Category Archives: underwriting

Experience, Expertise, and Convenience

After we help you find the best life insurance policy to fit your needs, regardless if it is term, universal or whole life insurance. Insurance Shoppers allows you to apply online in the comfort and convenience of your home or office with our assistance over the phone or email (if you like). Or, if you prefer, we can meet with you in person at the time and place that works best for you (Colorado life insurance clients only). Feel free to call or email us whenever you have any questions.

Why Choose An Independent Broker?

Jay Norris has 12 years of experience with Colorado life insurance.Almost all Colorado life insurance companies sell their products through agents, rather than directly to the public. Some companies use ?captive? agents, who can only represent one company. The most competitive term life insurance providers (such as those featured at this site) use independent agents, who are free to represent several companies. These agents can help you select from a variety of products and companies to tailor a plan.

The premium rate is set by the carrier, and it cannot be changed by the agent. The price you pay for a given product will be the same no matter where you buy it. ?Price shopping? for an agent in Colorado will provide no benefit, assuming that you have the basic product and pricing information to know what to ask for. We shop a large number of companies, view the life insurance carriers we shop in Colorado, based on price, coverage, how they will underwrite you, stability, etc. So, we are more likely to find the best coverage at the lowest price than other life insurance agents in Colorado. There is no disadvantage and there are many advantages to using a knowledgeable broker to guide you in the right direction, so don?t hesitate to have us help you find the best plan.

Gender Neutral Pricing For Life Insurance?

For more than a year now, Colorado law has required health insurance carriers to disregard gender when setting premiums. ?In the past, men and women paid different premiums based solely on gender, even if all other factors (health status, zip code, age, etc.) were equal. ?When that law was being debated in the state legislature, opponents compared the gender-based pricing rules with those used by auto and life insurance carriers and noted that gender-based pricing helped to keep premiums as accurate as possible for both men and women, based on their average utilization of the insurance coverage. ?Supporters noted that in the interest of fairness, it made more sense to price insurance policies without regard for gender.

Although the Colorado law banning gender-based premiums passed in 2010 and went into effect in 2011, it only applies to health insurance. ?Auto and life insurance policies have long considered gender when setting premiums, and they continue to do so.

But that is not the case everywhere. ?In a far-reaching ruling, the European Union’s high court handed down a ruling this week banning the use of gender-based pricing for all insurance contracts and pension plans. ?So life insurance premiums (and premiums on all other insurance contracts and pensions) in EU countries will have to be adjusted by the end of this year to reflect unified pricing for men and women.

Given the precedent set by the Colorado law regarding health insurance and now a large international ruling from the EU, it will be interesting to see if we eventually end up with gender neutral pricing for life insurance as well. ?Time will tell.

126th Cavalcade Of Risk

Welcome to the 126th Cavalcade of Risk, where we’re showcasing the best in risk-related writing from around the web.? As a primary risk-management tool, insurance in all of its various forms tends to show up a lot of the posts, but there’s something for everyone here, so dig in…

cards To start things off, we have a compelling article from Scott Bartlett about the dangers of progress.? Scott’s post is inspired by the book A Short History Of Progress by Ronald Wright.? It’s a reminder of the ultimate risk to all of us if we don’t take care of this little planet we all call home.? But more then the usual articles about climate change and environmental degredation, Scott also looks back over centuries of history to see how the rise and fall of civilizations is often linked to resources and their depletion.? Sobering, yet an excellent read.

To put a visual spin on the idea of risk, Julie Ferguson of Workers’ Comp Insider brings us a photographic depiction of workers performing all sorts of tasks far from terra firma.? If you’re leery of heights, these are probably not the jobs for you.? There are pictures of modern workers, as well as plenty from days gone by, and it’s interesting to note the complete lack of safety equipment in some of the older shots.

Life Insurance And Estate Planning

plane Jim Yih of Retire Happy Blog brings us Cathy’s story of life insurance.? It’s an excellent example of a scenario where term life insurance makes much more sense than permanent life insurance.? Term life insurance is a perfect product for someone who is insuring her life in order to protect her children, since we can assume our children will only be financially dependent on us for a finite length of time.? And since it’s a lot less expensive than universal or whole life insurance, a term policy allows a person to have a policy with a higher face value and lower premiums.

Free Money Finance also writes about term life insurance, taking to task a recent WalletPop article that included term life insurance as a type of coverage that is “not worth the money”.? I think FMF’s take on this is absolutely correct.? For some people, permanent life insurance might be just the right product.? But anytime a planner or advisor is recommending permanent life insurance as being generally a better option, it’s a good idea to question how much more commission they will get if the client goes with permanent life insurance.

Continuing on the importance of estate planning, Jeff Rose of Good Financial Sense tells us what happens if you die without a will.? Basically, all assets will pass through probate, and state laws will determine how your money and possessions are doled out – and who will care for your minor children.? The way the state does it may be far different from how you would want it done, which is why having a will is such an important part of financial planning.

quake Russell Hutchinson of Chatswood Consulting Limited takes a look at whether the Christchurch, New Zealand earthquake will impact life insurance premiums.? He notes that although the loss of life was tragic, the payouts in terms of life insurance settlements will be quite small when compared with the payouts for property damages from the quake.? He concludes that events like the recent earthquake will usually not impact life insurance premiums rates at all.

Health Insurance And Healthcare Reform

Jaan Sidorov of the Disease Management Care Blog delves into some of the financial nitty gritty behind the idea of patient centered medical homes.? The PCMH concept has become quite popular during the course of the healthcare reform debates, but Dr. Sidorov’s article brings into question the financial sustainability of such models, as it appears that they won’t be making much money.? The idea is for the clinics to be paid on a per member per month basis, but the actual amounts that would likely be paid are startlingly small.

racecars InsureBlog’s Bob Vineyard tells us about a European ruling which prohibits companies from using gender in setting prices for products like insurance and annuities.? Turns out that there could be some unintended (and not-so-great) consequences, such a young men buying higher performance cars because their auto insurance premiums are artificially reduced.? Here in Colorado, health insurance premiums are no longer allowed to be based on gender.? It will be interesting to see if similar laws catch on across the country, or with regards to other products, like auto insurance.

Jason Shafrin of the Healthcare Economist looks at a proposal from the Healthy Trucking Association of America and the Convenient Care Association, for a plan to provide health insurance to truck drivers that would allow them to access care congress wherever their job may take them.? The integrated medical home concept works well for people who are generally in the same geographic location from one day to the next – but truck drivers need access to care all over the country.

Eric Turkewitz of the Terkewitz Law Firm writes and open letter to NY lawmakers, encouraging them to reject a proposed measure that would cap pain and suffering damages at $250,000 in medical malpractice lawsuits.? While we tend to hear a lot from people who are in favor of tort reform measures like the cap on non-economic damages, Eric’s letter provides quite a bit of detail from the other side, and explains why it would do more harm than good to place such a cap.

The Consumer Boomer gives us an overview of how Medicare Advantage programs work, the details about what the various Medicare plans cover, and information needed for enrollment.? Good info for anyone approaching retirement age and starting to look at how health insurance works once we turn 65.

P&C Insurance

Nancy Germond of All Business explains why your home may be underinsured.? The problem seems to stem from the fact that many insurance carriers give the homeowner the responsibility of determining the replacement value of a home, and that may not be the same as the market value of the house.? Nancy notes that a better option is an insurance carrier that will do an independent appraisal, or one that will add a percentage cushion to the determined replacement value in order to more adequately account for increases in replacement cost.

Neal from Wealth Pilgrim explains that if you need to file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance, hiring a private insurance adjuster can be a good way to make sure that you get as much money as you’ll actually need to repair or rebuild your home.

Canadian Finance Blog explains the basics in terms of how auto insurance premiums are calculated😕 type of coverage, how much you drive, what kind of car you drive – they all play a factor.? I’ve read that some auto insurance carriers even look at credit scores in order to set prices.

Other Risky Business

alt Health Blog’s David Williams discusses whether parents should be allowed to give teachers gifts.? While regulating such things might at first seem trivial and intrusive, David points out how gifts from pharmaceutical companies to doctors have been shown to influence the doctors’ prescribing habits.? Observation of the relationships between doctors and pharmaceutical companies when gifts are involved should give us pause to consider the fact that there is always a risk of compromising integrity when gifts are allowed.? Good food for thought.

The Dough Roller tells us about identity scores.? I wasn’t aware such a thing existed, but an identity score – compiled using data from a much wider source of data than credit scores -? is used by lenders as an indicator of how likely it is that a credit applicant is using a fake identity.? The higher the number, the more likely it is that an applicant is committing identity theft.? The article includes details about how you can check your ID score and make sure that it doesn’t contain errors.

Credit Card Guru takes us for a closer look at payment protection insurance, and concludes that it’s usually not worth the money.? Sure, programs like that help to alleviate some risk (for people who carry a balance on their credit cards and would have a hard time making payments if they were faced with an unexpected job loss, illness, etc.) but it appears that the insurance is pricey and has a lot of fine print.

Heather Hollingsworth takes a look at how unrest in Egypt and the rest of the Middle East could impact global financial recovery from the recession.? Since so much of the world’s oil comes from the Middle East, protests and regime changes there can have an effect all over the world.

That wraps up this edition of the Cavalcade of Risk.? Thanks for all the great submissions!

Electronic Underwriting Coming To Life Insurance

At Insurance Shoppers, we’re big fans of things that can be done electronically. ?We switched to an electronic fax system years ago, and long ago made the change to electronic application for all of our health insurance clients. ?So we’re excited about Hooper Holmes’ new iParamed e-Exam, which can create a complete digital case file for any life insurance applicant in the US.

Roy Bubbs, President and CEO of Hooper Holmes, noted that life insurance carriers spend an average of $500 to underwrite an application, and he believes that his company’s product that reduce that amount by half. ?My guess would be that it will also speed up the underwriting process, much as the electronic application process for health insurance policies reduced underwriting times for some policies from weeks to days over the last decade.

The iParamed e-Exam technology will come out in four stages over the course of the next several months, and will be fully operational by the end of 2010. ?Nine life insurance companies (hopefully including some that we work with here in Colorado) will be using the technology initially, and my guess is that the rest will soon follow, either with the Hooper Holmes product or with a similar electronic system.

Do You Have Enough Life Insurance?

Earlier this year, Louise and I came across this forum thread about a family and their life insurance situation. ?It’s a sobering conversation for sure, but one that inspired us to increase the amount of life insurance we have. ?Before we read that thread, we were content with our relatively small face value term life insurance policies. ?They would be enough to pay off the mortgage with some left over, but we weren’t really looking at the big picture. ?We have a toddler now, and if one of us were to die young, it’s important to us that the surviving parent would be able to focus primarily on raising our son, rather than scrambling to make a living while taking care of him at the same time.

If you have life insurance through your employer, be sure you know how much coverage it provides and how far that would go. ?If you need to add additional life insurance coverage, a basic term policy of 20 or 30 years will probably do the trick. ?Premiums are based on age at issue, so the younger you are when you get your policy, the less you’ll pay for the life of the policy. ?And since life insurance policies are medically underwritten, the healthier you are, the better rate you’ll get. ?The time to make sure that your family is protected is today.

Extreme Sports And Life Insurance

Many Americans get life insurance as a benefit from their employers, but the amount provided is often not enough to really provide for a family. ?For this reason, a lot of people seek out additional life insurance coverage on their own. ?Term life insurance policies are very inexpensive, especially when compared with the cost of things like health insurance and long term care insurance, but those prices can increase dramatically if a person is unhealthy or participates in anything that life insurance companies deem to be risky activities.

As an example, if you’re a very healthy 35 year old, you’ll probably find it relatively easy and inexpensive to secure several hundred thousand dollars worth of term life insurance. ?But if one of your hobbies is rock climbing, the premium on the life insurance policy can easily be tripled or quadrupled by most carriers. ?The standard underwriting action in a case like this is to bump the rate from “preferred best” to “preferred” and then to add an additional annual amount ($2 – $2.50, for example) for every thousand dollars in life insurance coverage. ?So a half million dollar policy can easily increase in premium by more than $1000/year if the applicant participates in “risky” activities.

However, underwriting does vary from one insurance carrier to another, and some are more lenient than others for specific activities and health conditions. ?If you’ve applied for a life insurance policy in Colorado and received a rate increase because of health or lifestyle, there may be other options that would allow you to purchase the same amount of insurance for a lower premium. ?We can compare options for you and help you find the best value for your insurance dollars, and there is never a charge for our services.

Why Use Insurance Shoppers?

Why Use Insurance Shoppers to Buy Life Insurance?

about We are independent life insurance brokers, with no allegiance to any particular company. This gives us the freedom to help our customers choose the life insurance that truly fits their financial situation and risk tolerance. We can look at a wide variety of Colorado life insurance companies and get quotes on many types of insurance and different risk classes. By letting us know your health, driving, and family history up front, we can let you know what life underwriting class you will be classified into and get you the right quotes the first time.

We have a relationship with each of the life insurance companies that we represent. This allows us to serve as advocates for our clients, and help them get in touch with the right person when they have a question about their policy.

We have a very good working knowledge of the companies we represent:

  • benefit options
  • stability of the life insurance companies
  • underwriting and health class guidelines for each company in Colorado . Each company has a different set of underwriting guidelines to determine what classification you will be. From preferred plus, ultra preferred, preferred, standard, and many different smoking classes, we will know what company will benefit you the most based on your health history. This can save you a lot of time and frustration getting this figured out before actually applying and jumping through the hoops for each company.

We’re free. We get paid commissions by the insurance companies so the quotes are the same if you use a broker or go directly through the insurance company. Most life insurance in Colorado is done with the help of brokers because there is no disadvantage and there are many advantages to using a knowledgeable broker to guide you in the right direction. You will always get the lowest premium for the same coverage by purchasing your Colorado life insurance through us because we can shop for the life insurance plan that fits your financial situation and tolerance for risk using our expert knowledge of how each company grids pricing, underwriting guidelines, and takes risks with their money. We will also give you more personalized attention, and a balanced perspective about the advantages of choosing one policy over another. We can also act as a liaison between you and the insurance company if you ever have any questions or problems.
The Colorado Division of Insurance polices the pricing of life insurance, so no insurance company or agency is allowed to sell at a price that is any different from the price set by the commission. So we can find the best plan for you at no cost. For years, we have been highly recommended in Colorado as a no hassle agency able to find the best life insurance for your financial plan.

We continue to be there for our customers after their policy is in force. We can always analyze different options as your financial needs change and keep you current. This will always help you know that you are getting the best deal available and that you have the best coverage you can get for your family.

We have designed this interactive web site where our customers can compare prices, get details on various Colorado life insurance policies, download applications on their own, and even apply online. We shop over 75 companies such as American General (AIG), Zurich/Chase, Banner Life, Empire General, First Colony, Transamerica, Lincoln Benefit Life, MONY, Protective, Prudential, Transamerica, Travelers, West Coast Life, United of Omaha, Fidelity & Guaranty, and many more. Get as far as you like by yourself until you would like our assistance. We will always be there to answer questions or help with applications if needed. but we have the web site in order to provide a no-pressure setting for clients to compare options that are available for them. Colorado Life Insurance disclaimer