Carriers

Applicants want to see our commitment to them

by Troy Hartman on June 15, 2017

Transparency:  characterized by visibility or accessibility of information especially concerning business practices.

I recently came across an article on my LinkedIn news feed posted by LIMRA – “What kind of experience do consumers want when buying life insurance.” I was excited to gain this applicant insight because:

1) The MIB index showed three consecutive months of decline (Jan – March 2017)
2) If our industry is shifting, we need to understand how the consumer’s expectations are shifting too
– or are they?

3) I thought it may be a “trick” question, because I thought obvious answer would be , “A pleasant and
convenient experience.”

So I read it and here it is: Consumers want transparency – the same way they would if they were buying other retail products or travel. This got me wondering, “Are we, as an industry, being transparent enough to life insurance applicants?” And my answer is, “No.” In March, I wrote about how our industry is changing fast. This article confirmed that being more transparent is a great example of how we can change for the better.

Here are three reasons I feel we can be more transparent to those in the market for life insurance, making their decision for this important investment easy and simple.

Communicate the affordability of life insurance

The 2017 Barometer study, conducted by LIMRA and Life Happens, showed four in 10 millenials overestimate the cost of a term-life policy by five times the actual cost. Why do consumers think life insurance is so expensive, when in reality, people spend more on cell phones and eating out, versus the monthly premium of life insurance?

The younger someone is, the more affordable life insurance typically is. This is because they are more likely to be healthy with fewer existing/pre-existing health conditions. Help them see the importance of the inexpensive investment today to protect their loved ones tomorrow.

 

Stress the need for life insurance, regardless of an applicant’s age.

One reason you may hear an applicant doesn’t need life insurance is because they don’t need it at their age. AFLAC provided a great myth vs fact infographic on why life insurance is good at any age. Even a small term-policy can help a family or loved ones cover accrued debt in the event of an individual’s death. You don’t have to be a certain age, or married with kids to take out a life insurance policy.

 

 

Share the benefits of having a paramedical exam

Some applicants may not understand how having a life insurance exam could actually help them when applying for life insurance. Some may not even know that is an option or what it even entails. Let’s educate them and let them know that by getting this simple health exam, they are likely to receive a better premium if they are a healthy non-smoker. Additionally, when they have their health exam, they receive their laboratory results which makes them more aware of their health – a transparency of its own. While having an exam may not be necessary for all types of policies, the applicant should understand how one could help them.

 

Let’s come together to be more transparent. Whether it’s discussing the true cost of life insurance, or helping an individual obtain the best price for his or her policy, it is up to us to be transparent during the life insurance process. Seeing eye-to-eye with applicants helps us maintain and build trust with consumers.

This June, we’re committed to raising awareness about men’s health. Insurers have a unique opportunity to support applicant health because of the health discovery process during a life insurance application. Prevalence of chronic diseases, like heart disease and diabetes, continues to grow in the United States. In 2015, 191 million Americans had at least one chronic disease, and 75 million had two or more. It is expected there will be more than 83 million Americans with three or more chronic diseases by 20301.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death for men in the United States. Key risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol and smoking, of which 49% of Americans have at least one of these contributing factors2. However, according to the American Heart Association, half of men who die suddenly of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms3.

Did You Know: Chronic disease is on the rise, in 2015191 million Americans had at least one chronic disease, and 75 million had two or more.

Incorporating a health exam into the life insurance application process helps insurers identify unknown or undiagnosed conditions in applicants. Oftentimes, applicants are unaware they are at risk of a serious disease and, as a result, do not disclose that on the medical history portion of the application. In a recent study conducted by ExamOne, it was found that non-disclosure of heart disease was nearly 94% in male applicants. This high nondisclosure rate may be a result of an intentionally undisclosed medical history, but it is more likely from undiagnosed disease risk of heart failure and left ventricular heart function. This would only be found by laboratory testing or more costly cardiac testing. Download the full study on applicant non-disclosure.

Additionally, insurers can support applicant health awareness by offering laboratory results to the applicant as part of the application process, such as ExamOne’s Inside Look® online laboratory results. Laboratory results can identify risk factors applicants may not be aware they have and encourage them to have a valuable conversation with their physician about ways to manage or improve their risk.

Show your support for men’s health by wearing blue this month, and by empowering applicants to take control of their own health with actionable insights obtained through a health exam.

Learn more about Men’s Health Month at MensHealthMonth.org.

 

 


  1. National Factsheet on the Impact of Chronic Disease in the United States. http://www.fightchronicdisease.org. http://www.fightchronicdisease.org/latest-news/new-national-data-shows-projected-total-cost-chronic-disease-2016-2030-america-42. Accessed May 22, 2017.
  2. CDC. Million Hearts™: strategies to reduce the prevalence of leading cardiovascular disease risk factors. United States, 2011. MMWR 2011;60(36):1248–51.
  3. Roger VL, Go AS, Lloyd-Jones DM, Benjamin EJ, Berry JD, Borden WB, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2012 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation. 2012;125(1):e2–220.

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