(Related: Tools For Doing More Life Business in 2019)
Time kills deals. The life insurance business is no exception.
If the formal application process takes longer than normal, the client can get frustrated and lose interest. This is why broker general agencies seek ways to improve efficiency and cut the time from formal application submission to placement. It also improves the experience for the proposed insured and gets the commission paid quickly.
Insurance companies also benefit from a more streamlined formal application process and underwriting review.
The benefits are reduced overhead costs and more placed business.
Here are six ways to make that happen.
1. Fully complete applications to speed up the entire process.
Case managers and new business administrative staff spend hours “scrubbing” an application. This involves notifying advisors of incomplete answers to questions and then inputting these requirements into the new business database to keep track of them.
Replacement forms that are incomplete or not submitted can cause an application to be rejected.
Questions that are answered “YES,” but do not have the requested details will increase processing time for cases.
2. Provide answers upfront.
If the case has challenging underwriting concerns, such as alcohol consumption, gather as much detail as possible and present it in a cover letter to answer questions and present facts that will help to advocate for the client. Financial underwriting may also present challenges. For example, underwriters may ask how the advisor calculated the face amount, if it involves a complicated business purpose. Try to anticipate questions the underwriter will ask and provide the answers upfront. This will help them get the case approved. FAIU has impaired risk questionnaires that will assist you in gathering this information.
3. Use streamlined underwriting processes when possible.
Some cases may qualify for a streamlined underwriting process that is offered by electronic “drop ticket” or accelerated underwriting programs. Age, face amount, and other requirements vary among the insurance companies.
SBLI’s Accelerated Underwriting program requires no paramed exam or blood and urine tests for term insurance coverage of $500,000 or under for ages 18-60. All it takes is completing a ZipApp ticket online and SBLI takes care of the rest of the application and underwriting requirements.
4. Submit premiums with formal applications for healthy clients.
Premium submitted with formal applications can also speed up the approval process. Carriers have a limited time to approve before they are required to return premium. This limited insurance agreement has several simple underwriting questions. Any “YES” answers will usually disqualify a client, so these premium with application options are best done with clients who have a clean health history. Most “cash with application” cases end up being placed.
5. Take steps to speed up impaired risk cases.
f you have an impaired risk client, FAIU specializes in the underwriting of these cases. We can order the medical records and send them to carriers in two different approaches:
Quick Quote Request: We summarize the attending physician statements and send this information out to multiple carriers for tentative offers within 48 hours. This will help you find the best carrier for your client.
Informal Submission: We send out the full attending physician statements to a select number of major carriers (based upon face amount and product) for tentative offers, along with a HIPAA compliant authorization that has the carriers listed on it. The informal offer can be submitted with the formal application to make sure the offer will stand, pending any interim medical records. This can speed up the underwriting and approval of challenging impaired risk cases.
6. Ensure good field underwriting.
This is another strategy for getting cases approved quickly. Find out if your client if they have any upcoming doctor’s visits or surgery planned. Observe their overall health when you meet them in person. Ask them how they are doing generally and your client may give you some clues about their mental health. All of this information can help determine the correct underwriting class for your client so you can give them an accurate premium estimate.
The combination of fully completed applications, accelerated underwriting technology, and underwriting expertise is the best solution to speed up the approval process.