A day in the life of a risk assessment insurance specimen: From blood draw to delivered results, specimens are sent through a detailed process to ensure specimen integrity

by Lindsey Amaya on February 21, 2020

A blood draw for a life insurance application is simple, but once the specimen arrives by air, courier or commercial delivery at the testing laboratory, things get quite impressive behind the scenes! Here’s a look from start to finish at how some underwriting decisions start with a simple blood draw. 

risk assessment specimen collection

Specimens are obtained during a paramedical exam at an applicant’s home, work or exam site. The specimen’s journey starts when a trained examiner places a barcode on the specimen tube and all necessary documents including the kit box. Each barcode is specific to that life insurance applicant and helps to ensure all the required tests are reported back on the correct applicant.

specimen transport

Specimens make their way to our Quest Diagnostics laboratory in Lenexa, KS or St. Louis, MO by courier, mail or plane. Upon arrival, a laboratory technician scans the kit’s airbill, automatically loading the information into our computerized tracking system.

specimen tracking

Once checked-in, the specimen is unboxed by the technician, who carefully ensures that all specimens include the applicant’s first and last names. All identifiers on all tubes and kits must match both the applicant and the lab requisition. As the technician scans the barcodes on the individual specimens, they are officially loaded into inventory. At the same time, the technician inspects the condition of each kit component and records it in our system.

risk assessment specimen testing

A conveyor belt speeds specimens into our state-of-the-art testing laboratory. Each specimen type is routed to the proper analyzer; our laboratory’s equipment allows for both speedy and accurate results.A portion of the specimen stays in refrigerated storage at our facility just in case additional testing is needed: 28 days for blood, and 21 days for urine. As soon as all testing is completed to the insurance company’s requirements, results are transmitted as requested to be reviewed for underwriting.

result reporting

Typically, 24 to 48 hours after specimen arrival at our lab, results are received by the carrier (depending on the test profile). For carriers participating in our Inside Look® program, their applicants typically receive their online laboratory results 5-7 days after their paramedical exam.

Every day, thousands of life insurance specimens complete this journey from draw to laboratory testing to results delivery. Behind every one of them is a real person looking out for their family.

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