Understanding Underwriting

What happens after application? Making common sense of the insurance underwriting process

Once you've completed your insurance application, we like to take the time to explain the next steps. All applications go next to underwriting, who reviews the application, determines coverage eligibility and the price a policy owner will pay. This process typically takes up to four weeks, but it occasionally lasts longer depending on the complexity of the case.

Evaluating Your Insurance Policy

Insurance companies like Columbus Life select and classify insurance applicants according to their degrees of risk. This is done to help ensure fairness in insurance pricing. To help 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.


When Additional Information is Needed

While the application is our first 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 approval from the policy owner's and/or proposed insured person to perform any test.

These additional tests can include:

  • Medical Exam – A medical professional or physician will record your medical history, take measurements of height, weight, blood pressure and pulse, and obtain a urine sample.
  • 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) for certain conditions.
  • Attending Physician's Statement (APS) – An APS report from a doctor that describes your medical history. The APS provides us with actual medical records and a doctor's insight, which often allows 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.
  • A Motor Vehicle Report
  • A Database Query of medical, financial and employment records.
  • A 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.

Maintaining 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 strict privacy, HIPAA and other state and federal regulations that are designed to protect records and information.


Our Commitment to You

We're committed to making an accurate, informed and fair decision on all applications. In addition, we strive to complete the underwriting process quickly and with as little inconvenience to you as possible.

If you're eligible for coverage, we'll charge a premium that represents a fair price for the insurance you applied for and, when a claim is filed, fulfill our promise to help provide protection that life insurance can provide. Equal price for equal risks is what the underwriting process of Columbus Life is all about. Our goal is to keep insurance as available and affordable as possible.

If you have additional questions about the underwriting process, reach out to us directly at Columbus Life, or contact your Columbus Life financial representative.


Columbus Life Insurance Company is licensed in the District of Columbia and all states except New York.