Well? What’s The Verdict?

Insurance company underwriters are a bit like television crime drama profilers.  They have specific tools they use, along with your application, to figure you out, to decide if you are insurable, and what kind of risk you present.

These tools may include the following:

  • Physician or hospital medical records
  • Blood, urine or saliva testing
  • Prescription profiles
  • Telephone interviews
  • Financial information justifying the amount of insurance being applied for
  • Vocation and avocation risk information
This information is held in strict confidence; underwriters are professional, highly trained specialists.  They interpret the information in order to develop a risk profile.  In the case of a life insurance applicant, the profile related to life expectancy.
What is, and what is not, an acceptable risk varies from insurer to insurer.  Underwriting standards are not the same for all carriers and change as life expectancies lengthen,  medical techniques improve and claims histories are analyzed.   There are common categories, however:
  • Preferred: You are a better than average risk – your health is good; you have no dangerous hobbies or history of health problems.  You are charged the lowest premium rate.
  • Standard: You are a typical, average risk, and will pay the standard rate.
  • Rated: You pose an above average risk.  Perhaps you still smoke, you have untreated high blood pressure or you sky-dive. You will pay a higher premium.
  • Declined: You are rated as uninsurable. You are declined coverage of any kind with that carrier.
Keep in mind that being rated or declined is not necessarily a forever thing.  Your rating as an insurance risk may change, which means the premium will come down, should you lose that weight, quit smoking, get your cholesterol under control – you see where this is going.  


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