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New Underwriting Process Favors Applicants Who Exercise, Have Good Imaging Results

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Hartford Financial Services Group Inc. (NYSE: HIG) says it believes its new underwriting process will reduce the cost of permanent life insurance for about 25% of its new policyholders.

The process assesses an individual’s current health and mortality risk by using three age bands, rather than the two used by most insurers, according to Hartford Financial, Hartford (NYSE:HIG).

The new process recognizes the risk characteristics of young, middle-aged, and older people, and it allows underwriters to offer insurance at a rate more reflective of an individual’s risk, the company says.

Under the new system, 30% of older applicants likely will qualify for the most favorable preferred rate, a three-fold increase when compared to the old system, the company says.

The new process also gives credit to applicants who are in good physical condition, get regular exercise, have a favorable result on imaging tests used to screen for heart disease, and, in the case of older applicants, have parents who lived into old age, Hartford says.

This is approach gives credit for a much wider array of variables than Hartford considered before, says Chief Medical Strategist Robert Pokorski.

Example: A person who is being treated for high blood pressure or high cholesterol would have been automatically disqualified for the most preferred classification under the old process, Pokorski says. But, as long as the person has other factors weighing in his or her favor, that would not be the case under the new system.

More than half of new policyholders will now qualify for one of the company’s two lower-cost “preferred” classifications, Pokorski estimates, adding that they could save hundreds of dollars on their annual premiums by qualifying for the preferred rate rather than the standard rate.


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