Field underwriting can be a challenge for advisors who sell life insurance or other products that involve questions about the clients’ health.
Clients may present themselves as healthy and vigorous, even though there may be underlying medical issues that can impact the outcome of a case.
By being observant and asking pertinent questions, advisors can provide clues to the possibility of impaired risk cases. Here are six ways to go about it:
1. Physical Appearance
When meeting with a client, advisors have an opportunity to notice obvious signs of impairment, such as overall physical appearance, gait, and ease of getting in and out of a chair.
Doctors input these details in office visit notes as a way to monitor and evaluate their patients over a period of time to identify any troubling trends. If someone stumbles, for example, it could mean they may have a neuromuscular impairment that could be progressive, such as muscular sclerosis.
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If it’s a morning meeting and you notice that the individual is unkempt and has balance issues, it could mean an alcohol problem. Or, it could simply be that the client did not have his morning coffee and he is just tired. That’s a caffeine addiction and, fortunately, not ratable as an impairment.
It’s important to notice physical appearance details of older clients, as they could point to signs of cognitive impairment. These personal observations are helpful and insurance exam or medical records can either confirm or rule out suspected impairments.
2. Height and Weight
Build and height or weight alone can be an impaired risk factor that can be rated substandard. If someone is slightly overweight, they may qualify for preferred classification; however, if they are morbidly obese, it is ratable. The build tables for carriers vary, with some are more favorable than others. There may be no other impairments if a person is obese, but if there are other issues such as diabetes, it is not favorable as it is a co-morbidity factor.
3. Cancer History
Cancer history is a key indicator of a possible impaired risk. Type and location of cancer, date of diagnosis, and date of last treatment is critical information for assessing risk.