The way we buy life insurance is changing fast.
And for the better.
Many life insurance companies are now underwriting life insurance policies through an accelerated underwriting process.
Accelerated underwriting means no medical exam up to $1,000,000 for many life insurance applicants
Providing urine and blood samples, getting weighed on the scale, and getting your blood pressure checked has always been a roadblock when trying to buy life insurance.
It now appears that the once required life insurance medical exam is fading out and being replaced by a more up to date model using technology and electronic records.
Currently, insurance companies can learn a lot about you from the loads of information now instantly available.
Algorithms are used to predict your life expectancy based on everything from the medications you are on to your motor vehicle driving record.
More life insurance policies can now be issued without the required medical exams as more data is made available and our technological systems get wiser.
LexisNexis Risk Solutions, a major contributor to accelerated underwriting, feels that we will see the medical exam requirement go away over the next ten years for most applicants.
Fast and Simple life insurance underwriting
Thanks to accelerated underwriting utilized by most life insurance companies, young and healthier applicants may qualify for up to $1 million of term life insurance without the required medical exam. Additionally, the policy may be purchased within minutes online.
Here is a short list of companies that currently use some type of accelerated underwriting. Most of the life insurance companies will actually name their program something clever like Write-Away or LincXpress.
- North American – Their program is called Write-Away and is available in all states except New York. Applicants age 18 – 50 can qualify for up to $1,000,000 life insurance with no exam.
- Lincoln National has a program referred to as LincXpress® that waives the medical exam for qualified applicants between ages 18 to 60 for up to $1,000,000 of life insurance.
- Assurity Life also has a program that waives medical exams up to $500,000 for ages 18 to 50 and up to $350,000 for ages 51 to 65.
- Haven Life – Available nationwide except in California. Policies are issued by Mass Mutual. Healthy applicants under the age of 45 may qualify for up to $1 million in coverage without a medical exam.
- American National – Xpress Plus program waives medical exam for ages 18 to 50 for up to $1,000,000 and ages 51 to 60 up to $500,000.
- SoFi – Available nationwide except in New York. Policies are issued by Protective Life. Healthy applicants age 40 and under can qualify without a life insurance medical exam for up to $1 million in coverage. Additionally, healthy applicants ages 41 to 60 may qualify for $500,000 in coverage without the required medical exam.
- Transamerica – The TOP Program allows you to forgo the medical exam if you have recently been underwritten through an approved list of top rated life insurance companies.
- Ladder – Available in California only. Policies are issued by Fidelity Security Life Insurance Company. While age is considered, it does not alone determine whether a medical exam is required.
How Does Accelerated Underwriting Work?
Essentially, you will answer questions regarding your medical history and your family’s medical history.
Then the insurance company, with your consent, pulls all available data, such as your prescription drug history, your motor vehicle record, and significant information needed from previous health and life insurance applications.
Algorithms are then utilized by the automatic system to determine if qualify for coverage and at what rate.
Bear in mind, these companies have not eradicated life insurance medical exams for everyone. Say for instance you have a serious medical condition like high blood pressure, you’ll most likely be required to undergo the medical exam.
Currently, Haven Life and Ladder both offer policies that go into effect immediately following application. The premium price is adjusted, as needed, once the medical exam results are in. However, with SoFi, coverage begins once the medical exam is completed.
Jamie Hale, CEO of Ladder, confirms that most applicants in his company’s target market range in age from 28 to 42, and they can usually qualify without a medical exam. Yaron Ben-Zvi, Haven Life CEO and co-founder, verifies that soon his life insurance company will be able to eliminate the required life insurance medical exam for most applicants with time. With more data and greater artificial intelligence, the automated decision-making system used will grow even smarter.
Accelerated underwritten policies are quite different from their low-coverage, expensive, no medical exam counterparts that have been available for years. In fact, insurers must charge more and provide less coverage on those non-accelerated policies because little medical information or data has been provided for approval.
If the thought of insurers mining your personal data sounds alarming, you’re certainly not alone. Executive Director of the Center for Economic Justice and consumer advocate, Birny Birnbaum, agrees that the process for arriving at insurance costs needs to be transparent, instead of the decision-making process that only insurance providers understand.
Birnbaum goes on to explain that we’re at a crossroad, except that the insurance industry seems to be going towards less transparency, since insurance regulators haven’t been addressing the issue quickly. The consumer advocate reinforces that there needs to be more regulation on the data that insurers are using.
Ted Nickel, Wisconsin Commissioner of Insurance, says regulators have improved their efforts to better understand and accept technology innovation. As also the president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, Nickel goes on to confirm that the aim is to protect consumer’s information, while encouraging and supporting the use of innovative solutions.
Insurance Companies Save with Quick Approval
Samantha Chow, senior life insurance and annuities analyst of Aite Group, reiterates the importance of learning as much as possible about an applicant, minus the invasive testing. Streamlining the buying process of life insurance helps insurance companies cut their costs. And actually, younger applicants don’t typically report many health conditions that impact such things as blood pressure and cholesterol.
Should Medical Exams Get Eliminated?
Realistically, insurance companies want to rely less on the medical exams, which they pay for, and sell more life insurance policies while saving money. It’s no wonder that most people do not want to have to meet with a life insurance agent, nor take a medical exam.
The typical waiting time when applying for life insurance is at least a few weeks, and that’s with the medical exam as required. Robert Kerzner, CEO of LIMRA, asserts that the longer the application process takes, the less likely the applicant is to actually purchase the policy.
In fact, LIMRA estimates that half of U.S. household don’t have enough life insurance. LIMRA also suggest that the life insurance coverage gap is around $200,000 per household. That equates to about $12,000,000,000,000 (Trillion) for the entire United States.
Now more than ever, the life insurance industry is focused on expediting the application and approval process. As more of your personal information and medical records become digitally available for insurers to use, purchasing life insurance will take less time. Before long, life insurers will begin using accelerated underwriting for more life insurance policies. This will expand into other types of products such as indexed universal life, universal life, whole life and variable universal life.
As a life insurance broker, this is a huge deal. When underwriting gets easier, our jobs get easier.
Want to see how quick you can qualify for life insurance through Ogletree Financial?