Who is the underwriter?

Written by 
Bill Tsouvalas
Bill Tsouvalas is the managing director and a key company spokesperson at Savvy. As a personal finance expert, he often shares his insights on a range of topics, being featured on leading news outlets including News Corp publications such as the Daily Telegraph and Herald Sun, Fairfax Media publications such as the Australian Financial Review, the Seven Network and more. Bill has over 15 years of experience working in the finance industry and founded Savvy in 2010 with a vision to provide affordable and accessible finance options to all Australians. He has built Savvy from a small asset finance brokerage into a financial comparison website which now attracts close to 2 million Aussies per year and was included in the BRW’s Fast 100 in 2015 as one of the fastest-growing companies in the country. He’s passionate about helping Australians make financially savvy decisions and reviews content across the brand to ensure its accuracy. You can follow Bill on LinkedIn.
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, updated on November 25th, 2021       

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The underwriter plays a crucial role in how much cover you get for life insurance along with how much you pay in premiums. An underwriter essentially assesses your risk and will then determine what cover will adequately suit you. However, to do this they look at a variety of factors before delivering the final results. Here is how an underwriter can affect the end results of your cover.

How does an underwriter assess your application?

Life insurance is a vital cover anyone needs to secure their loved one’s financial future when they are no longer around. When you apply for cover your application will be assessed by a group of underwriters who will determine your level of risk and how much cover you will need to adequately provide for your family. Things that underwriters evaluate when determining this process are:

  • Health. This applies to your current health condition, a review of your medical history, or additional family medical history to determine your cover.
  • Lifestyle. Things such as whether you smoke, drink, or partake in other lifestyle choices that can influence your health will determine how much you pay in premiums.
  • Occupation. Your occupation will also be held under a magnifying glass by underwriters who will look at statistics to analyse the level of risk of injury and illness that your occupation holds.
  • Additional factors can play a role like your gender and age.

How will the underwriting process affect your policy?

Once you have applied for cover the underwriting process will take various factors of your application and medical history to determine what you will be paying in premiums. It will also evaluate whether you qualify for the type of cover you wish to apply for. Furthermore, it will affect the types of exclusions that will be applied to your policy and how much cover you can receive. Researching on the things that affect the underwriting process can better prepare you before you apply. It will also give you enough time to find an insurance company that will cover you for things that another life insurance company might not cover you for.

What documents will be needed?

When applying for life cover you will generally be requested to submit documents such as:

  • Proof of residency
  • Personal details
  • Occupation details
  • Medical history
  • Financial status

You could be requested to undergo a medical examination

During the underwriting process, you will be requested to submit medical history information, but it can also be elicited from your doctor’s medical records. However, this cannot be obtained without your permission. The information that is gathered is usually used towards helping underwriters better assessing you to ensure that your policy will provide you with adequate cover.

There are some medical conditions that will prompt you to undergo a medical examination which will be determined by your insurer. Some insurers might not provide cover for particular medical conditions, but by comparing policies you might be able to find one that will cover you.

Underwriters ensure that the application process is fair, and that you don’t end up paying more for cover that you don’t really need. They ensure that your policy is tailor-made to suit your situation instead of throwing a blanket policy that will not be adequate for you.