The A to Z of Issuing a Whole Life Insurance Policy

By Sanford Ellowitz on January 29th, 2010

You've determined the amount of life insurance coverage you need, decided on the type of policy you want, and you've shopped around for life insurance quotes. You've even selected a carrier and completed an application--now what?

While each carrier has its own procedures, most insurers review applications and issue policies using similar methods.

Initial Review

Once an insurer receives your application, it is reviewed to make sure you have completed all the questions and signed all the necessary forms. A representative from the carrier may then call you to go over your application, and ask you a few follow up questions.


After the initial review, your application is then sent to the underwriting department. An underwriter, who is trained to measure risk, then evaluates your application. The underwriter takes into consideration many factors and then assigns you a rating. The rating is used to determine the premiums you pay for your policy.

Medical Exam

While your application is under review, a medical exam is ordered. The medical exam, conducted at your convenience, is completed by a paramedic. During the medical exam your blood pressure and heart rate are measured, urine and blood samples are taken, and your height and weight are verified. You may also be asked about any medications that you are currently taking.

If the underwriter feels it is necessary, you may also be asked to take a more extensive exam by a physician. The costs of all examinations, related to your life insurance policy, are covered by the insurance company.

Attending Physician Report

While your medical exam is being arranged and completed, an attending physician report (APS), is ordered from your doctor. The APS report contains your medical records.

The underwriter reviews the APS, and may request additional reports should your records indicate that you were referred to other doctors or specialists. Obtaining the APS and follow up reports can take additional time, so several weeks may pass.

Factors Used in Underwriting

Besides assessing your APS and your family medical history, several other factors are considered when determining your risk. These underwriting factors include:

  • Tobacco and alcohol use
  • Occupation and lifestyle, such as any potentially hazardous hobbies or travel destinations
  • Driving record, an applicant without moving violations may indicate less risk
  • Credit report, a good credit history may indicate that you are likely to pay your premiums

Underwriters also take into account your annual income to verify that you are within the insurer's guidelines of the amount of life insurance you can carry relative to your income. Annual income may also indicate whether or not you can afford the life insurance premiums.

Rate Classes

Once all the reports have been received, the underwriter reaches a decision and you are assigned a rate class. Each carrier has its own specific ratings, but generally there are three rating classes:

  • Preferred. For applicants in the best health
  • Standard. For applicants with average health
  • Table. For applicants who have medical conditions that may make them more of a risk to insure

Your Policy Is Issued

Your life insurance premium is then calculated, and your policy issued. Your policy is sent to you by mail, along with any additional forms you may be required to sign.

Your life insurance premium is then calculated and your policy issued. The insurance company mails your policy, along with any documents that require your signature.

You should thoroughly review your policy to make sure you understand the terms of the life insurance contract. If you agree, sign the required documents and return them along with your premium payment. Once you have returned the documents and premium, your life insurance is considered in-force.

Compare life insurance quotes and get the whole life insurance policy that meets your needs.


Source :
Life Insurance-General-Top Ten Questions • http://www.ins.state.ny.http://www.ins.state.ny.us/que_top10/que_life.htm

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