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What Should I Expect From the Life Insurance Underwriting Process? 

Life Insurance

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5 min Category: Life Insurance

A life insurance policy is one of the most important purchases you can make in terms of protecting your family’s financial future. While the application and medical underwriting process can seem daunting, this guide outlines what you can expect to happen during the underwriting of your application and how you can help ensure that the process stays on schedule. 

1. The Initial Life Insurance Application

Here’s What You Can Expect to Happen

Current and former Civilian Federal Employees can apply for Group Term Life Insurance* with WAEPA quickly and easily with our online application

The average time from the receipt of your application to receipt of your insurance certificate is six to eight weeks. This depends on how quickly the insurance company’s underwriter can obtain the necessary medical information and, if needed, financial documents to assess your application. 

Learn more about WAEPA’s eligibility requirements >

Here’s How You Can Expedite the Process

On your Group Term Life Insurance application, answer all questions fully, providing details where required. Include your social security number, and sign and date your application. 

2. Telephone Interview

Here’s What You Can Expect to Happen

As part of the underwriting process, you may need to complete a telephone interview, which will include questions about your health and your family medical history. 

If needed, within 3 to 5 days of your application being submitted to the underwriting company, you will be contacted by a representative of our paramedical service provider (ExamOne) to complete the telephone interview. 

The interviewer will ask you about: 

  • Doctors’ visits
  • Your medical and personal history 
  • Your immediate family’s (parents, siblings) medical history 
  • Setting an appointment for your blood and urinalysis specimens to be collected, as well as taking your vitals 
  • If you are applying for life insurance, you may be asked a few questions about your financial assets. 

Here’s How You Can Expedite the Process

Prepare for the interview by having the following information: 

  • Medical conditions—diagnosis and date diagnosed, treatment and result of treatment, treating physician information 
  • Medications used—prescribed and over-the-counter; names and dosages; how long used 
  • Primary care physician’s name, address, phone number 
  • Other medical visits in the last five years including doctors, clinics, hospitals (include dates and reasons for each visit) 
  • Your immediate family’s (parents and siblings) medical history 
  • Depending on your medical history, the average time for the interview is 20 to 30 minutes. 
What should I expect from the life insurance underwriting process?

3. Blood Chemistry Profile and Urinalysis

Here’s What You Can Expect to Happen

An ExamOne representative will arrange for a convenient time and location to collect your specimen. On the day of the visit, the examiner may also take your vitals and record your height and weight. A copy of the lab results will be available to you via ExamOne’s website. The average time for the visit is 15 minutes. 

Here’s How You Can Expedite the Process

Prepare for the visit:

  • Have your government-issued photo identification available. 
  • Provide any history of problems associated with providing a specimen. 

If possible, for the 12 hours prior to appointment:

  • Avoid strenuous exercise 
  • Limit salt and high cholesterol food. 
  • Refrain from alcohol intake. 
  • Limit caffeine and nicotine for 1 hour; and drink a glass of water just before the appointment. 

4. Attending Physician’s Statement (APS)

Here’s What You Can Expect to Happen

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. Average time for completion of APS is approximately 21 calendar days. 

Here’s How You Can Expedite the Process

Advise your doctor to expect the request.

What should I expect from the life insurance underwriting process?

5. Other Requirements

Here’s What You Can Expect to Happen

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:

  • ECG/EKG 
  • Medical exam 
  • Supplementary questionnaires 
  • Financial information 

The underwriter will notify you if any additional information is required.

6. Underwriter Decision

Here’s What You Can Expect to Happen

Once all requirements are received, the underwriter will render a decision, usually within 5 business days of receiving the last underwriting requirement. 

Here’s How You Can Expedite the Process

Understand that an underwriting decision is about evaluating risk. The decision you receive, including the rate and amount offered, considers your information against a larger pool of people with traits similar to you, known as your risk class. 

7. Acceptance of Policy Documents

You will be mailed a Certificate of Insurance if your application is approved. Premium payments will begin according to the mode of payment you selected. 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. If your application is not approved, you will receive a confidential letter explaining the reasons. 

Once you’ve been approved for coverage, you can enjoy peace of mind knowing that you have secured your family’s financial future. WAEPA also offers members other exclusive benefits, including a free financial wellness program from EY, scholarship program, and premium refunds**.  

Learn more about WAEPA >  


This information is courtesy of New York Life Insurance Company, used with permission. It is intended exclusively for general information only. 

*Underwritten by New York Life Insurance Company, 51 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10010 on Policy Form GMR-FACE/G-30280-0 

**While premium refunds are not guaranteed, they have been awarded in 26 of the past 27 years. 

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