Fully Underwritten Term Life Insurance – The Process

Fully Underwritten Term Life Insurance - The Process

fully underwritten term life insurance - the process

Fully Underwritten Term Life Insurance - The Process

It is recommended that you understand the process involved in getting a fully underwritten term life insurance policy prior to applying for coverage. Although the application and underwriting processes may vary to a certain extent between companies, many carriers have similar processes and timelines. Understanding these processing timelines helps to establish a reasonable expectation of the amount of time needed between the application and coverage being issued.

Fully Underwritten Term Life Insurance - The Process

The application and underwriting involved in the issuance of traditional life insurance products has for the most part remained unchanged over the past 75 years. Unlike auto and home insurance, life insurance has not been commoditized in the sense that you can simply add the package that you would like to have to your online checkout, pay with a credit card online, and have instantaneous coverage.

Although there has been an increase in the percentage of applicants that choose to purchase simplified issue whole life and non-medical examination term life insurance policies over the years, a gross large percentage of the application for life insurance are that of traditional fully underwritten term life insurance policies. Unlike the simplified products that have eligibility requirements in place that ultimately provide a “yes or no” eligibility determination for the applicants, traditional fully underwritten account offer a tiered rating structure based on the underwriters review of the “case as a whole” once all necessary information has been reviewed.

The Application

After selecting the policy that you would like to apply for, the application needs to be completed and forwarded to the insurance carrier for review. Even with fully underwritten accounts, this is an area that there has been technological advanced, no allowing for the applicant to electronically sign for most carriers.

Prescription History Check

Once the application has been submitted, the insurance carrier will request to review the prescription history of the application to ensure that any medications that had recently been prescribed to the applicant correlate with information that has been submitted on the application.

Medication Information Bureau Report

The medical information bureau report is a report that the insurance carrier will order that will advise the insurance carrier of any other policies that had recently been applied for.

The Telephone Interview

Many insurance companies reserve the right to call the applicant for a direct telephone interview to review and confirm the information on the application and to clarify any questions on the application, or from the medical information bureau report or prescription history report.

Paramedic Examination

The paramedic examination, often referred to as the “paramed” exam, is the process in which the carrier contracts out to a third-party medical facility to conduct an examination of the applicant. Typically, these exams include a measurement of the height and weight, blood pressure testing, blood analysis, and urinalysis. Depending on the age of the applicant and the limit of coverage, the carrier may also request additional testing such as an echocardiogram, a treadmill test, etc.

After all testing is completed, the medical facility will forward the results directly to the insurance carrier for review. This process typically takes about a week for most consumers to get the appointment scheduled and an additional two weeks for the results to be forwarded to the insurance company.

Insurance Company Review

Once the insurance company underwriters have all information needed, they will review the “case” to make the final offer for coverage or to inquire for additional information. This review and underwriting process typically takes between one and two weeks to be completed. If the underwriters are comfortable with the information that has been received and the results of the testing, the final offer for coverage will be extended. In the event that further information is needed, the carrier could request:

  • Additional clarification statements from the insured
  • Additional standardized questionnaires to be completed (foreign travel, alcohol use, etc.)
  • An attending physician statement (this generally takes 1-4 weeks to complete)


Overall, it is important to set up realistic expectations prior to applying for coverage. Fully underwritten term life insurance is not a commodity.

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