Most Americans don't have life insurance, but wish they did
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(ARA) -- If you know you need
life insurance, but still don't have individual coverage, you're not
alone. According to the Life Insurance and Market Research
Association, most Americans say life insurance is important, yet
only one-third of them are covered by an individual policy. That's
the lowest level in 50 years.
"Most Americans know life insurance protects their loved ones
against financial hardship in the event of an unexpected death,"
says Brian Murphy, who heads up The Hartford's life insurance
business. "But 40 percent of consumers get so discouraged by how
long it takes to buy a permanent policy that they simply give up
without getting the coverage they know they need."
Applicants who want to buy life insurance are sometimes faced
with perplexing forms and an approval process that can take more
than a month to complete.
Murphy says there are new ways of buying life insurance that take
the pain out of the process. He also has some suggestions for how to
improve on the old way of doing things.
"When today's consumers are used to buying products online and
receiving them at home within 48 hours," Murphy says, "they have
little patience for waiting a month or more to receive a new life
Fortunately, consumers can help streamline the application
process. Murphy offers four tips for speeding things up:
Check your credit
report before you apply. Many insurers take your credit score
and habits into account when determining your life insurance
premium. Knowing your score in advance can help ensure there are
no surprises when you get your approved policy and the bill for
your first premium.
Be thorough and
honest on the application. Virtually every insurer will ask
health-related questions, and many will also require a health
exam. Being less than truthful about weight, lifestyle habits
and health conditions can cause your application to be delayed
or even rejected.
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time when scheduling your health exam so that neither you nor
the examiner feels rushed or pressured. Ask what the exam will
entail and if there are any requirements, like fasting or
drinking lots of liquids. When making the appointment, also ask
if you will need any additional tests -- such as an EKG or
X-rays -- and find out if you can arrange for those to be done
Consider taking a new approach.
Consumers aren't the only ones who recognize the importance of
accelerating the application process; insurers do, too. The
Hartford, for example, recently introduced a new patent-pending
application process it calls Issue First. With Issue First,
applicants answer eight questions and sign and file their
application forms electronically. Issue First trims the time it
takes eligible clients to receive a policy down from 48 days (an
industry average) to as little as 48 hours.
"By creating a new way of assessing a person's risk factors and
accelerating the process, consumers can now get life insurance
coverage in a fraction of the time it used to take," Murphy says.
"And that means far more people are getting the coverage they really
need to protect their families and loved ones."
In a pilot conducted by the company, clients who opted for the
Issue First process ended up buying a life insurance policy 95
percent of the time, compared to a 65 percent closure rate for
clients who took the traditional application route.
To learn more about Issue First, visit
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