Life Insurance Underwriting


Life Insurance Underwriting

Do you need to go through underwriting for life insurance? Does the underwriting procedure differ from insurer to insurer? Learn the underwriting process for life insurance, time needed, and potential underwriting issues you might encounter.

Does Life Insurance require Underwriting?

Both medical and life insurance products require underwriting, as insurance companies need to understand the policyholder’s health status through underwriting and determine whether to accept their application and their premium. For life insurance, if the chance of the policyholder’s death is higher (e.g. due to older age or chronic illness), the insurance company may reject the application or impose a loading (additional premium) to control the underwriting risk.

Traditional Underwriting Procedures for Life Insurance

Through an agent

Generally speaking, when purchasing life insurance through an agent, there are usually 2 methods of underwriting:

  1. The insurance agent will personally ask the policyholder questions regarding the health status of the insured person, and then submit the answers to the underwriting department for approval.
  2. The policyholder can contact the underwriting clerk by phone. The clerk will read out different health questions to the insured person, who will confirm whether or not they have experienced any adverse health conditions. The answers will then be submitted to the underwriting department for approval.

This process involves a significant amount of manpower and documentation, and therefore takes longer to complete. If necessary, the insurance company may also require the policyholder to undergo a medical examination or request additional supplementary information.

Online Application

When applying for insurance online, the entire underwriting process is conducted online. The insurance company will provide different questions (mostly multiple-choice), and the policyholder can simply answer the questions regarding the health status and personal information of the insured person or themselves (if the policyholder and the insured person are the same).

Generally, the policyholder can directly pass the underwriting process in a short period of time (as fast as 10 minutes). However, if the health condition is more complicated, the underwriting specialist from the insurance company may need to follow up personally and request additional information from the customer to determine whether or not to approve the policy.


Typical Underwriting Questions for Life Insurance

Due to differences in underwriting risks, there are different underwriting questions for different insurance products. For life insurance offered by insurance companies, the underwriting questions mainly focus on the following areas:

  • Gender and age
  • Current or past medical history
  • Whether or not there is a genetic disease/long-term illness
  • Mental health
  • Rehabilitation status/treatment progress (if applicable)
  • Smoking habits

Bowtie only asks 3 questions for the entire underwriting process?

Policyholders can apply for insurance online, with 95% of the questions being multiple-choice. After declaring the health status, Bowtie’s unique underwriting system will provide an instant quote for the insured person, showing the monthly premium, premium for the next 5 years, additional premium or exclusions. However, if the declared medical history cannot be approved by our underwriting system, the case will be reviewed and followed up by an underwriting specialist to determine whether or not to approve the policy.

Bowtie never collects personal information before confirming the monthly premium. Without providing personal information (such as name, identification documents, and credit card), policyholders can use Bowtie’s online underwriting system to find out whether the insured person or themselves (if the policyholder and the insured person are the same) are insurable, without leaving personal information or registering an account.

The traditional underwriting process of insurance companies usually takes about 3 weeks, but Bowtie’s underwriting process can be completed within 5 working days at the fastest!

Next article - How to make a Life Insurance Claim?
How to apply for life insurance claims and how long does it take to payout? Refer to this ultimate claim guideline for detailed instruction.
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