As related in a post yesterday which was a follow up on a previous post concerning the American General use of the CRL Labs Smart Score methodology for underwriting, I have breaking developments. After being rebuffed by CRL, being told that they couldn’t tell me about the system and how it works, that I would need to get that from the insurance company, I used the shotgun approach with calls to AIG searching for signs of intelligent (Smart) life.

The answers I received were absolutely astounding. People in sales support had heard of the Smart Score methodology, but didn’t really know what it meant or how it impacted underwriting. I was referred up to the underwriting department where they were a few steps beyond having heard about it. They actually knew it was being used but when I laid out the particulars of the case (high bmi and A1c 7.4) that set this whole thing in motion, the first underwriter admitted that she didn’t understand how the methodology meshed with other factors in underwriting, so she referred me to a long time vice president of underwriting, Joe Townsend. I was optimistic that I was now getting to the level where at least the Smart Score system and its’ relevance to mortality risk could be explained.

Mr Townsend knew more than anyone I had talked to but still didn’t understand it completely stating, “that it is a proprietary methodology from CRL” and that he didn’t believe that “anyone internally at AIG really understood it”. The reason given for it not being understood at AIG was that it was relatively new and a “proprietary methodology owned by CRL Labs”. That by any reasonable measure had to be counted as an error on the part of American General. How can your underwriters be using a system that can impact underwriting and not know how it works?

But in the bottom of the 9th Mr Townsend also came through with the save. After reviewing the case he called and let me know that it had been approved as applied for and that in fact the Smart Score had been used incorrectly in this instance.  On my client’s behalf I am very grateful that the right decision was reached and I was given a phone number to call directly if I had any other questionable issues involving the Smart Score.  He got my gold star today. So, problem solved?

Well, no. I still haven’t been told much about how underwriters use the Smart Score with impaired risk life insurance cases that I have shopped but I would offer up two conclusions, 1. If you are a client or an agent working for a client that had a head on collision with the Smart Score system, don’t let it slide by unchallenged and 2. It appears to be possible for someone completely healthy to get their rate changed even if all of their labs were in the normal range, so be try to know as much as you can about the system and don’t be shy about calling them on it.

Bottom line. I still have a lot of questions and concerns over this “methodology” being used in conjunction with underwriters who don’t understand it, but for now it is what it is. I anxiously await our meeting with Exam One to see if their Risk IQ methodology makes more sense and if the companies that are apparently already employing it are on the right end of my list. If you have any questions please call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.