Underwriting FAQs

  • I just received my premium rate. Why is it different than what I thought it would be?

    Different people pay different insurance rates (premiums). The rate you pay is based upon your age, your health, and your lifestyle. For instance, if you skydive as a hobby, you are considered a higher risk than someone who feels that knitting is about as adventurous as it gets! SBLI determined your “risk class” based on the results of the insurance underwriting process.

    The information provided on your application, information gathered from your physician and possibly the MIB report, the results of your paramedic exam and other important information, such as your driving record and personal habits are the basis for determining your life insurance premium rate.

  • What will you be testing me for?

    Things like your cholesterol levels, glucose levels, red and white blood cell counts, etc. SBLI will also test your blood for the antibody to HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), as well as for the presence of drugs and/or nicotine.

  • Will I be approved at the completion of the underwriting process?

    At the end of the underwriting process, you will be determined to be either:

    Approved: Great news! Your life insurance application has been accepted! Your coverage will take effect on the date it was approved by SBLI, subject to the payment of your first premium and your good health on that date.
    Modified: Looking good! Your life insurance application will be accepted once you agree to any modification(s) offered by SBLI. We may change the amount of coverage, the premium rate class, or alter some of the benefits, due to a medical condition or hobby.
    Declined: We're sorry. Your medical condition, based on your medical history and all of the information gathered by the SBLI underwriter, falls outside the established range of insurability for the SBLI life insurance policy you applied for. Or, the amount of coverage you are requesting is greater than your financial need. SBLI will send you a letter explaining the reasons your request was declined.
    Filed Inactive/Postponed: We're sorry. But without all of the information requested, we are unable to make a decision on this case. SBLI will send you a letter telling you what information is outstanding. If you are able to get this information to underwriting in a timely manner we may be able to reopen the case and give you a decision. In some cases, depending on the amount of time that has passed, additional requirements may be needed.

  • Can I get a copy of my lab results?

    In most cases, we will forward a copy of your results upon request. There are certain instances where SBLI will only send your results to your personal physician, who is better equipped to interpret the results for you.

  • What will SBLI do with the information received from the MIB?

    An underwriter will review your life insurance application information and compare it to what is in your MIB file. The information in your MIB file is used only as an alert. No underwriting decision can be made solely on the basis of the MIB report.

  • Whom can I talk to if I have questions or want to know about the status of my life insurance application?

    Please contact your representative or broker any time during the life insurance application process. We're here to help you get the insurance you and your family need. If you do not remember the agent's name, call SBLI and we can easily secure it for you. You can reach us at:

    Monday - Friday 8:00 A.M. through 6:00 P.M. Eastern Time

    P. O. Box 4048
    Woburn, MA 01888-4048

  • What happens with my exam results?

    SBLI will have your blood and urine samples analyzed by one of our approved labs. The underwriter that is assigned to your case will receive these confidential results. You will be given a copy of all of the important disclosure documents that detail your rights and SBLI’s privacy policies related to how we handle your health and other information.

  • That's a lot of personal information that SBLI will have about me. How do I know that my information is secure?

    Rest assured that your privacy is of the utmost importance to SBLI. We have policies and procedures in place that ensure your information is only handled by authorized SBLI personnel. The security of your information is something that SBLI takes very seriously. To see a copy of our privacy statement click here.

  • What is insurance underwriting?

    "Underwriting" is a term that is used by insurance companies that describes the insurance company’s process for reviewing and approving, modifying, or rejecting your life insurance application.

  • You mentioned this agency, MIB. Who are they and what role do they play in the underwriting process?

    As part of the underwriting process, SBLI will gather information from the MIB Group, Inc. (MIB). The MIB is comprised of a group of U.S. and Canadian life insurance companies whose primary purpose is to detect, and deter, fraud that may occur when someone applies for life insurance.

  • How long will the underwriting process take?

    It depends. The insurance underwriting process can take anywhere from 2 weeks to 3 months, depending on the amount of information that the SBLI underwriter needs to gather and how quickly SBLI receives the information from outside sources. On average, the process usually takes about a month from start to finish.

  • What does the MIB do?

    MIB's primary purpose is to protect Member companies, such as SBLI, from proposed insureds who knowingly or unknowingly leave out important information concerning their insurability on their life insurance applications.

    When a person applies (completes the application) for a life insurance policy, he or she is asked a number of questions that help to classify him or her as an insurance risk. In the case where an applicant either forgets to answer a question correctly, or fraudulently completes questions, or knowingly leaves out information on the application, MIB provides an alert to SBLI regarding information that may be relevant in the risk assessment process.

    When you apply with SBLI, we will share our findings with MIB as well.

  • What are the steps in the insurance underwriting process?

    When you apply for a life insurance policy, your application goes to SBLI's underwriting department, where the process begins. You will be required to take a paramedic examination (at SBLI's expense) and SBLI may request a copy of your medical records, as well as information from the MIB Group, Inc. (MIB).

    Once the SBLI underwriter gathers all of this information, a decision will be made about your application for life insurance. You will either be approved for coverage, asked to modify your coverage, or be declined for coverage.

  • What can I do to help speed up the underwriting process?

    It helps the SBLI underwriters immensely if your application includes all of the required information. The process moves much more quickly when we have everything we need and we don’t have to go back and ask you for additional information. Providing specific doctor information – full name, addresses, specialty, and phone numbers – on all doctors that you have used in the past is particularly helpful. Your correct social security numbers, driver’s license, exact height and weight, meeting with the Paramedic as scheduled, and signature on all forms are helpful too.

  • How does SBLI obtain my medical records?

    Based upon the information provided on your life insurance application - as well as the results of your paramedic exam and the information included in the MIB record - an underwriter may request additional information from your primary physician. SBLI will ask you to sign a release form that allows SBLI to contact your physician(s) and obtain copies your medical records. All of your information will be treated as "confidential".

  • What is involved with the paramedic exam?

    When you apply for life insurance with SBLI, you'll be required to have a paramedic examination. The results from this examination help our underwriters determine your health status. Within a few days, you'll be contacted by a trained paramedic examiner who will give you specific instructions, such as whether or not you can eat or drink before the exam, and other details. This "paramedic" will come to a place that's convenient for you (your home, your office or other location) to conduct the paramedic examination.

    During the exam, the paramedic will:

    • Draw blood from your arm;
    • Collect a urine sample;
    • Determine your height and weight;
    • Check your pulse and blood pressure;
    • Depending on the amount of coverage you need, possibly complete an EKG (electrocardiogram)

    The exact steps of your exam will depend upon your age, your past health history, family history and the amount of insurance that you're applying for.

  • What if I have more questions about MIB?

    Please visit their website at www.mib.com for additional information, or call your SBLI representative to ask them specific questions.

  • What does an underwriter do?

    An "underwriter" is a person who is specially trained in evaluating risks of life insurance policy applicants and who assigns the "correct" rate classification for SBLI.

  • Why is the MIB’s role in insurance underwriting important?

    MIB saves its Member companies an estimated $1 billion annually by enabling them to avoid fraudulent insurance applications and the costs of unexpected claims. These savings are potentially passed down to consumers in the form of lower premiums.