NAILBA Perspectives - January/February 2015 - (Page 44)

agency resources Life Underwriting in 2020 HANK GEORGE, FALU, CLU, FLMI I am neither clairvoyant nor in possession of a crystal ball. This confessed, after 45 years in life insurance risk assessment- and with an obsessive focus on tracking trends-I have some reasonably credible thoughts regarding how underwriting will be configured five years hence. For better or worse, here goes... Reliance on Medical Records Attending Physician Statement (APS) costs are rising and there are reasons aplenty to worry that e-records will not confer their highly anticipated advantages. Add the adverse impact of the APS on turnaround time and it is inevitable that medical record use will decline overall (most notably under age 50). Taking Risk Histories Teleinterviews and the online equivalent will dominate. Fewer insurers will countenance producers opting out of teleinterviews on a case-bycase basis because this makes no common sense. Exams The cost vs. yield ineffectiveness of clinical medical examinations has now been exposed. MD exams for underwriting, if anything, are less worthwhile. There is no basis for continuing to use them. With the rise in super-simplified underwriting, aggregate use of paramedicals will progressively decline, save for elder business. In addition, a growing portion will be done at fixed site facilities rather than on a mobile basis. Laboratory Testing This, too, will decline overall, if only because-save for producercollected oral fluid-it is wholly paramedical-dependent. On the other hand, certain high yield markers such as NT-proB- NP, HbA1-c and, likely, cystatin C, will play a much greater role in screening at older ages. Hepatitis C screening will increase in concert with the anticipated rise in cirrhosis and liver cancer deaths from this notorious virus well into the next decade. Conversely, PSA use will decline. Electrocardiograms Their fate is sealed. ECG and treadmill test screening will dwindle in favor of NT-proBNP because the latter simply has too many advantages. Ideally, we will stop doing all screening ECGs. Pharmacy Records Their use will be essentially universal by 2020. They simply offer myriad indisputable advantages on a cost vs. benefit basis. Like MIB data, Rx profiles are intrinsic to effective risk assessment. So much so that it is difficult to fathom why any insurer would fail to maximize their potent impact on mortality results. Cognitive and Frailty Tests Cumbersome, client-unfriendly, and dubiously credible tools such as Timed Get-Up-and-Go, gait speed, clock drawing, and delayed word recall are vulnerable to the embrace of less egregious alternatives. Their demise will not be mourned. Recent evidence suggests the cystatin C test could be one of them, perhaps coupled with adding teleinterview questions. Outsourced APS Summaries If an underwriter can review an affordable and competently done 3 page summary of a 70-page APS, the advantage to the insurer is substantial. Until now, there has been pushback from insurers, driven by uneven 44 perspectives JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2015 summary quality and underwriter disgruntlement. Both barriers can and will be overcome. Use of this service should increase markedly over the ensuing half decade. Outsourced Case Underwriting Like APS summaries, outsourced underwriting has noteworthy potential as a resource for insurers. At present, this service is mainly used during periods of peak caseload volume and for "quick quotes." Expect more carriers to retain firms to underwrite their business in the future. With adept surveillance practices in place, this should be an appealing option for many insurers. "Big Data" The naïve rush to embrace these putative resources will be tempered as insurers look beyond alleged cost savings and question their appropriateness in an underwriting context. While lab-scoring models make a clear contribution (so long as we recognize their limitations), at least some other "big data" offerings are literally "wolves in sheep's clothing." One hopes wiser heads prevail lest we take steps we are destined to regret. Remote Underwriting A substantial (and growing) share of underwriters work largely or wholly from home. The win-win here for underwriters and their employers argues for this trend continuing. Indeed, carriers that refuse to accommodate this coveted option are finding it difficult to hire underwriters! Hopefully, we will prudently avoid bestowing this privilege prematurely on underwriters that

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of NAILBA Perspectives - January/February 2015

NAILBA Perspectives - January/February 2015
Chairman’s Corner
CEO Insights
The NAILBA of the Future
NAILBA Charitable Foundation
Life Happens
Shaking Up Sales Concepts in 2015
Agency Successor Networking Group
NAILBA 33 Highlights
Member Profiles
Reading Ahead
Agency Resources
Calendar of Events
Index of Advertisers

NAILBA Perspectives - January/February 2015