"Understanding Life Underwriting: A Primer for Health Underwriters" was prepared by Hank for presentation at the 2010 LOMA Health Underwriting Study Group. Hank was unable to attend that meeting and a part of this lecture was presented by his absence by health underwriting guru Sue Nelson.
We are posting Hank's original slides in the hope that they will be of help to health underwriters who are (or may one day be) considering a new underwriting career on the life side.
It is incumbent upon those who set underwriting practices for life insurers to do so in a manner which best accommodates the broad mandates of senior management as they relate to risk appraisal.
This paper, building upon the evidence presented in its 2007 predecessor, makes an overwhelming argument for using NT-proBNP as both a screening and reflexive test. It is also clearly shown that NT-proBNP should replace routine screening with resting electrocardiograms and treadmill tests.
Heart disease is a leading cause of death. The efforts to identify insurance seekers at high risk of premature cardiac-related demise claim the lion’s share of precious dollars allo- cated to medical-risk selection.
Now,life underwriting is blessed with a new marker for cardiac impair- ments. It is totally unlike—and vastly superior to—any test we have ever had to address this vital aspect of risk assessment.
If I were responsible for training new underwriters, the most important concept I would emphasize to them – again and again, until it was uppermost in their mind every time they looked at a case – is CONTEXT.
CONTEXT is defined as all of the factors which come together to put a given impairment, risk-related scenario or individual unfavorable finding into full insurability perspective.
When teleunderwriting began to disseminate in the late 1990s, life insurance underwriting began a literal metamorphosis. The net effect has transformed risk assessment more in the last decade than it changed over the second half of the last century. For compelling reasons, this process will accelerate in 2010 and beyond.
This essay is one underwriter’s observations regarding aspects of the Association of Home Ofﬁce Underwriters (AHOU) which may be deemed worthy of rethinking and, if so, perhaps modifying on some basis, now or in the future. A wide range of topics is discussed, with the sole purpose being to offer up thoughts for consideration by AHOU members. The author hopes what is said here will be received in the spirit intended.
Just a year ago, one would have had comparatively little incentive to write this commentary…which is perhaps the best way of saying that our underwriting environment is now changing dramatically due to the confluence of a number of factors.
“Faster, cheaper, better” has been the mantra of life insurer senior management for years now where risk appraisal in concerned. This has propelled teleunderwriting into the forefront as our paradigm of choice and also fueled the embrace of rapid-acquisition assets like Rx profiles and MVRs in America.