Our Underwriting Advantage
“Our objective is to get our clients the best possible insurance for the lowest possible price.”
Insurance carrier underwriting offers have a dramatic impact on the cost of insurance. At Gateway Financial our strategic underwriting process optimizes our clients’ underwriting offers while minimizing bothersome medical and financial requirements. Some features of our underwriting process include:
Preliminary Review of Medical Records
When a client first starts the medical underwriting process, they complete a Preliminary Insurance Questionnaire (PIQ) which allows Gateway Financial to collect the client’s medical records and identify any medical disorders that may adversely impact carrier offers. We look for consistency and accuracy among all physicians’ records compared to information received from the client. In some cases, discrepancies are found and Gateway Financial assists with the resolution. Should the insured(s) have a health condition or impairment, we consult with the client’s physicians to get a sound understanding of the disorder/ailment in an effort to better position the case with the carrier underwriters and to get them to feel more comfortable with the risk (e.g. we provide additional information regarding the background and cause of any medical conditions, highlight any lifestyle credits, etc.). Through the preliminary review process, Gateway Financial determines the carriers that are most appropriately suited for the client’s profile based on current health, tobacco use, avocation, existing insurance in place, and financial data.
Careful Market Consideration
For large cases that approach industry capacity thresholds, Gateway develops and implements a strategic methodology for approaching the insurance marketplace to maximize retention limits and the insurance portfolio rate of return, while avoiding “reinsurance gridlock”1.
Control of Carrier Underwriting Requirements
Gateway develops guidelines for insurance carrier candidates to avoid requests for underwriting requirements that are ancillary yet annoying. For example, Gateway may notify carriers that to be a candidate, they must waive their right to conduct a personal interview with the insured(s) or waive their right to collect supplemental financial forms.
In most circumstances, the client’s medical records and insurance exam results are submitted to multiple carriers on an informal basis via a centralized, confidential and secure on-line underwriting requirement depository. This portal allows invited insurance carriers to view the posted preliminary medical information and then provide a preliminary underwriting offer. This informal submission process avoids the potential for a detrimental Medical Information Bureau (MIB) client record and also allows Gateway Financial to compare offers and to negotiate more favorable offers and pricing on behalf of our clients.
Gateway Financial has access to M Financial’s dedicated underwriting advocacy team, which has decades of experience working with insurance advisory firms and carriers to overcome challenges in the risk assessment process. The team’s expertise in a variety of key areas—including exam results, case presentation, carrier negotiations, and capacity management—enhances Gateway Financial’s ability to simplify the underwriting experience for clients, facilitate competitive underwriting offers, and deliver effective underwriting support and service.
Gateway Financial provides clients with a clear understanding of their medical and lifestyle assessments, including any ratings and/or surcharges (if any). We also present our clients with tentative pricing based on those non-binding underwriting offers which helps to set expectations for final pricing. We advise our clients that final pricing is dependent on formal underwriting results.
Gateway Financial’s professional staff coordinates the scheduling of medical requirements based on age and desired death benefit. A physician or paramedical exam, lab work, and, in some cases, an EKG is required. The client is provided a pre-exam checklist to help achieve the most accurate test-results.
Formal Application Process
After the carrier and products have been chosen by the client, Gateway Financial’s professional staff coordinates the completion and submission of all related paperwork to the insurance carrier. We serve as the client’s advocate, fielding questions and assisting with obtaining outstanding requirements.
Obtain Exam/Lab Results
If requested, Gateway Financial will provide the client with the required authorization to obtain copies of insurance exams and/or lab results. This enables the client to share and review medical results with their personal physician.
Confidentiality and File Maintenance
We believe that data security (e.g. keeping our client’s data, strategic plans, health records and financial information, etc.) is of utmost importance. To that end, Gateway Financial has invested significant time and resources to develop work processes, update facilities and implement technology in an effort to comply with The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). While a description of HIPAA compliance is well beyond the scope of this response, below are a just few examples of our security measures.
- All emails (data in transit) are sent with Transaction Layer Security (TLS) encryption.
- All servers, workstations, laptops, smart phones and tablets are encrypted and password –protected pursuant to strict HIPAA standards.
- Staff access to Gateway’s client database, medical records and client work-papers is on a “need to know” basis.
- Hard-copy client folders are securely locked in file cabinets when not in use.