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Life Insurance Made Simple: Life Insurance Underwriting and Costs

Published: May 2016

Video Transcript

Scene: Animated man looks around at other animated men that look similar.

Audio/VO: Ever wonder how life insurance companies come up with your monthly payment amount? And why it might be different for similar people? Well, you're not alone.

Scene: He scratches his head in wonderment.

Audio/VO: Life insurance payments — or premiums — are determined by a process called underwriting. You've probably heard the word before, but how many people really understand what it means?

Scene: Visual continuum showing lower risk all the way to higher risk, with standard falling in the middle.

Audio/VO: Underwriting is simply the process insurance companies use to determine how your health, lifestyle, and risk profile compare to a statistical norm. The closer you compare to Norm's, the closer your premiums will be to the standard rate for specific insurance coverage. Underwriting is designed to help give everyone the fairest price possible.

Scene: Family depiction showing Ryan with his family, then his family without Ryan.

Audio/VO: Let's take Ryan, for example. He wants to get some term life insurance so Michelle and the kids won't fall on hard times and possibly even lose their home if he dies.

Scene: Ryan cost is represented by a green bar at a "standard" rate, then the bar gets slightly smaller.

Audio/VO: When he talks to his insurance agent about his needs, they decide to look at $500,000 20-year term life insurance policy. Ryan is provided with a quote at a Standard rate class… based on the norm. But after submitting his application and underwriting, the cost actually goes down. What gives?

Scene: Visual representation of all rating classes on a continuum. Occupation, hobbies, car shown on screen.

Audio/VO: There are many different rates for available for life insurance… from healthy low-risk lifestyles — what we call preferred elite — to rates for people with health and other risks. When you apply, your results will be used to determine your rate class and the premium you pay. You can be declined if you have a serious health condition. On the other hand, if you're in excellent health, your rate could be better. Either way, your cost is primarily determined by your medical history and a physical exam that's typically required, though your occupation, hobbies, and driving record are also factors.

Scene: Ryan shown wearing a blood pressure cuff and moving along the visual representation of rating classes.

Audio/VO: For example, if Ryan reports on his insurance application that he is being treated for high blood pressure, but his exam shows it's well controlled — and he's otherwise healthy — he might qualify for a better than standard rate class. This explains the difference in his quotes before and after underwriting.

Scene: Examiner shown in the home meeting with a customer. Wellness Report visually depicted on screen.

Audio/VO: What can you expect? When you contact your insurance agent, you'll get a quote based on some preliminary information you provide. When you fill out an application, you'll be asked questions about your health history and likely be given a contact at a medical exam company who will visit you in your home or office to collect blood and urine samples; take height, weight, pulse, and your blood pressure; and if needed, request an EKG. With Allstate, once the exam is complete, you'll get an online personalized Wellness Report with your exam results and an explanation of what they mean in plain English. The Wellness Report provides recommendations for leading a healthier life and a summary that can easily be shared with your doctor. Plus, you'll have an understanding of how your life insurance cost was determined.

Scene: Customer shown as being protected by a little protection bubble, moving to the table rated underwriting classes, but showing premium costs as being locked.

Audio/VO: Once you accept your policy, your life insurance rate is locked in, even if your health declines. But if your health improves over time, you may be eligible to improve your underwriting rating class. It's nice when things are one way — your way — right?

Audio/VO: So there you have it. Life insurance costs made simple. Learn more today!

Scene: Allstate logo and disclosures.

Audio/VO: Subject to terms, conditions and availability. Life Insurance offered through Allstate Life Insurance Company, Northbrook, IL; Allstate Assurance Company, Northbrook, IL; Lincoln Benefit Life Company, Lincoln, NE and American Heritage Life Insurance Company, Jacksonville, FL. In New York, life insurance offered through Allstate Life Insurance Company of New York, Hauppauge, NY. © 2016 Allstate Insurance Co.


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This content is for informational purposes only and may not be applicable to all situations.

Life insurance offered through Allstate Life Ins. Co. & Allstate Assurance Co., 3075 Sanders Rd, Northbrook IL 60062; Lincoln Benefit Life Co., 1221 N St. Ste 200, Lincoln NE 68508; American Heritage Life Ins. Co., 1776 American Heritage Life Dr., Jacksonville FL 32224. In New York, life insurance offered through Allstate Life Insurance Company of New York, Hauppauge NY.

Securities offered by Personal Financial Representatives through Allstate Financial Services, LLC (LSA Securities in LA and PA). Registered Broker-Dealer. Member FINRA, SIPC. Main Office: 2920 South 84th Street, Lincoln, NE 68506. (877) 525-5727. Check the background of this firm on FINRA's BrokerCheck website.
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