• 3-Minute Article
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  • Sep 12, 2017

Navigating the Life Insurance Application Process

This step-by-step guide details what applicants can expect throughout the application process – and why each step is important.

4 Steps for the Life Insurance Application Process

From interviews and applications to physical exams, the process of applying for life insurance through a financial professional involves a series of steps. Each of those steps is key to putting a policy in place that meets your family’s needs. The underwriting process used to determine coverage and premium typically takes three to four weeks. Knowing what to expect at each step can help demystify the application process and make it more manageable.

Here’s a breakdown of those steps, along with an explanation of the roles that the applicant and their financial professional play.

Life Insurance Application Process: Complete Application

Complete your application to tell the insurer about yourself
After reviewing goals and insurance needs with a financial professional, they can help determine the life insurance that’s best-suited to your circumstances. The next step is to complete the application, which can be done with a financial professional. The applicant provides information about their life and general health, including:

  • Medical conditions
  • Medical professionals and medical facilities they’ve seen or visited in the past five years
  • Medications and supplements they take  (frequency and dosage)
  • Family medical history
  • Tobacco, alcohol, and drug use
  • Profession and income
  • Hobbies (activities like bungee jumping, for example, come with different amounts of risk)

The insurance company uses this information to determine:

  • Whether the applicant qualifies as insurable
  • The amount of coverage they’re willing to offer
  • The premium the applicant will pay for that coverage


Life Insurance Application Process: Information Gathering

Provide supplemental information to ensure accuracy
After the application is completed and submitted, the applicant may be asked to provide additional financial information, such as recent tax returns. Follow-ups help the company:

  • Fill in or verify details from the initial application
  • Ensure that the coverage indicated in the policy application is appropriate

Take your paramedical exam (if necessary) to help determine your premium
As part of the application, a paramedic may schedule an appointment at the applicant’s home or office to:

  • Check height, weight, blood pressure and pulse
  • Take blood and urine samples
  • Administer an electrocardiogram

This exam checks for factors that could lead to potential health issues — or the absence of those factors, which could help the applicant secure a better premium. Applicants are entitled to copies of the lab and exam results.

Life Insurance Application Process: Underwriter Review

Await the underwriter review
An underwriter, who is an employee of the insurance company, is responsible for weighing all financial and health factors to assess the applicant’s risk class, which determines if they qualify, how much coverage the insurance company will offer and the premium the applicant will pay for that coverage.

During this review, the insurance company may contact the applicant’s healthcare providers for more about their medical history and any current conditions.

TIP: To help this process run smoothly, let medical providers know that these requests could be coming and authorize the insurance company to collect that data.

The insurance company will also do searches on the applicant’s prescription history, driving record, and any previous life insurance applications as part of this process.

The underwriter will then contact the applicant’s financial professional with the details of application status and, if the application is approved, a summary of the policy being offered. If the applicant is offered a policy, their advisor will review with them the terms, premium, and payment method, and confirm that the information in the application is still accurate.

Some companies offer a simpler, faster underwriting process for a qualified applicants. For example, Brighthouse Simple Underwriting offers a process that features no paramedical exam or lab work and an initial underwriting decision within 24 hours after the telephone application and interview.

Life Insurance Application Process: Accept Policy

Accept the policy to begin coverage
If the applicant is satisfied with the policy offered, the insurance company will officially issue it to the financial professional, who will deliver it to the applicant. The applicant will then need to sign, date, and return the policy receipt, along with their first premium payment.

For more information on the life insurance and the underwriting process, speak with your financial professional.


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