The Value of Pre-Qualifying Your ClientJulie Brooks
How many times have you worked with a client that appears to be in good health, but turns out not to be as healthy as you or the client thought? Maybe the client plays golf several days a week and walks daily for exercise, or in general leads an active lifestyle and appears to be the picture of good health. The unfortunate truth is that appearances can be deceiving. And need I mention that clients are not always upfront and honest about their health when talking with an agent. Many have that “if I don’t talk about it, no one will know” attitude. Regardless of how well you think you know the client, it is always best to pre-qualify before quoting, and certainly before taking an application.
Many agents are not comfortable asking build and health questions. Many clients consider their health to be something that should be kept personal and private. They may even be offended by what they consider “invasive” health questions, so it’s no wonder many agents shy away from asking for pertinent health information. Unfortunately, not asking can lead to unexpected ratings and even declines once the client applies, which is never well received. The client who qualified for Preferred Best in their 40’s may no longer be such a good risk. Quoting that “picture of good health” Preferred or Preferred Best and having the carrier come back with a lower or Class Rated offer can lead the client to question what was, a respected client-agent relationship.
Many times, the answer is to have the client complete, on their own, or with the agent, a Quote Request or, for more serious concerns, a Pre-Qualification form. The basic information gathered with this initial inquiry can indicate what may appear to be minor issues to the agent or client, but to an insurance carrier, be a much more serious indicator of a health issue. Sometimes it is not the individual issue, but the combination of issues that create the undesirable or even uninsurable risk. Medications are frequent indicators of issues that the client may not want to discuss, but to the person reviewing the information be a signal that more detailed inquiry is necessary. Detailed issue-specific inquiry forms are available for many diseases or situations and can be used to ensure that the client’s health is assessed as accurately as possible.
Once this information is received, if there are concerns, the case can then be pre-qualified with a variety of carriers to find the one with the most favorable underwriting offer. The initial offer is never a guarantee, as the PHI, APS and, Paramed Exam, when required, can still lead to a different offer once the application is underwritten, but it allows you to approach the client with the most accurate quote possible in order to create realistic expectations.
Our goal at Insurance Advisors is to assist you in being successful as an agent. Quote Request forms are available for Long Term Care, Disability as well as Life Insurance. Each one is designed to gather the information needed for you to present the best possible offer to your clients, and create lasting, trusted relationships.
Contact Insurance Advisors today to learn more about our agent resources.