Underwriters and claims assessors should aim to keep up to date with the evolving management of mental health conditions to ensure risk and claims assessments are dealt with accurately and fairly to prevent stigma perpetuation.
Identifying depression is critical to minimizing patient distress, but despite treatment advances, excess mortality persists, says RGA's Akhilesh Pandey. He discusses the disease process, treatment and prognosis, and underwriting implications in On the Risk, the Journal of the Academy of Life Underwriters.
So how can we underwrite these cases better? How can we reach fair decisions quickly and efficiently?
One of the conditions met with a lot of confusion by brokers and agents in trying to assess where it falls underwriting-wise is bipolar disorder. Those with the disorder often represent it as if it were a minor inconvenience, and oftentimes any period of remission is met with a request for a standard or preferred issue.
As a young psychiatrist, I went through a period of being excited about the brain. It seemed that emerging technologies in imaging and genetics would transform clinical psychiatry.
considered by life insurance underwriters are highly influenced by routine clinical assessments, often undertaken in acute situations following an episode of self-directed violence.
Recent celebrity deaths have brought the topic of suicide out of the shadows and sparked conversation about the causes for suicide and possible preventive measures.
From a financial point of view, the cost of suicide to society is significant in terms of lost productivity and income, and the life insurance industry annually pays out millions for suicide claims.
There is plenty of evidence that, generally, mortality is elevated in mental illness. That it should be so in the more severe forms such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder should be no surprise, but it is interesting to note that even milder conditions may present an extra risk.
The underwriting of mental health conditions has always been notoriously difficult. To properly assess such applicants an underwriter needs to look at the complete picture of not only the applicant’s health but also factors such as employment record and support network.