What is Underwriting?



What is underwriting?

Underwriting is the process of gathering information about individuals who apply for insurance, deciding if they qualify for insurance coverage and what premium is appropriate.  Underwriting your application can take from 15 days up to 90 days depending if all your requirements are received by the insurance company.  A delay in your physician returning your medical records can lead to a delay in underwriting, a delay in completing your medical exam will also lead to a delay in underwriting.  


What information will be used in the underwriting process?

The insurance company will request information about your past insurance history from the Medical Information Bureau (MIB). To find out more about your MIB, visit their Web site at www.mib.com.  In addition to the information you provide on the application, a telephone interviewer may call you to obtain details of your medical history. Other questionnaires and/or physical examination may be necessary.  The insurance company also may need to review medical history from your personal physician or other facilities that have provided you with medical care.


How will you know if you need to get a medical or paramedical exam and how is the appointment made?

Depending on your age and the amount of coverage you apply for will determine the medical underwriting requirements.  Usually the older you are and the more coverage you apply for will require more stringent requirements.  When the amount of coverage is determined an examining service will call you and schedule a convenient date, time and place for you.  You may choose to have the appointment completed at your home, work or a paramedical office near you.


What should you expect during your exam?

The examiner will ask you questions about your medical history, record your height and weight and check your blood pressure and pulse.  You will provide a urine specimen; depending on your age and amount of insurance, the examiner may take a blood sample, a urine sample, a chest x-ray or run an electrocardio- gram (EKG).

If you gave your medical history information over the phone to an interviewer, the examiner will ask you to review the answers that you gave.

The appointment usually lasts 20 to 30 minutes.  It will not be necessary for you to disrobe.


Why is a blood test necessary?

The blood test will provide important medical information such as your cholesterol, triglyceride and blood sugar levels.  The levels indicate cardiovascular and diabetes risk factors.  The insurance company will also check liver and kidney functions as well.  The blood test also includes AIDS antibody testing, where permitted.

Ina addition to the contribution the blood test makes to the underwriting process, it is of great value to you as you receive the results or your lab work by written request.


Preparation for your exam. 

1. Get a good night sleep the night before your appointment. 

2. Avoid drinking coffee, tea or drinks with caffeine for at least two hours prior to your appointment.

3. Limit salt intake and high cholesterol foods 24 hours before your appointment. 

4. Do not engage in strenuous physical activities 24 hours before your appointment.  Otherwise,

increased elevations will occur with your total bilirubin and creatine levels.

5. Do not smoke or use tobacco products otherwise you will be issued smoker rates.

Advise your paramedical examiner regarding any medication you are taking, even if non-prescription medications. 

Have available your physician's names, addresses, dates of past visits, names of any  prescribed medications and any information regarding injury and major illness during the previous five years. 

If you belong to Kaiser or any other prepaid medical plan, have your medical record number available. 
















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Copyright 2001 Kaplan Management and Insurance Services

Last modified: Wednesday, January 02, 2008