What to Expect During the Life Insurance Underwriting Process

The life insurance application is usually followed by the underwriting process, which evaluates risk profiles and calculates premiums. Your risk profile and premiums depend on factors such as age, gender, and health record.

Once you settle on a life insurance company, the agency will send an underwriter to carry out the process, usually taking around five to six weeks. Nonetheless, you can accelerate the process by contacting an insurance broker, who will act as a link between you and the insurance company.

Steps Involved in the Underwriting Process

Medical Information Bureau (MIB) Check

Underwriters utilize an applicant’s medical history to determine the final premiums and establish the medical history. The MIB is a useful resource for preventing fraud as it helps underwriters corroborate information provided by the clients regarding their health history. The MIB resource ensures the privacy of people’s medical history by coding the information and complying with HIPAA regulations. Before you apply different types of life insurance policies, you should access your MIB report to avoid errors, misrepresentations, and omissions in your application.

Application Quality Check

Verification of a life insurance application does not stop at MIB check as the insurance provider reviews the application to ensure that the data is accurate and correct. In most cases, an insurance provider will verify the information through a phone call, which usually takes less than 30 minutes. Accurate answers will ensure that the application process proceeds smoothly, so ensure that you are adequately prepared.

Medical Examination

A thorough medical examination is the last official underwriting step that involves medical checkups. A medical exam is not applicable for simplified and guaranteed life insurance policies, and the applicant relies on the final expense quoters list to determine the premiums. Nonetheless, no-medical-exam life insurance policies usually have higher premiums and low death benefits.

Since insurance companies request the medical exam, you will not incur any costs. The medical examination usually involves body measurements (height, weight, and blood pressure), blood analysis, and drug analysis. Once the medical exam is completed, the physician will share the results with an underwriter.

Attending Physician Statement

An Attending Physician Statement (APS) is not an official step in the underwriting process since it only applies to life insurance applicants with certain medical conditions or issues in their medical reports.

For instance, if you are suffering from a chronic medical condition, you will be required by the insurance provided to submit an APS. The insurance provider relies on APS to determine the level of risk based on the medical condition. The underwriting process will likely prolong the application process since it takes time to get the doctor’s office to approve the request.

Prescription Check

Prescription drug history might impact an applicant’s life insurance application. In fact, prescription drug history can be used by insurance providers to determine whether or not you are eligible for life insurance coverage.

Therefore, during the underwriting process, the insurance provider will check your prescription records and pharmacy history, particularly for higher death benefits. Nonetheless, the underwriter will only ask for your prescription history if there are concerns in your medical reports and APS.

Motor Vehicle Report

The main objective of the underwriting process is to determine the risk profile of a life insurance applicant. The insurance provider usually takes all the steps, including checking your driving history, to get an accurate risk profile.

The motor vehicle report provides detailed information about your driving history for the past seven years. A driving report full of traffic violations, such as speeding and reckless driving tickets, accidents, and DUI convictions, usually results in higher premiums.

Actuarial Tables

Underwriters use two actuarial tables – mortality and build table – to estimate an applicant’s life expectancy based on the health profile, medical history, occupation, and lifestyle. A mortality table statistically determines the age you are likely to die without considering unique health variables, whereas a build table uses your body mass index (BMI) to establish your life expectancy and health status.

Credit System Check

A credit system check can help you get lower premiums if you have a chronic illness or prescription history. An underwriter considers the steps that you are taking to improve your health or prescription history to give you more affordable insurance premiums. Over time, you can reapply for a new life insurance coverage if your health status improves to enjoy much-reduced premiums.


The underwriting process is a crucial step in the life insurance application that involves a series of steps. The duration of the underwriting process usually depends on the steps undertaken, as some life insurance policies don’t require specific steps. Understanding the steps involved in the underwriting process can help you accelerate the life insurance application process.

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