The THiNK Blog

grab a coffee and give yourself the freedom to read


16 Blogs Life Underwriters Need to Read

Thu, 31 Jan 2019 14:50:18 +0000 / by Darlene McFadden

L3 Corp_Blog_15 blogs must read

The new year offers a fresh start for everyone to set new goals and achieve new heights in their personal and professional lives. Life underwriters looking to get a jump on their career goals and refresh their knowledge can turn to our Underwriting Expert Series. With tips straight from industry experts, we unpack underwriting trends and challenges and offer a deep dive on the unique challenges that underwriters face.

Get ready for the year ahead by reading 16 articles that helped underwriters excel and underwrite with confidence last year:


1. Underwriting Mature Ages

Canada’s (and the world’s) aging population means that underwriting applicants who are aged 65 and up is an increasingly important aspect of life underwriting. Knowing what nuances and qualities to look for in terms of physical functions, existing diseases, hospitalization, chronic coughs, asthma, depression, falls, and weight fluctuation can help underwriters work with mature applicants more efficiently and effectively.

2. The Impact of Marijuana on Insurance

The legalization of marijuana last year has led to significant shifts and changes in the insurance industry. Impactful considerations like smoker or non-smoker status, premium rates, how to handle medicinal marijuana, and an increasingly competitive landscape from providers and pharmacy chains offer a lot for underwriters to think about.

3. Genetic Testing

Mapping the human genome unearths huge potential for health care and medicine but it also adds to the complexity of underwriting. Underwriters need to understand the intricacies of Bill S-201 – Canada’s Genetic Non-Discrimination Act and how they impact underwriting. Most importantly: genetic testing cannot be required of any applicant and terms and conditions cannot be made contingent on the test.

4. Opioid Crisis

Opioids, typically prescribed for pain management, have caused record numbers of deaths in recent years. Thousands of Canadians have lost their lives, making the opioid crisis an urgent issue in health care and an important challenge and risk factor for underwriters to recognize.

5. Link Between Obesity and Cancer Risk

The connection between a higher BMI and development of certain cancers is something that underwriters need to understand in order to assess and reassess risk. At least twelve types of cancers have been linked to body weight, due to the associated effects on increased insulin levels, inflammation, estrogen, and cell growth regulators.

6. Abnormal Kidney Function in Younger Ages

Knowing the kidney function tests that underwriters come across and the abnormal results that most commonly present themselves in younger people can help you determine whether these results are benign or cause for concern. Look out for serum creatine, blood urea nitrogen, and urine protein as key indicators.

7. Millennials and Driving Mortality Risk

Does the generation that everyone keeps talking about actually have a higher risk when it comes to driving? Even amongst convincing overall trends, life underwriters should consider the bigger picture and behaviours of drivers in other age brackets. Discover why the author recommends taking each applicant case by case versus making assumptions based on age and generation.

8. Epilepsy

Recognize the difference between generalized and focal (or “partial”) seizures and how to best determine the quality, duration, symptoms, treatment, and control an applicant has over their epilepsy. The higher mortality rate – 1.6 to 9.3 times higher than that of the general population – and the link with depression, estimated at 30-35% of psychiatric comorbidity in people with epilepsy, are important factors for underwriters to grasp.

9 & 10. COPD

Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder encompasses serious lung diseases that cause difficulty breathing and can even lead to death. A huge variety of treatment options and everyday triggers like air pollution, second-hand smoke, extreme air temperatures, and perfumes can make COPD an uninsurable risk. First, find out everything life underwriters need to know about COPD and then discover the crucial information you need to underwrite the disease

11. Colon Cancer

Understand the red flags, symptoms, treatments, and tests you need to know to underwrite the cancer that claims the lives of 25 Canadians in an average week. As the second leading cause of death in men and third leading cause of death in women, recognizing risk factors like family history, lynch syndrome 2, and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is critical.

12. Pharmacogenetics

Studying how the efficacy and toxicity of drug response is impacted by a single gene has major implications for diagnoses and treatment in health care. It could even lead to potential changes in how life insurance is packaged and approved. Learn how drug responses, like pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics can be better understood and tailored with genetic testing.

13. Concussions and Critical Illness

The rate and degree of youth concussions is on the rise. Enhance your understanding to match the increase in incidents. Review the key symptoms of concussion, diagnosis types and challenges, and how you can chart long-term effects, including post-traumatic headaches and vertigo, epilepsy, and chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

14. Lung Cancer and Non-smokers

Lung cancer can’t only be considered a smoker’s disease. Learn how signs of this disease should be carefully addressed in non-smokers, particularly people over the age of 40 and individuals living in certain regions.

15. Treating Type II Diabetes with Gastric Bypass Surgery

It’s essential to keep a pulse on new treatment options, especially for prevalent conditions like diabetes. The potential to eliminate Type II diabetes, once considered a lifelong illness, with gastric bypass surgery creates new considerations for underwriters.

16. Critical Illness Insurance

Knowing the fundamental differences between critical illness (CI) insurance and life insurance can help you approach CI underwriting – where the insured receives payment if they are diagnosed and survive a critical illness covered. The focus shifts and underwriters need to dig even deeper into the details, especially when it comes to family history, medical history, policy intricacies, and conditions covered.

Subscribe to our blog to discover what topics our team of underwriting experts will explore in 2019. Subscribe to our blog to get articles straight to your inbox.

Topics: Underwriting Expert Series

Darlene McFadden

Written by Darlene McFadden

Become an industry thought leader. Don’t forget to share.