UNDERWRITING UPDATE: Electronic Health Records Successes

UNDERWRITING UPDATE: COVID – 19
May 12, 2020

UNDERWRITING UPDATE: Electronic Health Records Successes

Good afternoon!

As we continue to focus on providing excellent service and optimal results for our clients in these challenging times, I want to update you with some of our early successes with underwriting on the strength of Electronic Health Records (EHR). As I mentioned in my last communication, EHR has been the primary response of the life insurance industry to difficulties in obtaining exams and medical records. Companies like Human API have partnered with insurance carriers to work directly with proposed insureds to gain access to EHR via patient portals – the client authorizes Human API to view their chart (providing their login information in the process), and Human API pulls the information from the patient portal, eliminates duplicate material and billing information, and provides a summary to the insurer.

Though a number of carriers have established this relationship, we are currently seeing the most success with Prudential. Though Prudential is capable of using accelerated underwriting to approve cases for up to $1M in face amount for clients 60 and younger, the actual application of this type of program becomes less frequent the closer to 60 the insured is. That said, we had a recent case where a 58 year old applied for insurance and whose exam was to be delayed by a month due to COVID. Prudential quickly pivoted, asking if the proposed insured would work with Human API to provide EHR access (the client had disclosed an annual physical within the last 12 months). The client provided the access, Prudential was provided with the EHR, and they approved the client at Preferred rates shortly thereafter – 3+ weeks before the exam could have taken place!

I should note that the client was “limited” to Preferred rates due to the build as measured at her doctor’s appointment. Though she has lost a few pounds in the interim, there is no way to measure the loss – the insurer has to work with the information that it can access. Likewise, in another recent case, Prudential used the same system to quickly approve a client at Standard Plus rates (in this instance, the limiting factor was the blood pressure reading from last year’s appointment). These clients are now presented with a decision – accept the policy that was issued in a speedy and non-invasive manner, or delay for an exam that could potentially change the rates for the better (or for the worse).

The upshot here is that the system is not perfect, but it is another tool in our arsenal for getting business written and paid for in a changing world that is filled with unknowns. Without the exams and medical records, we (and you) are not in much of a position to argue with the result provided – but we can take some measure of comfort in the fact that a speedy result is now easier to come by. As with so many other things, there is a trade-off between speed and accuracy – and you will be on the front line of helping the client determine which is in his/her best interest.

With your clients’ minds increasingly focused on health, family, and the need for protecting both, I for one would encourage a route where coverage is provided quickly at this junction. We can always review and attempt to re-write with full underwriting down the road when the crisis has passed – and the client will have coverage in hand at that time.

Best,

Jonathan Theys
Underwriting Director
Duncan Advisor Resources – Brokerage General Agency
A LifeMark Partner
311 Main Street, Irwin, PA 15642
T 800.517.9901 x2116  F 804.482.2979

www.duncanar.com

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