Evolution of Risk Assessment … A Client Advocacy Approach


Evolution of Risk Assessment … A Client Advocacy Approach

Think about the last time you saw news of a local resident celebrating their 100th birthday. I’m guessing you can recall at least one in the last 12 months. Twenty years ago, these news stories were seen much less frequently and more on a national level than local. 

No doubt, the shift from healing sickness to preventing it, coupled with higher patient intelligence and more effective treatment, is resulting in longer lifespans. As published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March of 2012: “The risk of dying has decreased 60 percent from 1935 to 2010 with heart disease and cancer being the first and second leading cause of death.” 

Recognizing our country’s strides in medicine and education, the life insurance industry has made its own strides to recognize the impact of healthy lifestyles. Gone are the days of carriers opening their 500-page reinsurance manual and going through the “A+B=C” exercise. While those same fundamentals still exist, underwriting doesn’t stop there. 

The majority of life insurance carriers now utilize some form of a crediting program to offset the risk assessment based on an applicant’s positive lifestyle choices. While these crediting programs vary from one company to the next (and some are more transparent than others in sharing criteria), the most common credit opportunities include:

  • Regular preventative care with compliant treatment, follow-up and stability
  • Routine dental exams/care
  • Lifetime non-tobacco user or no tobacco use in 10-plus years
  • Routine exercise and healthy diet
  • Optimal build, blood pressure and lipids
  • Favorable results of stress/imaging cardiac test within the last year
  • Age appropriate screening tests – colonoscopy, mammogram, PSA, etc. 
  • Secondary education
  • Longevity of parents and siblings

It’s also well known that life insurance companies are working diligently to increase the ease of doing business by reducing costly underwriting requirements. Many have eliminated stress tests and exams by doctors while reducing routinely ordered client medical records. These are terrific strides to improve the overall application experience. 

But in a world of fewer requirements with credit-based underwriting, you and your client play a more critical role. As the saying goes, “Help us help you.” You might be asking, “How do I possibly help?” Fair question. 

Two simple words can have a big impact: cover letter. Need help writing one? Here are some guidelines:

  • Start from the top: How did you come to meet your client? What’s your relationship to them, referral source, etc.? 
  • Establish the purpose of the coverage: Whom will it benefit? How was the amount determined?
  • Brag all about your client: lifestyle, exercise, diet, education, occupation, reputation, community involvement, etc. 

If you’re submitting an electronic application, terrific! Simply prepare the letter via email and submit it to your assigned Ash Brokerage case manager. Our underwriter, and the carrier’s, will now have a better understanding of your client’s overall lifestyle.

These extra steps truly position Ash Brokerage to successfully do what we do best: advocate for you and your client! Call us today to start your next case. 

Jennifer Glessner knows every opportunity she’s entrusted with is truly a gift, whether it’s the advisor’s first or 100th policy. With 20 years of life insurance experience, she grew up in the business and has a vital understanding of where we were, where we are and where we are going as an industry. Her diverse background includes underwriting, sales, operation and leadership, and she’s also an Associate of the Life Management Institute and an Associate of the Academy of Life Underwriting.