Many insurance companies have adopted the practice of calling an applicant on the telephone and asking them about their medical history. They do this to avoid automatically requesting medical records from a doctor for every application. Every time they request medical records, they have to pay doctors for them. Telephone interviews are much less expensive for the insurance company. In addition, you will often get a faster action on your application.
If the underwriter still feels like medical records are required before your application for insurance can be approved, he retains the right to request medical records from your doctor.
Telephone interviews are a normal part of the underwriting process. They are nothing to fear. Neither are they anything to be taken lightly. This post will give you some things to think about if you submit an application for insurance and get a subsequent telephone call from a stranger.
Make certain that you confirm who is calling you. The telephone interview is a legitimate tool for an insurance underwriter. Crooks and con-men know that as well.
A legitimate insurance agent will never call you and start asking you private questions about your life-style or health. If someone calls you and starts asking you private questions, do not give your information before you verify their identity.
The only ones who should be calling you are people from the insurance company to which you you submitted an application or your insurance agent.
(Never, under any circumstances should you ever give your Social Security number or date of birth to a stranger over the phone. If anyone from an insurance company calls you, they already have that information on your application. If anyone needs to verify your private information, they do.)
Answer their questions honestly. Use everyday English. Avoid using medical terms unless you are reading them off an official document from your doctor or a pill bottle. Answers you give an underwriter over the phone are legally binding. If you use a medical term incorrectly, it can give the underwriter an excuse to decline your application.
(Your doctor and the insurance underwriter use medical jargon. They understand “Medicalese.” If you use a medical term, the underwriter has the right to assume that you understand what it means. If you use that term incorrectly, the underwriter can must assume the worst. Avoid using medical terms at all costs. Make the underwriter get your medical records from your doctor if there is any doubt. It is better to say, “I don’t know what causes my knee to hurt when it rains. You need to contact my doctor.” That is much better than to self-diagnose arthritis.)
Be prepared with the details for your medical providers and medications. If your underwriter requests a telephone interview, he will probably want to verify your prescription medications. Be prepared to tell them the name of the drug you take, how often you take it, the strength you take and the condition for which it was prescribed.
If they ask you for more detailed information about your health than you are comfortable giving, give them the name, address and phone number of your doctor. If they really want the information, make the underwriter get it from someone who speaks their same language.
(Remember, your objective is not to deceive the underwriter. Your goal is to make certain the underwriter gets correct information with which he can make a decision that is good for both you and the insurance company.)