Oh, the joys of filling out and submitting applications. If ever there were a reason for a suggestion box, DI applications would be it. Though filling out and submitting applications should be the easiest part of the entire underwriting process, it can sometimes feel like the most complicated.
Do you have to answer all the questions? Why are there so many blank pages? How does this conditional binder work? If you’ve ever asked any questions about submitting an application, don’t feel foolish – we hear them everyday from everyone!
With the 4 tips below, you can alleviate some of your confusion, streamline the underwriting process and get your client’s application into the hands of an underwriter faster than you can say, “Sign and date here.”
1. Submit a complete application. Carriers will not accept applications with missing answers, explanations, dates or signatures. You might think a question asking the Length of US residency isn’t necessary for someone born in America, but guess what—it is. Applications are part of a binding contract, making each question as crucial as the next.
Agents regularly ask our case managers to fill in the blanks for them. We want to help you get your client’s application to the carrier as fast as possible, but we are legally obligated to make sure the answers come from your pen or your client’s, not ours.
2. Don’t submit an altered application. Carriers will not accept an application that has been edited with white out. If your client accidentally writes an incorrect date, cross it out, write a new date, and provide a written explanation on the side, followed by your client’s signature.
And if they need to revise an answer, cross out the original response and write a new answer next to it. Again, be sure they sign their name next to the new information.
3. Along with ALL applications pages (this includes blank pages!), submit all supporting documentation. Unfortunately, we cannot submit applications with missing pages, even if you’re positive your client will fax it to you tomorrow. And, though it can be a nuisance, it’s best to include all blank pages that were in the application packet. Not all carriers require the blank pages, but several do. Rule of thumb: include blank pages, just in case.
It’s also helpful to submit any necessary supplemental forms. If your client says she skydives, please make sure she signs the appropriate hazardous activity questionnaire. We suggest printing off any supplemental forms prior to meeting with your client.
In regard to supporting documentation like tax returns—include them, always. Carriers might accept applications without financial documentation, but an underwriter will not review the application until all supporting materials are submitted. If you have the information ready, it will streamline the underwriting process immensely.
4. Take notice of the terms of the conditional binder. The products we offer are unique from carrier to carrier, especially in regard to the conditional binder. However, one thing will always remain the same—a conditional binder cannot be voided after the application is submitted. The premium is required to be paid from the effective date of the policy, which is indicated on the conditional binder.
Another rule of thumb is to make sure the dates on the application, check and the conditional receipt are all dated the same day. Otherwise, the receipt will be void.
If you need clarification on how a carrier’s binder works, how to save age, or how much premium to pay, please contact our office. We will work with you to determine what’s needed.
We know there’s a lot of hard work involved with submitting an application, but if you take these tips to heart, submitting an application will be a piece of cake. For more disability insurance info, download our D.I. Crash Course. Need to submit an application? Use our convenient online DI quote engine.