Carriers

There is no choice but to change – Stat!

by Troy Hartman on March 6, 2017

I have an analogy that I have been using more often lately. It goes like this: A critically injured man is rushed into the emergency room and the doctor needs to run tests to save his life so he yells, “FICO score, stat!” It usually gets a laugh or two, but the very real issue of undermining the value of vital health data in our industry is not funny at all. The current state of our business that elicits this anecdote is just one of the reasons we are evolving our offerings and launching a significant enhancement to our Policy Express process.

three circlesThe new Policy Express workflow—Policy Express 2.0—will continue to push our industry towards a more consumer-oriented process that’s quicker and provides a more individualized approach to risk determination. Not only is it more accurate and efficient, it also has the best opportunity of resulting in the best premium offer for each applicant. Consumers benefit from our process that doesn’t rely solely on lifestyle information versus health data to determine their health status.

It’s a win-win. We provide the requirements and protective value to give consumers better, fairer pricing. Insurance companies receive the needed health information to price competitively while still protecting their company’s applicant mortality risk and ultimately long-term future. Since life insurance isn’t just for the ultra-healthy or ultra-wealthy, new processes must be transparent and fair for all parties.

Utilizing the powerful combination of health, behavioral, and self-reported health history data, Policy Express 2.0 positions us all to build the most precise risk profiles for applicants while still achieving a faster, more personalized risk assessment. The real-time triage workflow provides health data that can be used to quickly approve, decline or send applicants through to next steps of laboratory testing and Risk IQ scoring. It also helps in finding the “Hidden Healthy” and creating robust profiles for applicants who need more detailed assessments.

I will always put more trust and faith in underwriting decisions obtained from results that include a complete health analysis with laboratory testing. But as we built Policy Express 2.0., it made the radical industry shift away from the proven standard more apparent to me. Ultimately, we have to ask ourselves if these changes are good for us, our industry, and applicants. I want to spend more time addressing some of these new concerns in more detail in a future blog article.  However, for now excuse my spoiler alert, but there is no question we all are going to have to change… “Stat!”

Knowing the value of improved fasting guidelines

by ExamOne on February 13, 2017

In our continued effort to improve the applicant experience while adhering to the latest medical standards, we have updated our fasting guidelines for life insurance exams. Our recommendation to clients and applicants is that fasting is no longer necessary before a life insurance blood or urine collection. This recommendation is based on evidence that shows the minimal impact that fasting plays on the standard life insurance laboratory panels. This update not only allows greater flexibility for applicants to complete exams throughout the day, it also follows the medical community’s guidelines for fasting.

Historically, the insurance industry required fasting because it was believed to produce more accurate glucose and lipid tests. When we switched to A1c testing on all specimens in 2016, this eliminated the need for fasting because A1c is not impacted by a recent meal, as glucose is a more reliable determination of long-term glucose control. Additionally, clinical research as well as our own internal fasting studies show that triglyceride is the only other analyte affected by a recent meal. Armed with the “hours fasted” information, underwriters can make a sound decision on each applicant.

For any additional clinical support of this recommendation, see below references and sources.

“Fasting times showed little association with lipid subclass levels in a community-based population, which suggests that fasting for routine lipid levels is largely unnecessary.”

Source: Davinder Sidhu, Christopher Naugler. Fasting Time and Lipid Levels in a Community-Based Population.  Archives of Internal Medicine. 2012; 172(22): 1707-1710.

“The exceedingly small gain of information from a fasting blood test likely does not offset the logistical constraints put on patients, laboratories, and doctors for the procedure.”

Source: (Editorial) Dr. J. Michael Gaziano. Comparison of a Novel Method vs the Friedewald Equation for Estimating Low-Density Lipoprotein Cholesterol Levels From the standard Lipid Profile.  Archives of Internal Medicine. 2012; 172(22): 1705-1706.

“Most lipid levels differed minimally when measurements were performed nonfasting or fasting, with clinically insignificant changes; negligible changes for high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, slight changes (up to 8 mg/dL) for total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and non-HDL cholesterol; and modest changes (up to 25mg/dL) for triglycerides.”

Source: Samia Mora. Nonfasting for Routine Lipid Testing From Evidence to Action. JAMA Internal Medicine. July 2016; Volume 176 Number 7, 1005.

“Lipid levels at most change minimally in response to normal food intake in individuals in the general population. Furthermore, nonfasting lipid profiles predicted increased risk of cardiovascular events.”

Source: Ann Langsted, Jacob J. Freiberg, Borge G. Nordestgaard. Fasting and Nonfasting lipid levels: influence of normal food intake on lipids, lipoproteins, apolipoproteins, and cardiovascular risk prediction. Circulation. 2008; 118: 2047-2056.

“Measurements of hemoglobin A1c [HbA1c] more accurately identify persons at risk for clinical outcomes than the commonly used measurement of fasting glucose.”

Source: Hemoglobin A1c Outperforms Fasting Glucose for Risk Prediction. John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health , JHSPH.edu,. March 4, 2010. http://www.jhsph.edu/news/news-releases/2010/selvin-blood-test.html?source%3Drss

For additional support for this decision, please see our “To Fast or Not to Fast” white paper or contact Betsy Sears, Executive Vice President, Laboratory Strategy and Sales, at Betsy.R.Sears@ExamOne.com, or Dr. Jim Palmier, Medical Director at James.A.Palmier@ExamOne.com with additional questions.


This does not change any specific carrier fasting guidelines. 

 

Flexible contact center solutions

February 6, 2017 Carriers

You need answers. Literally. ExamOne’s contact center solution has specialized in collecting consumer information for nearly 20 years in an efficient and quality-controlled environment. From complex surveys and questionnaires to friendly reminders, our experienced team and advanced technology can get you answers. Some industries require a more comprehensive contact center partner to create customized calling […]

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Welcoming busy applicants with choice and convenience

January 18, 2017 Applicants

Location, location, location. This is a common catch phrase in real estate, but it’s also becoming more important to life insurance applicants as well. In today’s busy and very mobile society, consumers—including life insurance applicants—want options that best meet their on-the-go lifestyles. To meet this growing consumer demand, ExamOne gives applicants a choice when deciding […]

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Make every holiday season happy: give the gift of life insurance

December 21, 2016 Applicants

Do you remember all the gifts you have given or received during the holidays? Probably not. Gift cards, sweaters and iPhones can only go so far in life. If you still have some last minute presents to buy, stop shopping for forgettable items and give something outside the (gift) box. Though you may not find […]

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Eliminating paper reduces errors and improves turnaround time

December 14, 2016 Carriers

Over the past decade, business processes have evolved from tedious paperwork to streamlined digital workflows. Although this digital shift has revolutionized many industries, change has been slow among life insurers. Paper processes are prone to errors since issues like unreadable handwriting and inadvertently missed questions are common. Reliable, consistent data is required to determine insurance […]

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Ask the Experts: Why A1c is the gold standard of diabetes testing

November 15, 2016 Ask The Experts

November is National Diabetes Month. Earlier this year we became the first laboratory in the insurance industry to update our insurance profile to include HbA1c (commonly referred to as A1c) testing for all life insurance applicants. By upgrading to this test, we will help insurers identify more applicants who are either diabetic or who may […]

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Committed to Canada

November 8, 2016 #Committed2 You

ExamOne has been the life insurance industry’s laboratory for more than 40 years. Although based in the United States, ExamOne is proud of our extensive, yet still growing, Canadian presence. In order to fulfill our commitment to the industry, we provide our international market with comprehensive testing and unmatched customer service. Our dedicated staff ensures […]

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The growing diabetes crisis and what it means for life insurers

November 3, 2016 Carriers

The diabetic crisis continues to grow around the world, but despite its prevalence, it remains an almost invisible disease. The month of November is dedicated to bringing awareness to this chronic illness and a sense of urgency about this growing public health crisis. According to the World Health Organization, the number of people with diabetes […]

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Path to opportunity: Life insurance products may be infrequent purchases, but the need to protect one’s loved ones is daily.

October 20, 2016 Carriers

In our recent blog series on the “paths of opportunity” for the life insurance industry, we have addressed the applicant focus and the importance of data for individualized underwriting. Now we will focus on the need for consumers to better understand their own wellness. As I travel the country speaking to clients individually and at […]

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