Coronavirus & Life Underwriting

Jimmy Lee |

The Coronavirus has impacted every aspect of life in 2020. Social distancing, face-covering mandates, and limits on gatherings are a part of daily life. Businesses have transformed the way they serve their customers and how their employees work. All of this is true for Life Insurance Companies and their employees, but the Coronavirus has presented them with additional challenges regarding how they underwrite individuals for life insurance.

A large part of life insurance underwriting is the medical underwriting portion based on the proposed insureds medical history, build, blood pressure, cholesterol, and other lab values. That information determines if a proposed insured is the best class, preferred, standard or sub-standard classes. These rates, apart from best class rates, are divided into tobacco and non-tobacco rates. The non-medical portion of life insurance underwriting looks at the proposed insured foreign travel, income and net worth, avocations, and driving history.

Seniors, people with compromised immune systems, and/or medical history can be more vulnerable to the Coronavirus. Naturally, the life insurance industry has to consider that when underwriting individuals for life insurance. Foreign travel is looked at with more scrutiny because some countries have high infection rates.

Life Insurance carriers are postponing applicants with complex health histories with chronic health conditions like heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, and HIV. The older the applicant, the more likely they could be postponed for having a chronic condition. The applicant’s foreign travel can be postponed until the applicant returns to the US and is determined to be clear of the Coronavirus either by test or attesting to no symptoms after a two-week period upon return.