Understanding Underwriting

Making Sense of Underwriting

Once our policyowners have completed their insurance applications, we like to take the time to explain the next steps. All applications will be reviewed in the underwriting process, which determines coverage eligibility and the price a policyowner pays. The process typically takes up to four weeks, but it occasionally lasts longer depending on the complexity of the case.

Principle of Fairness

Columbus Life selects and classifies insurance applicants according to their degrees of risk. This is done to assure fairness in insurance pricing. To ensure that equal risks are treated equally, we rely on studies of large groups of people with similar characteristics. Factors such as age, gender, health and occupation directly affect claim results and influence prices charged. Requirements necessary to underwrite an application will be determined by factors including age, the amount of coverage requested and medical history.

Middle Steps

While the application is our basic source of information, additional items – most of which are performed at our expense – may be needed to complete the underwriting process. The number and extent of additional tests depend on the amount of insurance requested and complexity of the case. Only information having a direct bearing on the risk is requested, and we will always seek the policyowner’s and/or proposed insured’s, as appropriate, prior approval to perform any test.

  • Medical Exam – A medical professional or physician will record medical history, take measurements of height, weight, blood pressure and pulse, and obtain a urine specimen.
  • Blood Test – Examples of screening tests include cholesterol, glucose, liver and kidney enzymes, and presence of HIV antibodies. Fasting six to eight hours, as well as refraining from vigorous exercise, is recommended prior to testing for more accurate results.
  • A resting electrocardiogram (EKG) may be necessary.
  • Attending Physician’s Statement (APS) – An APS report from the proposed insured’s doctor describing your medical history may be requested. The APS provides us with actual medical records and doctor’s insight, which often allow us to provide coverage at more favorable rates. To expedite the process, proposed insureds or parents/legal guardians for juveniles should encourage doctors to provide this information in a timely manner if it is needed.
  • MVR - Motor Vehicle Report
  • Database - Database query of medical, financial and employment records.
  • Pharmacy - Pharmacy records check.
  • Financial Information – Such information obtained from the policyowner or proposed insured, their accountant or financial planner may be required for larger-amount insurance applications, and it would be obtained only with authorization from the policyowner or proposed insured, as appropriate.

Your Privacy

We understand that confidentiality of the information provided for underwriting purposes is very important. All information remains strictly confidential, and we comply with privacy, HIPAA and other state and federal regulations designed to protect records and information.

Our Commitment to You

We are committed to making an accurate, informed and fair decision on all applications. In addition, we strive to complete the underwriting process quickly and with little inconvenience to the policyowner[s] and proposed insured[s]. If you are eligible for the coverage, we will charge a premium representing a fair price for the insurance for which you applied and fulfill our promise to provide protection when a claim is filed. Equal price for equal risks is what the underwriting process of Columbus Life is all about. We aim to keep insurance as available and affordable as possible.

Please contact your Columbus Life representative if you have additional questions concerning the underwriting process.

© 2014 Columbus Life Insurance Company

Updated 04/10/2015