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Lengthy Term Life Process

Be prepared for a lengthy process

The process of applying, underwriting, and qualifying for term life insurance has completely changed over the last decades and you could say it's turned on it's head.  If you've been around the market long enough, you can remember long, lengthy applications and running quotes by what seemed to be protractors and calculators on a person's living room table.  Those days are over and although we've significantly improved the front end of the process (quote and application), you need patience on the back end during underwriting and anyone that tells you differently is just trying to sell you something besides land in Florida.  Let's look at how the process has chanced and what you can expect.

It's a recurring nightmare I have as a term life insurance agent.  I've gone through all the various term life insurance plans, rates, and various riders with a couple.  It's taken a few hours (seriously) to get to this point and they want to apply.  On one hand, I'm happy because we were able to help them find the right blend of benefits and costs...a job well done but I then reach into my fold-out brief case which is starting to resemble airport pilot's carry on in size and bulk.  Out comes the application in triplicate as it thuds on the living room table.  BOOM.  It looks like a small novel written in red ink in all it's triplicate glory.  Now's the fun part.  I have to go through all sorts of horrible health questions and by the time the whole process is done, my feet have fallen asleep from sitting so long.  Grueling is the only word to describe it and any time I see a thick form (loosely translated as government doc), the nightmare comes right back to me.  So that was then...how is it now?

Insanely better...almost tolerable for both us (the term life insurance agent and the client) although still not up to the "enjoyable" range.  We can now quote multiple term life quotes online in under 10 seconds and by "we", I mean "you".  We give you the ability to this all by yourself at your speed and in the comfort of your own home.  Of course, we're a phone call or email away with help, guidance, and just a vote of re-assurance for the plan that interests you since we only quote strong carriers and competitive plans at the best rate.  What about the next step...applying and qualifying for coverage?

The applying is much better as well.  In fact, we can start the process in 10 minutes with just a few basic questions.  That's all it takes.  We can even do it over the phone.  You have no idea how revolutionary this is in our industry.  It's the term life equivalent of levitation.  Does that mean we're all done and the life insurance carriers just take anyone now with only a few questions?  Hardly.  After all, at stake are 100's of thousands of dollars if not millions per policy so what's happened?   They shifted it to the underwriting process.  Traditional term life insurance has always required a para-medical exam where a licensed nurse comes to you, draws blood, and performs a general evaluation.  That's still true but now the real meat and bones of the medical history documentation will be down then by a trained professional which probably makes more sense any way since they have the medical background.  The other big change is the underwriting process is going to take longer.

Once the application and the paramedical exams are complete, you can expect to wait months before a decision is rendered.  What's going on during this time?  The term life carrier is scrutinizing every bit of information they can get their hands on to make sure they are making a good decision or better said, a decision on a good risk.  This can mean more questions and more requests for medical information.  So basically, the process has shifted from the front end to the back.  It's not too bad since you don't need to do much during the back-end underwriting period of time but wait.  If approved and if you submit payment for premium up front, you may be able to lock in the effective date prior to when they actually come back with a decision any way so there's real downside here.  We just feel it's good for you to understand what to expect.  Expectations make the term life underwriting process okay or unbearable and we want you in the first category.

 

 

 

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