By By Jessica Caracofe, R.N., Director of Underwriting Innovation, MIBMarch 30, 2022
Prior to joining MIB, I spent many years underwriting risk within distribution for life and LTC products. The process often felt like trudging through a complex maze, blindfolded. As rules and requirements continuously evolve, staying connected to just ONE carrier’s guidelines (let alone the other 20), was becoming its own full time job. The good news is that technologies are available that can help mitigate these challenges while benefiting carriers, distributors, producers and, ultimately, customers.
The expectations of an underwriter within distribution are relatively consistent:
What is NOT consistent is the minefield of potential "surprises" you are expected to anticipate and mitigate along the way. But, that’s a different story…
Many cases begin as an ‘I-Got-A-Guy (or Gal)’ phone call or email from the producer where basic facts about a case are shared. An informal application may be submitted, offering more detail about a client’s history. Or, a formal case hits your desk as ‘other-than-applied’ and you are expected to ‘fix it’ or ‘shop it’.
Once the field underwriter gathers as much information as the producer will tolerate, we need to consider the next path forward:
This process often requires consulting various pages of field guides, spreadsheets, and multiple reinsurance manuals. For high premium or critical ‘relationship stake’ cases, the underwriter makes calls to carriers to help guide the likelihood of a final assessment. Also factored into decisions are COVID restrictions, product and pricing considerations, table- shave programs, a carrier’s financial strength, requirement parameters, depth of relationships, consistency with underwriting offers, and the many quirks of numerous underwriting programs. Simple? No.
Proper field underwriting can be labor-intensive, but it is a VITAL STEP in the process, and when done well, greatly improves the likelihood of successfully placing a case. Streamlining the underwriting process at the point of sale would be a win for distributors, carriers, producers, and customers.
Accelerated underwriting programs are readily available for processing quick, clean cases and experienced underwriters will continue to work closely with distribution on large, complex scenarios. But, there is a desperate need for a solution that addresses the cases in between.
A multi-carrier underwriting rules engine that goes beyond field guides, dives deeper into impairments and proprietary rules, allowing the field to estimate rate classes (preferred through sub-standard), in real-time, would be a game-changer.
The Paperless Solutions Group eValuate℠ multi-carrier rules rules engine is a turnkey solution for companies looking to automate more than just field guide data. The platform is built to ingest underwriting criteria and estimate offers for multiple medical impairments, comorbidities, avocation, occupation, driving history, and more. It offers carriers the opportunity to provide real-time guidance on cases outside of standard and preferred classes, with the autonomy to decide when it is necessary to “refer to underwriting”.
eValuate closes the gap between the super clean, and super complex cases and has the power to innovate the antiquated field underwriting process. If you haven’t seen its capabilities, you can take a quick tour by watching this video.
For more information, reach out to us at PSGinfo@mib.com.
Jessica Caracofe is the Director of Underwriting Innovations for MIB. Prior to joining MIB in 2021, she spent over 15 years underwriting in life insurance distribution. Specializing in impaired risk medical underwriting, Jessica also supported multiple business initiatives, including marketing, management, education, strategy and industry representation. Her deep industry knowledge is key in supporting MIB’s business initiatives. Formerly a member of the AHOU Program and Education Committees, Jessica went on to serve as AVP Program of Development, and is currently the VP of Marketing and Membership on AHOU's Executive Council.