Field Underwriting: Building Your File
As the agent, you have worked hard and invested your time and energy into cultivating relationships with your clients. The time between an introduction and a sale takes time and effort. When a client says yes, you want to ensure that the next steps in the process are as easy as possible.
Field underwriting is as critical to the process as selecting the product or carrier when submitting a life insurance application. When done well, field underwriting will help you find the best carrier and best offer for your client’s needs based on cost AND underwriting.
Before completing a formal application uncover relevant facts and start to build your file. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Medical History: What is the client’s medical history? Any concerns? Is preliminary informal underwriting required before a formal application?
- Purpose: What is the financial need and purpose for coverage? Business? Personal?
- Coverage: Is there other coverage inforce? What is the total line of coverage being requested?
- Finances: Do the financial circumstances of the client support the requested face amount as well as the total line of coverage that will ultimately be inforce?
- Documentation: What medical and financial supporting documentation is required?
- Gaps: Are there any gaps in the information that need to be addressed before submitting the case to a carrier?
When building your file your goal is to have clear answers to all of the above. When it is time to submit the formal application, you will have the complete picture to lay out before the underwriter for review. This will allow the underwriter to look at the file once providing quicker and more favorable decisions.
If you find your client has a complex medical history, have a candid conversation. In these cases, it may be beneficial to complete a preliminary inquiry fact finder to gather pertinent details of diagnoses, treatment and physician(s). With a signed authorization, medical records can be requested for review before a formal submission. Informal inquiries to various carriers will help you define the best carrier based on your client’s personal history.
When you are ready to submit the formal application, preparing a detailed cover letter is very important. This communication to the underwriter allows you to pull all the facts of the case together and provide additional details that may not be clearly evident in the application package.
Producers and home office underwriters live in two different worlds and speak different languages. It may seem hard to believe at times, but producers and home office underwriters are on the same team and have the same end result in mind…. getting the policy approved and issued at the best possible rate class. Getting the best decision for your client is the result of good field underwriting. Investing the time up front to do it well will be well worth the effort when you receive that best class rating!
Call or email me to discuss this important topic. I would love to hear from you.