Note: This is the fifth article in a series of 12 discussing the benefits of using the Laser Underwriting Approach, which utilizes an agency-based staff underwriter. Each story in the series addresses one of the 10 preliminary questions that make this approach effective.
The Laser Underwriter Approach yields accurate quotes and keeps the processes smooth by asking these 10 key questions:
1. What is your client’s medical history, including conditions, treatments, or medications?
2. What is the amount of the application?
3. What is your client’s age, tobacco status, height, weight, and ability to live on his or her own?
4. Are you in competition? What are the other companies, face amounts, and ratings?
5. Do you have related applications with other companies, such as rolling over a policy or a 1035 exchange?
6. Will your client accept an increased premium?
7. Are there any avocation, financial, aviation, or legal concerns?
8. Is the amount of coverage appropriate for the client’s financial situation?
9. Are there any sensitive histories such as alcohol, drug, or motor vehicle problems?
10. What is the importance of this client to you, such as being a center of influence which could provide referrals?
So far in our series discussing the Laser Underwriting Approach for trial applications, we’ve completed our application and sent it to an Insurance Marketing Organization (IMO) staff underwriter to review. Now the fourth question in our series of top 10 questions is asked: Are you in competition with anyone else for the case, and with what other companies? Have face amounts been applied for, which would comprise the total being placed? As part of that question, the underwriter will also want to know the total amount being placed, and if ratings have already been given. This approach will help with speed and accuracy for a quote on a higher risk case because the staff underwriter will keep the possibility of a competing company in mind while assessing the risk.
The staff underwriter who first reviews your client’s application will know to ask this question. With life companies merging and trimming products, a higher percentage of your business is at risk to be replaced by other life insurance entities. There also is competition for new business by brokers, especially for large cases. Insurance professionals who stay on top of their business will keep track of these possible situations. The Laser Underwriting Approach to trial applications can keep you ahead of the competition when it comes to placing these cases.
So, what companies are in competition for your client’s business? The staff underwriter you work with is aware of the ever-changing strengths and cutting edge guidelines a life insurance company has within their underwriting guidelines. For example, one company may be strong in circulatory issues like heart and stroke problems, while another company may have new information and underwriting for applicants with cancer. Research is ongoing and actuarial studies are constantly looking for new ways to “compete” in the life market.