This month, I wanted to do something a little different. I want to give some tips and reminders to make the process of submitting life insurance applications a little easier for both you and your clients. So much emphasis is put on prospecting and making the sale that we sometimes overlook the little things can really help make a case go smoothly and give your client the best chance for a quick decision and better rate class. Many of these tips and reminders might seem obvious, but they are worth mentioning.
Licensing: Aw yes, licensing…the one thing we can all agree is the least enjoyable part of being an agent. However, licensing is extremely important and must be taken care of on the front end. The good news is with most life insurance carriers and most states, ProducersXL can submit your licensing at the same time as the application. Additionally, ProducersXL utilizes a licensing program that can generate forms you can electronically sign in a matter of minutes. If you know you are writing a case and you are not licensed, the best thing to do is reach out immediately for licensing with the particular carrier you are writing. That way, when the business comes in, the licensing has already been completed. This is also true with electronic or drop ticket applications. Sometimes, you don’t have the luxury of knowing ahead of time what the client wants, and you end up writing the case before the licensing has been completed. That’s okay, but you should still reach out to our office so we can complete the licensing done as soon as possible. Most carriers have a small window of time from when the application is submitted to the time licensing must be in the home office. If we miss that window, you might be left completing the application all over again and that’s never fun for you or the client.
Legible Handwriting: This might seem silly to mention but not being able to read your handwriting can cause a lot of problems and add time and effort to the underwriting process. It can even cause serious problems if the carrier records the wrong information and the case gets placed inforce with the incorrect information. Fixing those issues will cost you and your client time and effort when it could have been easily avoided by completing a legible application. Most paper applications are fillable. So, if your handwriting isn’t the best, you can always complete the application via the computer.
Another obvious tip is to make sure all questions on the application are completed. There is a reason those questions are on the application and are required. Leaving questions blank on the application, or sending us an application before it is complete, is a fast way to get gray hair. If you send in an application that is not complete, get ready to receive an email with a laundry list of outstanding requirements. It’s easier to get those questions answered when you are completing the application with the client, than having to follow up multiple times with them to get everything completed.
When completing paper applications, is to make sure all pages of the application are included and the form/page numbers are at the bottom of each page. Sometimes when we email or fax applications, the page numbers can be cut off the bottom of the application pages. Most carriers will not accept an application if the form numbers are not included or legible, and you will be left having to complete the application again.
Electronic Signatures: Many agents like to complete paper applications using an electronic signature vendor, like DocuSign or Adobe Sign. Some carriers do not allow electronic signatures, and almost all that do allow electronic signatures, only have certain approved vendors. If you complete an application for a carrier that has not approved the vendor you are utilizing, you will be left having to complete the application a second time. Although DocuSign is the most widely accepted vendor, you should definitely call our office before you complete the application, to make certain you are using an approved vendor for the carrier you are writing.
Field Underwriting: If you know me at all, you know I am a BIG believer in field underwriting your clients before you quote and submit the business. Asking the field underwriting questions on the front end and putting your client into an appropriate rate class is incredibly important and gives you the best chance to place the case on the back end. Every case you submit that doesn’t get placed properly is not only money left on the table but money coming out of your pocket. As we all know, time is money. If you are unsure of the rate class to quote your client, call our office to discuss the case in detail. We can help advise the appropriate rate class and product for your client.
Writing life insurance can be a very important and profitable part of your business, and we don’t want negative experiences to dissuade you from writing business. Following these tips and reminders can positively impact yourself and your client and give you the best chance to place business.