Underwriting concerns lead client to quit the process
Shelley MacIntyre, CHS
WE PUT critical illness insurance in place for my client’s husband. At the time, that’s what was most important to her— making sure his was in place and his financial plan was in order. She didn’t want to start her own.
A year later, she wanted to look at critical illness, and the first thing she wondered was why we didn’t put hers in place when we put her husband’s in place. Clients have selective memories.
We proceeded to move forward with her policy, but when it came back from underwriting, she had an exclusion due to something she hadn’t revealed that came out in the medical exam. So she decided, “I’m not going to get it because there’s a 70% chance it won’t pay out now.”
I dug deeper with her to find out where she came up with her statistics, because it was one illness out of the more than 20 that were covered. She really didn’t have a reason except that it hit a nerve with her, so she decided she wasn’t going to get coverage at all. I tried to explain the true statistics to her, but her mind was made up.
I found her decision very frustrating because she still needed the coverage. But because the underwriting process took so long, she had forgotten the importance of the product. I feel I could have done things differently in keeping the lines of communication open.
I found her decision very frustrating because she still needed the coverage. But because the underwriting process took so long, she had forgotten the importance of the product.
I didn’t realize when we first started the process that a health issue was going to come out later. Clients often will say they are totally healthy. When you dig deeper, you may find out they’re on blood pressure medication or they’re diabetic, so you ask them about it.
They normally respond with something like, “Well, yes, I have those things, but I’m totally healthy. They’re all under control.” I don’t think they really realize the implications, so it requires a lot of follow-up questions.
I definitely learned after this to spend time with clients and communicate through the whole underwriting process. I make sure that if it’s going to take a couple of months for underwriting to go through, I communicate at least every couple of weeks with the client.
This situation reaffirmed to me that the communication piece is essential.