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Understanding the Life Insurance Application Process

How Our Standard Application Process Works

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STEP 1: Complete the Application (10-15 minutes)

A health review is done when you first apply for insurance or if you are choosing to increase your coverage. The way a life insurance carrier gets to know you is called medical underwriting. The average time from the receipt of your application to the receipt of your insurance certificate depends on how quickly the underwriter can obtain your necessary medical information and, if needed, financial documents to assess your application.

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STEP 2: Potential Lab Work (15 minutes)

A representative will arrange for a convenient time and location for lab work and to acquire a specimen from you. Prepare for the visit by having your government-issued photo identification available. If possible, for the 12 hours prior to the appointment, avoid strenuous exercise, limit salt and high cholesterol food, refrain from alcohol intake, limit caffeine and nicotine consumption, and drink a glass of water just before the appointment.

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STEP 3: Attending Physician’s Statement (21 average days)

To complete the underwriting assessment of your application, further medical information regarding your health history may be requested from your physician. In some cases, a specialist report may also be needed. This will be arranged with your convenience in mind and at no cost to you.

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STEP 4: Other Requirements

Based on your medical history or the amount of insurance you are applying for, you will be notified if any additional information is needed to assess your application, such as an ECG/EKG, medical exam, supplementary questionnaires, and financial information. Arrange for the completion of any additional requirements as soon as possible.

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STEP 5: NYL Underwriter Decision (5 days)

Once you’ve provided the necessary details, New York Life will make the determination if you can be approved, and at what cost.

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STEP 6: WAEPA Approval/Notification to Member

WAEPA will send notification of your approval and if payment is needed. If you did not name a beneficiary when you applied be sure to complete the Change of Beneficiary form that will be included in your Policy Packet.

Life Insurance Application and Underwriting Videos

Online Application Tutorial

After Applying

Medical Underwriting

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If you’re unsure of your coverage needs or need help with the application process, our dedicated team of specialists is available to help you.

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Our team is available at (800) 368-3484, Monday through Thursday 8:30 am – 6:30 pm or Friday 8:30 am – 5 pm ET.

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Reliably Backed by New York Life Insurance Company

We’ve worked with New York Life Insurance Company to develop our exclusive protection for our members — and with good reason. For more than 175 years, American families have trusted New York Life to protect the financial future of those they love. It’s a company you can rely on. New York Life has received the highest financial strength ratings currently awarded to any U.S. life insurer*. 


A.M Best


Fitch Ratings


Moody’s Investors Service


Standard & Poor’s

*Third Party Rating Reports as of 10/19/2023.

Have More Questions?

How long does the application / purchase process take start to finish?

The average time from the receipt of your application to receipt of your insurance certificate is 6 to 8 weeks.

How long does the application take to complete?

The application may be completed in as little as 10-15 minutes. The time to complete the application is based largely on your personal medical history.

What information do I need to have available?

You should have your social security number, medical history, payment information (banking or credit card), current contact info (mailing, email address & phone), and the name of the Federal agency you are currently employed with (or are retired from). 

Can I save my application and come back to it?

You can save an incomplete application for up to 10 days if you create a login, but the application will close after 10 days. However, once you are at the DocuSign signature portion of the application, you cannot go back to the beginning.

What happens when I finish my application?

You will receive an email including a confirmation number once the application is complete. If additional information is required, you will be contacted by a WAEPA team member or New York Life partner organization.

How can I check on the status of my application?

Please contact WAEPA’s Member Services team directly at (800) 368-3484. Our hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 8:30am–6:30pm or Friday from 8:30am–5:00pm ET.

What is medical underwriting?

After you submit an application, underwriting begins. Underwriting is the process life insurance companies use to determine whether they’re able to offer life insurance coverage to applicants, and the premiums they charge.

What factors are considered by underwriters?

There are a variety of factors (which can vary by state) underwriters consider when determining your level of risk, including your:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Tobacco and alcohol use
  • Personal health situation and medical history
  • Family health history
  • Driving record
  • Criminal record
  • Previous and concurrent applications for life insurance
  • Foreign travel
  • Occupation
  • Hobbies

How will I be notified when the underwriter makes their decision?

How you are notified depends on whether or not your application is approved or declined.

What happens if I am approved?

If you are approved, a representative from WAEPA’s Member Services team will contact you by phone to inform you of your status. We will also follow-up with an email detailing payment options and other features of our product. If we’ve already received your banking or credit card information, your initial payment will be processed within five business days. If we don’t have your payment information, we will send you an additional email stating that an initial quarterly payment is needed to start coverage (an ACH Authorization Form would be attached to this email).

What happens if I am declined?

If you are declined, WAEPA will mail you a declination letter. New York Life will follow-up with an additional letter including the reason your application was declined.

What happens if my application is approved as applied for?

If your application is approved as applied for, then no further action is required.

What happens if my application is approved, but with changes?

If your application is approved with changes, you will be sent an amendment form for review and acceptance before the coverage takes effect and premiums begin.

When do I receive a Certificate of Insurance?

You will be mailed a Certificate of Insurance if your application is approved.