The Good And Bad News In Covid 19 Life Insurance Underwriting
As the country creeps back into reopening, life insurance companies have made it easier to apply for policies, with several major companies easing requirements for face to face applications and exams. That’s the good news. On the other end of the pendulum swing is some news that kind of makes some sense, but isn’t good. But swing that pendulum back! Not all companies are participating in the bad news. Anyway, it’s been almost three weeks since I’ve updated the situation, so let’s dig in.
The Bad News
I always like to do the bad news first to get it out of the way. By now we have all heard of those age and medical conditions that can make you more at risk for a severe outcome if you get the coronovirus. That includes those with asthma, lung disease, diabetes and obesity and several more. Several large life insurance companies have made the decision to put applications on hold, or to postpone them until a safer time (tbd). Some of those companies are postponing all applications that involve the risk factors that the CDC has noted. Others have applied those restrictions just to certain age groups, over 60 or over 65 being the most common. I did admit that this these moves make “some sense” and I understand why companies would lean in that direction, at least in the near term.
As I mentioned above there are companies that, with an abundance of caution, are still underwriting applicants in those “risk” groups. I’ve often talked about the advantage of representing a large number of companies. In normal times that means I can shop your insurance situation through all of them and find the best deal. Right now that means that I, in most cases, can find a few companies that will approve your life insurance without waiting for Covid-19 to “abate”. That is the language one company is using when they postpone risky cases. When I asked them if they had a definition of abate they were honest and said they weren’t clear on that yet.
So, if you need life insurance now and you have risk factors for exacerbation of Covid-19, your choices will be more limited than they usually would be. Personally if I need life insurance I would lean toward getting that need met now even if it’s not the best deal when things abate. Once we reach that abated point, we can reshop it and change your coverage to the absolute best deal available.
The Good News
For those who don’t have health situations that put you at risk during this pandemic, the pendulum has indeed swung the other way. Honestly the process of applying for life insurance has never been easier. In the past an annual physical with labs done by your doctor wasn’t acceptable as a substitute for a life insurance exam and labs. Much to the dismay of customers over the years who had literally just completed their annual executive physical, the companies wouldn’t accept it. Their logic? Life insurance labs test for things that doctors don’t, such as HIV, nicotine, Hepatitis, or in the presence of elevated liver functions, an alcohol marker test. We’ll see what happens when Covid-19 “abates”. Possibly, in some cases, companies will continue to accept full workups by your doctor.
Even easier are some companies that are foregoing an exam and labs altogether and using medical records to give them enough history to feel comfortable approving a policy, even up to their best rate classes. Some are requiring a phone interview to review medical history, while some are just going with your signed application with medical questions.
With life insurance during this episode of disruption some things are harder, a few aren’t even possible, and miraculously some things are easier than ever. Whatever your situation is, if your life insurance need is important, there is no need to put it off. Let’s work together to find the best route to your life insurance approval. If you have questions or would just like to discuss your possibilities, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.