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I’ve often written in the past about the value, actually the necessity of getting trial offers on any case that doesn’t fit into cookie cutter underwriting guideline molds for life insurance. And frankly, unless the mold it is already in is the best rate class available, it’s still worth shopping to see if someone out there is in a good enough mood to give a borderline case an early Christmas bump up to the best rate class.

To that end I asked a recent acquaintance of mine, Gary Lee, to write a couple of guest posts from an underwriters point of view that will hopefully accomplish two things, giving more agents the tools to better serve their clients, and to help clients understand why I ask so many questions. In Gary’s words….

Gary Lee, Managing Member
Underwriting Solutions LLC

Ed Hinerman called the other day and asked if I would write a post about what home office underwriters want to know to provide a trial offer. I love to write so I agreed. The answer is really quite simple. Your underwriter wants to know everything about your client that impacts her mortality. But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know. The real question is how much information is enough because the gathering and preparation of client data for a trial submission takes time. And time is money. But better information results in a trial offer that has a higher probability of sticking once full underwriting is done. Think details. More is better.

What an Underwriter Needs to Know

We all know there is a difference between needs and wants. Your underwriter wants everything. Since we’re talking trials, here is a list of what an underwriter needs to know to produce a sticky trial offer.

1. Age/DOB, gender
2. Amount and plan requested
3. Tobacco use
4. Height and weight
5. Family history
6. Last known blood pressure reading
7. Last known total cholesterol reading
8. Specific medical history/diseases
9. Medications taken
10. Dates and results of most recent exam, and special tests (EKG, blood work, colonoscopy, prostate, etc.)

Three Trial Submission Formats
1. Quick Quotes

Applicant is 58 year old female NS, DOB 12/1/50. 5′ 2″ 171 pounds. 120/68. Family history – Father dead 62 CHD, HTN. Mother alive 81 in good health. A lipid panel in March was normal with cholesterol of 200, HDL 55. No major illnesses. Last doctor visit 3/09 was told borderline hypertensive and needed to lose weight. Applicant is healthy and applying for $1,000,000 term policy.

Following my 10 point list, this quick quote summary covers all with the exception of medications. You will get a trial offer of standard, maybe even preferred from some carriers. But what if you were able to furnish more details? Could you make a tentative offer stickier?

Bottom line. I’m agreeing with Gary’s thinking that standard would be the offer, but I’m all about better rates and if stickier is what works, stick around for the next post, formats two and three, and we will see what an underwriter wants from an agent and a client to really jump on board with them.