.
Embracing new options also means using objective tools in lieu of customer-unfriendly practices that are incompatible with the financial services industry.
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The 5 tests under scrutiny in this context can all be performed on the same blood sample needed for a routine blood profile.
The anchor here is NT-proBNP. No test has ever afforded underwriters such an uncanny capacity for pinpointing impaired circulatory function. Rather than focusing on just one heart-related disorder, this test elevates significantly in presence of cardiac damage from all pathological causes.
The test that life underwriters currently use to assess blood sugar control in diabetics is designated HbA1-c, for glycosylated hemoglobin. It has a screening mandate as well because high levels in non-diabetics reflect increased heart attack risk. Moreover, its contribution is independent from that of NT-proBNP, which means using them together optimizes their value.
The Cystatin C test also shares the advantage of synergy with NT-proBNP. Intended clinically to replace the flawed kidney test for creatinine, Cystatin C is poised to contribute to insurance screening in more ways than “merely” as a red flag for renal impairment.
Further study of Cystatin C in an underwriting context is now underway. If findings corroborate initial impressions, the industry could have another readily-affordable tool for use in the burgeoning older-age market.