How Financial Advisors Can Advocate in Clients’ Underwriting

by Shawn Sigler

Updated February 21, 2024, at 4:18 PM

In the life insurance brokerage business, it is important for an advisor to align with a team of brokerage underwriters who advocate on the client’s behalf, helping to negotiate offers and navigating underwriting challenges.

Having your brokerage underwriter, sales consultant and case manager all fighting for you and your client to obtain the best coverage available in the life industry is paramount.

Survivorship Underwriting Case Study

We once had a survivorship case that was assessed at Table 2 for the male due to an abnormal stress test, and Uninsurable for the female as we were unable to obtain any hematology records. There was a mention of thrombocytopenia history in her records. We appealed both offers with the following:

For the male, though the stress test was technically abnormal, we “argued” that we have an active, asymptomatic individual, the stress test depression was only 1 mm, those depressions occurred at peak exercise, and the stress echo portion was normal with no evidence of ischemia. After reviewing and discussing our arguments with the chief underwriter, the offer was changed from Table 2 to Standard.

For the female, after reviewing the records, a diagnosis for thrombocytopenia just did not make sense and we felt there was a mistake. We went back to the MD requesting a letter in regards to that history and indeed there was a mistake.  The offer was changed from Uninsurable to Preferred Plus.

The advisor was able to place the case and obtain the coverage for the clients.  If we had stopped with the original offers, we wouldn’t have placed the case and no one would have been happy.

Survivorship Case Study #2

Another case was approved Table 2 due to a serum creatinine level of 1.4. Our underwriting team reviewed the labs and noted there was hemolysis, and it took 5 days from the time the labs were drawn and the time made it to the lab for processing. Both things that could impact the serum creatinine. The carrier underwriter took our arguments to their Medical Director and offer changed from Table 2 to the applied for Preferred.

Once again, our underwriting team found an opportunity to improve this case by working with the carrier and finding room for improvement.  Another win for the advisor, FIG and most importantly the client.

Tips to Become a Better Field Underwriter

Provide a Cover Letter
    • The more detail the better
    • Don’t hide medical or financial details, the more a brokerage underwriter knows, the better.
    • Talk about the client’s lifestyle. You’d be surprised at how much weight that can carry at the various insurance companies.
Set Proper Client Expectations
    • With large, complex cases, the underwriting process isn’t overnight
    • Make sure you let the client know that it might take a few weeks to several weeks for the process to unfold
    • Under promise and over deliver

Keep Reading: Two Main Issues with The Life Insurance Underwriting Process

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