With the coronavirus outbreak impacting operations all across the country, we here at IAMS, Inc. felt it would be good to offer a space to roundup carrier updates and process changes. Check here often and as always, if you have any questions, please reach out at 1.800.255.5055.
Updated Underwriting Information
According to a 3/27 memo, the vast majority of AIG’s underwriting guidelines have not changed, though they will require of a statement of health for a life insurance policies moving forward. According to AIG, their lab processors and paramed vendors are functioning normally, but they have been experiencing some delays with APS.
Contract Mailing Pattern Change
Effective Monday, March 30, 2020, all annuity New Business Contract Packages will be sent directly to the contract holder.
Currently all New Business Contract Packages are sent directly to agents for delivery to the client. AIG will mail the agent a Contract Data Page with the contract details. They will also be able to access the contract details via www.aig.com/Connext or www.aig.com/annuities .
Qualifying clients can get a fully underwritten life insurance policy without the need for lab work and medical exams, effective March 26, 2020. The new accelerated underwriting program will be available on all term and permanent life insurance products.
See more information here.
Virtual Business Processes
Virtual face-to-face sales are now acceptable, provided certain requirements are met. Allianz also offers electronic new business processing through its ApplyNow and New Business Tracker, as well as electronic document contract delivery.
Disability Insurance Application Postponements
Assurity is postponing disability applications if the client is not working enough hours due to the Corona Virus. This is the first question asked in the phone history interview.
While Brighthouse has implemented work-from-home for its employees, the company remains fully operational and ready to serve.
Signature on Forms Other Than Applications
We will accept pictures of signed forms. (preferably in .pdf or .tiff format)
When multiple parties are required to sign the same form, we will accept separate pages signed by each party. (e.g. Policy Delivery Receipt) We will not require all signatures to be on the same page.
When forms have multiple pages (e.g. Illustrations), we will accept just the signature page. We will not require all pages to be returned to us.
When bank draft is elected, but banking information is missing on a signed Systematic Form, we will accept the missing information by email to your Relationship Case Manager and/or a phone call to your Relationship Case Manager. We will not require the actual voided check.
Important change: Paper policies are normally mailed to the Brokerage General Agencies office address. We are redirecting the mailing of policies to go directly to the client with a .pdf of the policy and delivery forms emailed to the Brokerage General Agency. If you do not want this redirection, please email your Relationship Case Manager with instructions to continue to mail policies to the Brokerage General Agency.
We will temporarily offer a streamlined underwriting program, eliminating lab and paramed requirements on qualifying cases. Instead, we will be using non-invasive, no-touch medical and non-medical resources to underwrite cases.
Read this Field Bulletin for qualifying criteria and additional details.
Customer Contingency Program
We will be proactively reviewing pending applications for cases submitted prior to March 15, 2020, that are at risk due to missing labs or exams, and will be making accommodations by expanding our use of alternative and innovative data sources.
Grace Period Extension
We understand that it may be hard for clients to pay their premiums. Therefore, to prevent our clients from losing their important life insurance and long-term care coverage, we will be extending the grace period to pay premiums to 60 days. All claims will be honored, provided premiums are current at the time of claim submission.
Revised Guidelines for Conducting Telephone Underwriting Interviews Remotely
EquiTrust has announced revised guidelines for life sales completed from remote locations. You can view their guidelines by clicking here. One significant change is that the telephone underwriting interview may be conducted from two separate locations.
For situations where a client is reticent to meet with a paramed or where it may not even be possible, agents are encouraged to speak with the underwriter of their case. Additionally, the following guidelines apply to all pending and new applications:
- “We will require a statement in the “Special Instructions” box in Part I, Section L of the application indicating whether or not each proposed insured or any household member has within the past 30 days traveled or resided outside of the U.S. or has traveled by cruise ship, or has come into close contact with anyone known to the insured to have tested positive for COVID-19. If travel has occurred, we would also expect the statement to indicate where they traveled and when they returned. If an affirmative or negative responsive statement is not included in the application for each proposed insured, we may ask for an application amendment.
- As a reminder, any consultations with medical professionals or completed or pending tests by a proposed insured that are related to COVID-19 should be disclosed in response to the relevant questions on the application and/or supplemental application forms.
- In some cases, we may choose to defer an underwriting decision for a period of time (e.g., 30 days).”
Lincoln Financial Group
Work From Home Resource Center
Agents can access LFG’s digital process resource center here. This page outlines LFG’s e-App capabilities as well details information about underwriting, premium finance, and more.
Policy Delivery Changes
Starting 3/26/2020 – 4/30/2002 California policies will be sent direct to client via Fed Ed with self addressed envelope for payment. Photos of requirements can be emailed email@example.com by clients. Payments via phone 800-732-8939.
Electronic Processing and Parameds
Per Mutual Trust:
- No restrictions if it’s not face-to-face – If you’re not face-to-face with your client when you obtain their application, just let us know when you fill out the Agent Report. Provide some notes or a cover letter with details and we’ll take it from there. We don’t have age or face amount restrictions on non-face-to-face sales.
- Electronic processing – From fillable application forms, to electronic signature options, to document upload capabilities, we’ve got an easy application process. Click here for the easy steps or call Sales Development at 800-323-7320, ext. 5140, and they’ll fill you in and answer your questions.
- Paramed Exams – Submit your application even if paramed facilities in your area aren’t meeting with clients. We’re exploring methods to work around this issue and hope to have a solution in place quickly. In the meantime, we’ll continue to gather as much underwriting information as possible to keep your cases moving.
- State Licensing – Agent licensing processes have been revised or changed due to government office closings. This is causing contracting and license renewal delays. Refer to nipr.com for more information.
Premium Payment Options
- Extension of Grace Period
Due to the COVID-19 crisis, we will automatically extend your policyholder’s Premium Grace Period for 30 days and will continue to comply with any additional rules regarding payment or otherwise as mandated within your client’s state. Although we are taking these steps, our website may erroneously indicate that your client’s policy has lapsed as result of the premium not being paid on time. We hope that this due date extension will be helpful to individuals who may be experiencing financial setbacks due to the virus.
- Paying Premiums Through Automatic Premium Loans
Policyholders can pay premiums using their cash values by utilizing automatic premium loans. This feature automatically pays premium due once the grace period has expired. If your policyholder selected this option when they applied for coverage, they’re all set. If not, they can enact this feature by completing the Automatic Premium Payment on Default form.
- Premium Reduction
You policyholder’s premium can be reduced by permanently reducing the policy’s death benefit amount. A death benefit reduction is permitted as long as the policy’s minimum coverage amount is still maintained. Reducing the death benefit will allow your client to maintain valuable life insurance coverage while reducing their premium obligation.
If your client’s policy includes a Paid-Up Additional Insurance Rider, they can reduce their premium payment for the rider within guidelines ($100 annual minimum on the current version of the rider) and still keep the rider in force. If they have been paying a greater amount for the rider, this may be a way for them to reduce their expenses. Note that the performance of the rider is impacted by the amount of premium paid.
- Paying Premiums from Policy Values (PPV)
Clients may elect to pay Premiums from Policy Values (PPV). PPV surrenders a portion of the policy’s accumulated dividends and PUA riders to pay the premium due. This will allow the base policy to remain whole while the premium is paid as it becomes due. Clients can initiate PPV by completing the Premium Payments from Policy Values form.
National Guardian Life
Partial Claim Payouts
Since it may not be possible for funeral services to be held immediately after the passing of a policyholder, NGL will pay for medical services (provided the policyholder was receiving covered medical assistance) and issue remaining balances when services are held.
Through NGL’s Voice Signature Process, it is possible for agents to writer NGL products without meeting in person.
Grace Period Extension
As part of their COVID-19 response, NGL has extended policy grace periods to 120 days, before lapse of coverage due to non-payment occurs. With this policy change, previously lapsed policies from the last week may become reinstated, in which case policyholders will receive a notice of reinstatement. Commissions on first year policies will not be charged back until 120 days past due have occurred.
National Life Group
New Delivery Requirement For California Policyholders
As the entire state of California is currently under a shelter in place order, National Life will issue new policy requirements directly to policyholders via FedEx. This process will be in place until April 30th. National Life has indicated that agents will receive an email notification when policy documents are mailed out.
EZ Underwriting Limits Now $3 Million
NLG has temporarily raised the threshold for its EZ Underwriting to $3 Million on all permanent life insurance policies. Apps can be taken in-person or via video conference.
Coronavirus and Accelerated Benefit Riders
NLG recently released a flier offering insights on if and when an Accelerated Benefit Rider may apply with regards to a Coronavirus infection. To sum, infectious disease is generally not a qualifying event to trigger the ABR, but a covered critical illness can, or if the condition progresses to a terminal status. Additionally, an individual may be able to accelerate benefits if they qualify for a chronic illness rider and are unable to perform Activities of Daily Living.
North American has rolled out its WriteAway initiative for paper applications. The potential benefits of this are accelerated underwriting utilizing an online process, that can result in quicker turnaround times and commissions paid. This only applies to applications with a signed date of March 30th, 2020 or after.
Agents and advisors can learn more about WriteAway Underwriting here:
Flexibility on Submitted Business
North American has extended timeframes for cases pending underwriting requirements and receiving premiums.
From North American:
We will extend the time that a case can stay pending while we wait for underwriting requirements from 60 days to 120 days.
We will extend our deadline for receiving premiums (after the policy has been issued) from 30 days to 45 days.
Electronic Copy of Policies
Effective immediately, upon request, we will provide a PDF copy of the life insurance policy. You can make this request through your new business contact. Keep in mind, this is not a replacement for the printed version of the policy, but a quick way to get a copy of the policy in the hands of clients.
Doing Business Digitally
North American offers a new “Doing Business Digitally” guide that offers basic sales tips integrated with their digital processes.
Max Premium Now $1 million, Per Product, on All Products
Effective immediately, North American is lowering the maximum premium, per product, without home office approval from $3 million to $1 million on NAC IncomeChoice®, Performance Choice®, and North American Charter® Plus fixed index annuities plus North American Guarantee ChoiceSM multi-year guarantee annuities. Exception requests are generally turned around same-day.
Good Health Statement
“Effective March 26, 2020, any coverage approved on life insurance applicants aged 60 or older will require a Statement of Health to be signed on delivery. (This requirement does not apply to applicants for single payment whole life insurance.)”
This signals the carrier is trying to make sure high-risk individuals (i.e. those aged 60 or older) don’t have COVID-19 before issuing a policy.
Individual Life Insurance Changes
- We’re reducing caps and credited rates for IUL products. We strive to balance financial discipline and impacts to the index accounts and the upside they can offer. However, significant changes in interest rates and market volatility caused IUL index parameters to be adjusted. The new spreads and caps for impacted index accounts will be effective for index segments beginning April 15.
- We’re restricting single pays on Universal Life products. As a result of significant decreases to current interest rates, we will restrict single and short pay sales on all UL products, excluding VUL, effective April 13.
- We’re suspending sales of 30-year Term products until June. There will be a temporary suspension of Term Essential / Elite 30-Year Reprice Term Essential and Term Elite, effective April 13. Our goal is to reprice and reintroduce Term30 sales in June.
- We’re revising the large case review thresholds for UL Protector, SUL protector and SIUL. Effective April 13, they will be the same thresholds already in place for IAUL, Founders Plus, and Essential UL, which is at least $1M of total premium in any policy year. All other products (mainly VUL) would stay the same at $5M in year one and $1M in other years.
- We’re increasing pricing on UL protector. To restore and maintain profitability, we will increase pricing on UL Protector, effective April 27. The new rates will result in an average increase of 8 to 12% in all states (except New York) depending on age, underwriting class, and premium funding patterns.
New Business Life Insurance Applications
- Application Submission: Please submit your new business through the PruXpress Worksheet (linked with online eClient Interview) or an approved Ticket Platform. Either method will enable you to initiate life cases without in-person contact with clients AND enable all cases matching the criteria to be considered through Prudential’s PruFast Track (accelerated underwriting program), minimizing the need for additional medical requirements. Please refrain from using the traditional “long form” application, as this approach relies on in-person contact and typically requires more effort from the client and medical requirements.
- Risk Assessment: Prudential’s Underwriters are committed to assessing cases with minimal medical requirements. Maximizing the number of cases that are assessed through PruFast Track is critically important to reduce the need for paramedical exams, labs, and attending physician statements (APS). Cases will NOT be eligible for PruFast Track if medical requirements are submitted with the application or indicated to have been ordered. To ensure as many cases as possible qualify for PruFast Track, Prudential will be taking on the responsibility for ordering medical requirements on all cases. Additionally, Prudential will be expanding use of electronic medical records (Human API) along with other methods to drive fast decisions with minimal requirements. We understand that historically, some of our distribution partners have preferred to order requirements independently, but during these challenging times, the best approach is to allow Prudential to carefully assess the need for requirements and order directly, only if needed.
- Electronic Policy Delivery: We must work together to move fully to electronic policy delivery in this environment, to meet customer needs for social distancing. While traditional, paper policies will continue to be available on an as-requested basis, Prudential will shift to issuing the majority of policies in an electronic method. Specifically:
- eDelivery: eDelivery is available on all term policies and perm policies.* The current eDelivery process requires a completed eConsent form prior to issue, and while work is underway to improve the process by moving the eConsent form to delivery, to simplify handling during these challenging times your case manager is available to work with you on in-the-mill cases that do not have a completed eConsent form, to change the delivery method to eDelivery, without requiring the eConsent prior to policy issue.
*Note the following eDelivery restrictions: NY Replacement, Guam, Multiple-Owners, Trust or Entity Ownership, Juvenile, Survivorship, or Policies with Confidential Letters.
- eIssue: Includes all cases not eligible for eDelivery. With this process, an email and link to the PDF policy (accessed through the PruXpress website) will be sent to the producer or BGA case manager. The producer may use the PDF policy for delivery with the client and must return the delivery paperwork to Prudential. This currently requires a wet signature on the delivery requirements; however, your case manager is available to discuss options to simplify this delivery process including DocuSign and smartphone pictures of documents as a temporary solution to address in-person meeting limitations. We expect this to be widely available within the next 3 – 5 business days.
- Paper policies: In unique situations where paper policies are requested, your case manager is available to provide assistance in situations where alternative mailing addresses are needed.
Process Changes in response to COVID-19:
- File Closures: In situations in which cases are closed due to outstanding pre-issue requirements, Prudential will be extending the period of time in which cases can be reopened by 30 days on COD (cash on delivery) cases. Extensions will not be available for pre-paid cases unless there is assurance that the final requirement is en route to Prudential.
- Placement period extensions: An extension of 30 days is available for all COD cases. Placement extensions will not be available for pre-paid cases unless delivery can be completed within 5 days (and a new MIB will be requested along with a Good Health Statement).
- Not-taken reversals will be restricted to 30 days (new MIB to be run on all cases and Good Health Statement required).
- 1035 Exchanges: Other carriers have indicated that there may be delays processing 1035 Exchange funds, so please understand that there could be longer than anticipated delays with these requests based on the response time from other carriers. Outreaches will continue to be made to confirm other carrier receipt of the 1035 fund request.
- Life Exam/Lab Vendor Update: Prudential is working closely with our vendors and actively monitoring the impact and spread of COVID-19. Ensuring our applicants’ safety, as well as the safety of the individuals who work for our vendors, is critically important. While we have received confirmation from the Paramedical vendors that exams can be completed in most states without restrictions, we are partnering with the Paramedical vendors to determine the volume of cancellations and reschedules. Please keep an eye out on PruXpress.com for more information.
- Your New Business Case Management resources continue to be available to you, with no changes in operation hours. New business work will be prioritized each day based on pending and incoming volume. High-priority work like Application Data entry, Policy Issuance, and Placement will be given the most focus. At this time, there could be delays of up to 5 business days beyond our normal processing times in many areas.
- Life Commissions will be prioritizing work each day based on pending and incoming volume. High priority work that impacts compensation will be given the most focus. At this time, there could be delays of up to 10 business days beyond the normal service time for Transfers/Service Agent Change requests. Please do not submit second requests or follow-ups, as this will contribute to further delays.
- Post Issue will prioritize work each day based on regulatory requirements. Variable financial transactions, COVID-19 related requests, and death claims will have the highest priority, followed by all remaining financial transactions. At this time, there could be delays of up to 5 – 10 business days beyond our normal processing times in many areas to ensure that we are able to comply with our regulatory requirements.
Sagicor’s Accelerwriting (eApplication, no fluids or parameds, and eDelivery) is available on all Sagicor life insurance products. MYGAs and FIAs can also be submitted through eApp.
According to Sagicor following underwriting guidelines are now in place:
- All applications of applicants who have traveled internationally within the past 30 days will be postponed for 30 days from the date of their return, unless prohibited by state law.
- All applications of applicants with future international travel plans in the next 90 days will be postponed.
- Anyone exposed to the COVID-19 infection will have their application postponed for 30 days and will be reconsidered with evidence showing no current disease.
- A good health statement will be required on all cases. This good health statement will attest that there has been no change to the applicant’s health from the time of submitting the application.
Sagicor has implemented two very notable changes with regards to policy delivery. The first, the only option for life insurance policy delivery is electronic. The second is the removal of the max payment rule of $2,000 for eDelivery.
In instances where parameds and medical records may be difficult to obtain, agents are urged to use Securian’s WriteFit program. According to the carrier:
“Over 60% of submissions do not require a physical exam. WriteFit is available for ages 18-50 up to and including $2 million and for ages 51–60 up to and including $1 million. Opt-in to WriteFit on eApp.”
With regards to COVID-19, the following stances apply:
- If an applicant has planned travel/residency to a restricted area as deemed by the CDC within the next six months, a postponement may be warranted.
- If an applicant has symptoms matching COVID-19, a postponement for evaluation until 4 weeks after full recovery may be warranted.
- If an applicant has been tested and deemed positive for COVID-19 and has experienced:
- Mild symptoms with no hospitalization – postponement may be required until confirmation is received 4 weeks post recovery by a healthcare provider.
- Moderate to severe symptoms and/or hospitalization was required – postponement will occur until current evidence of good health by a medical practitioner (APS) is received more than 4 weeks post recovery.