Disability-Insurance-UnderwritingI’m a lucky person. Like, genuinely, ridiculously lucky. And I don’t mean I’m lucky in the way people use it when saying they have a great family, good health, and a great job (not that I don’t have those things).  I mean I’m lucky in the if-there’s-a-raffle-I’m-probably-going-to-win-it kind of way.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve won things. (Prepare yourself for a lot of shameless bragging.) If a drawing is held, I’m the winner. If you need me to guess the amount of skittles in a jar, or seeds in a pumpkin, somehow I can do it. Pizza parties, an all expenses paid trip to Hawaii—you name it—I’ve won it. I’m always the first caller and I’ve won more tickets to concerts and sporting events than most people have even attended.  I was even picked out of a crowd and given front row seats to an Elton John concert, where Elton later held my hand as he sang Benny and the Jets, while the rest of the audience watched in awe…or jealousy, I’ve never been sure.  Either way, #winning.

But despite my four-leaf-clover finding, end-of-the-rainbow sighting, leprechaun-catching luck, I learned a humbling lesson when I began working as a case manager—you need a lot more than luck to be successful in the disability insurance world. You need to know the underwriting secrets.

I couldn’t just be the first person to call the underwriter to speed up the decision process.  I couldn’t assume an underwriter would waive requirements just because I asked her to.  And I definitely couldn’t expect luck to weigh in on a disability insurance underwriting decision. 

It only took a few angry emails and a couple of uncomfortable phone calls for me to quickly learn that agents didn’t want to work with a case manger who was hoping to get lucky with an underwriting approval. They wanted a case manager who didn’t have to guess, but instead knew the answers to their questions.  They wanted someone who ran pre-screens, ordered medical exams in advance, and worked just as hard as they did.

I learned quickly that preparation, not Lady Luck, was the key to successfully navigating the disability insurance underwriting process and pleasing my agents. Rather than hoping requirements would be waived, I advised agents ahead of time about what might be needed. Instead of assuming an underwriter would blindly approve a benefit amount, I warned agents of all the financial documentation that would be required for a decision to be made.  I studied the products, I learned everything I could about each carrier’s guidelines, and I made sure my agents were as prepared for the underwriting process as I was.

Do you ever rely on luck when you meet with your clients?  Do you cross your fingers and hope they’ll like the one quote you’ve had prepared?  Or do you ask plenty of questions ahead of time so you’re equipped with multiple quotes in case they want to see options? Do you assume a client’s medical history is as perfect as her clean-sheeted application? Or do you ask the necessary questions that will ensure you don’t have any surprises during underwriting?

It takes more than luck to sell a disability insurance policy.  Make sure both you and your client are prepared before submitting an application.  You can start by downloading our “Three Underwriting Secrets,” which will help you secure more approvals in less time. And once you’ve done that, call a radio station and win a prize—there’s no way I’m the only one who can be this lucky.

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