Unlike “Terminator” movies, the machines in question here are the so-called “underwriting engines.” These “straight-through processors” have been around for years. Yet despite smashing success in the United Kingdom and other markets, they have languished in North America.
This appears to be on the cusp of changing now, due to the confluence of (at least) five key factors..
To determine insurability of applicants age 65 and over on the same basis as we do at younger ages all but guarantees a botched job.
This is because factors that we know contribute to premature death in young and middle-aged adults differ dramatically from those linked to excess geriatric mortality. These examples give clear evidence of this too-often-overlooked reality.
Cardiovascular events are the #1 cause of mortality (and morbidity).
Our traditional screening approach to cardiovascular disease has elements that confer value. But there are also prevalent screening modalities that have considerable expense and delay baggage, and may also be overvalued when compared to more progressive alternatives.
While we underwriters do not get directly involved in the sales process for the most part, there are likely some advantages to accrue to us if we suggest some “angles,” if you will, that help our producers make the value of CI policy ownership clear to prospective customers.
This is one approach that I think has merit, especially in the USA.
“In the literature, there is still a pervasive lack of recognition between skeletal muscle injury and ALT elevation, which has led to the unsubstantiated conclusion that serum aminotransferase elevations are due to liver injury...”
Rahul A. Nathwani et al.
Division of Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases
University of Southern California School of Medicine Hepatology
For much of this underwriter’s 30 years of practice, he had to endure being denounced as head of “the sales prevention department” by angry producers who tired of waiting weeks (if not months) for a “thumbs up” on new business.
Those days will soon be gone…forever.
Who is THE ENEMY WITHIN?
“He” has no one name, no essential gender.
What “he” has is the incredibly untimely capacity to rapaciously rob your company of its future…and compelling evidence suggests this is indeed what is coming to pass across the global life and health industry.
In underwriting, we are seeing an increasing number of cases of chronic hepatitis C and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (especially nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, NASH) wherein the proposed insured has not had a sufﬁcient clinical workup to determine if advanced liver pathology (signiﬁcant ﬁbrosis, cirrhosis) is present.
This is a key determination regarding insurability and the absence of this information has forced us to take uncertain actions…certainly insuring some who are bad risks while postponing others who are insurable.