The single most important part of the sales process is choosing the right product and the right carrier to place your application. It is the difference that will either gain you a client or not. Achieve your prospects goal of a new life insurance policy or not.
Field underwriting life insurance applications is about assessing the prospects risk to the insurance carrier and it begins the second you walk up to the front door not during appointment setting. Read the article “The Number One Mistake in Appointment Setting” for why. As you walk up to the door look around noticing any ashtrays or medical equipment such as canes or walkers making a mental note for later.
The best presentations are those that educate your prospect. As you move through your presentation you will arrive to the point where you’re explaining that a life insurance policy is the funding vehicle to achieve their goal. The questions to field underwrite a life insurance application are:
- “How is your health?”
- “Great so no history of cancer, diabetes or heart problems?”
- List any issues/complications
- Date of last treatment
- Exact diagnosis with date of first diagnosis.
- “Are you taking any medication?”
- List all medications currently taking.
- List exactly why they are taking a particular medication.
- “Great do you use any inhalers?”
- List what they currently use
- What were they diagnosed with and date of diagnosis
The reason for the last question is that most people don’t think of an inhaler as part of the “medication” they take. These fist simple questions will narrow down the carriers and product they will qualify for. At this point you should be able to begin the quoting process of the carrier and product you’ve chosen.
Once your prospect decides on a benefit amount for the product you’ve presented its time to begin the application process. Be sure to ask each question on the application carefully taking note of any hesitation. If they hesitate, ask more questions noting dates of diagnosis, medications, and date of resolution.
Use both the SI-Term and FE Appetite guides provided by Legacy as your reference for any condition that has presented itself during your initial field underwriting questions and the application. If you need to make a product change explain/educate your prospect as to why you’re changing carriers and/or product. Chances are they have applied before and were either declined or rated…they just didn’t tell you.
I always explain to the people I’m meeting with that my job as the field underwriter is to find the carrier that will accept us clients. Disclosing everything upfront is the best way to ensure that happens. It does not benefit you as the agent or the prospect to misrepresent any information on the application as it ultimately will hurt your prospect down the road.
The reason for this is that if prospects continue to shop around for the best price they could be declined with one company, rated with another, etc. All of the results are reported to MIB (Medical Information Bureau). Every time they apply with a new carrier it’s the first place that carrier will check.
I explain it like this; think of applying for life insurance just like applying for a credit card. The inquiries on your credit report the worse your score. The same is true for life insurance applications, the more apply and either replace or worse be declined the more carriers will not accept the risk.
The take-away I hope you get from this article is that properly field underwriting life insurance applications is about assessing risk. As the agent, meeting face-to-face with your prospect, you are in the best position to accomplish this goal. It is what the carrier’s you represent expect and what your prospects deserve.
There will always be a product in your bag to help your prospects become clients. It is why Legacy has agents contract with a wide verity of carriers.
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