First An Update On Covid 19 Impact On Life Insurance

Since my last post, while life insurance companies are still taking applications and approving new policies, underwriters with some companies have put restrictions, or postpones, on some situational areas. Probably the most notable is that underwriters with some, but not all, companies are restricting new applications from those clients that fall into the following CDC list of people at higher risk.

People of all ages with underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, including

  • People with severe obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or higher)
  • People with diabetes
  • People with chronic kidney disease undergoing dialysis
  • People with liver disease

This is especially restrictive for those over age 65. That’s the bad news. The good news is that the majority of those who want life insurance will have no troubles getting approved and not all companies we represent are on board with those restrictions.

Let’s Talk About The Challenge

While the life insurance industry has been playing around the edges of an all electronic application process for a few years now, most companies have stood their ground in the traditional application methods and requirements. Traditional has evolved from face to face meetings with potential clients and agents, hand written applications, all paperwork moving through mail and any exams being done by your doctor. The last 25 years has seen the evolution of online inquiries, phone interviews, exams done by nurses and paramedical professionals who come to your home, and applications and even policies being sent electronically. Covid 19 has accelerated those changes.

But the consumer world has changed. For better or worse we now live in a world where consumer instant gratification is the way companies are beginning to control their respective industries. Life insurance companies, at least those riding the leading edge of the wave, have moved rapidly to change from the cumbersome business practices of 5 years ago to an Amazon like consumer experience.

How Fast Can You Get Life Insurance?

Is two minutes fast enough for you? OK. Before we go there let me preface some of these screaming fast options by saying that if your health history has complications, whether it is diabetes, heart disease, cancer or some other issue that has turned your medical records into volumes instead of pages, instant issue or accelerated underwriting is not going to work. Life insurance companies still have to be able to weigh the risk they are considering accepting and with more complex cases that means that an exam and a copy of medical records is still going to be required. Prudent evaluation of risk is the goal and if that can be done electronically in two minutes for the very healthy, that’s great.

If it requires more information, that may require ordering medical records. If you have access to your medical records through a patient portal a lot of companies are working with clients to simply download those records, saving significant time. If you don’t have a patient portal access, companies are forced to go the traditional route of order records through a copy service. I am working with a client right now who is in that boat and it may be close to a 45 day wait for those records.

Bottom Line

It has become obvious, not unlike just about every industry, life insurance companies were not prepared for the situation we are all in now. The good news is they are rapidly adapting. They are finding ways to do business without the need for an examiner to come to your house, something I personally wouldn’t allow right now. The are electronically downloading medical records, something they have never done before. They are automating every thing they can while making sure that risk is still given prudent weight.

If you are stuck in a situation where you need life insurance and aren’t finding the right company for this difficult time, or if you just want to know all of the options for quick approvals, call or email me directly. My name is Ed Hinerman. Let’s talk.