Underwriting: What happens after you apply for critical illness insurance?

You’ve agreed critical illness insurance is the right fit for your financial security plan, you’ve worked with your advisor to determine the right level of protection and you’ve completed your application – now what? Well, before you’re officially covered, the insurance company carefully looks at your application – this process is called underwriting.

Your application helps your advisor and the underwriters at your insurance provider learn more about you and understand your medical background and financial protection needs. Underwriters review your application to ensure they have a sufficient amount of information from you before they proceed. This information includes medical, financial and other personal information. Ultimately, buying critical illness insurance is a very personal decision; the information required is so personal because the insurance you buy is specific to you.

The application process is not only about getting a clear picture of your medical background and financial protection needs, but also understanding exactly how much protection you might be eligible for based on your individual circumstances.

Then, it’s time for some waiting.

Wait... waiting? 

Before underwriting:  

  • Meet with your advisor
  • Complete the application

Underwriting:  

  • Underwriters review the application
  • Company analyzes your medical and family history, and other personal information
  • Additional information requests occur (if necessary)
  • Underwriting is completed
  • Decision is made

After underwriting:  

  • If approved, advisor delivers contract for you to sign

Once your information is collected, underwriting can begin. During this process, your insurance company analyzes your medical history and personal circumstances. This process can take some time; sometimes it may take a couple of weeks – or even a couple months – but it’s vital. The underwriters take time to ensure they fully understand your medical and family background, and they may request basic medical tests to be completed. The great thing about most critical illness insurance policies is that you’re entering into a contract with the insurance company – meaning neither of you can change the contract without the other agreeing to the changes – so it’s important to take the time to get the terms right.

Once the underwriting process is complete, it’s decision time. The insurance company looks at the results of underwriting and determines whether or not to approve your application. While most applications are approved, not everyone qualifies for insurance. Typically, your advisor knows how underwriters make decisions, and your advisor will be open with you during the application process so you understand why your application may or may not be approved. Sometimes, an application is approved at a higher cost than what your advisor can quote for you, which is usually due to your or your family’s medical history, but this may be much better than not having the option for insurance at all.

Once approved, the final step in your insurance application process involves you signing your completed contract to verify its accuracy. This is done during a final visit with your advisor, at which point you are insured and you and your insurance company each keep a copy of your signed contract.