Episode 16: Accelerated Underwriting: Technology Changes The Face Of Life Insurance

Life insurance is not a hot ticket consumer item. People don’t like to face their mortality at the best of times. When insurers conduct surveys about buying life coverage, they unearth the same problem over and over: the process of applying and being approved is far too long, far too complex and, as a result, leaves consumers feeling far too uncertain that they’ll get coverage at all.

So, life insurance companies – or lifecos -are quickly adapting methods to reduce the 1 to 2 month (or longer) waiting period as much as possible. One key method that is rapidly finding traction is accelerated underwriting – in other words, speeding up the risk assessment process. And insurance companies are achieving this with digital solutions.

In this episode, we’ll hear from a former life insurance company executive at CNO Financial Group and Chase Insurance and the former Vice President of underwriting for Triple A Insurance. They’ll explain why lifecos have been laggards with technology when it’s working so well for property and casualty firms. And they’ll talk about how accelerated underwriting may just be the game-changer the industry badly needs. Our guests are Russ Bostick and Cheryl Johns.

Life insurance is not a hot ticket consumer item. People don’t like to face their mortality at the best of times. When insurers conduct surveys about buying life coverage, they unearth the same problem over and over: the process of applying and being approved is far too long, far too complex and, as a result, leaves consumers feeling far too uncertain that they’ll get coverage at all.

So, life insurance companies – or lifecos -are quickly adapting methods to reduce the 1 to 2 month (or longer) waiting period as much as possible. One key method that is rapidly finding traction is accelerated underwriting – in other words, speeding up the risk assessment process. And insurance companies are achieving this with digital solutions.

In this episode, we’ll hear from a former life insurance company executive at CNO Financial Group and Chase Insurance and the former Vice President of underwriting for Triple A Insurance. They’ll explain why lifecos have been laggards with technology when it’s working so well for property and casualty firms. And they’ll talk about how accelerated underwriting may just be the game-changer the industry badly needs. Our guests are Russ Bostick and Cheryl Johns.

Episode highlights include:

02:20 – The traditional application process is slow and cumbersome and discourages customers from buying.

08:21 – The solution to the long, drawn-out wait for an Attending Physician’s Statement.

11:53 – How commercially available health data is driving accelerated underwriting.

15:01 – The cost benefit argument for accelerated underwriting.

Episode Guests:

Russ Bostick

Managing Partner & Life Practice Lead, MVP Advisory Group

Russ Bostick is a corporate leader with 40 years of experience in the life insurance and information technology industries. He has held senior tech leadership roles for CNA, Corporate Software, and the CNO Financial Group. He also served as the Chief Technology Officer for Chase Insurance division of JP Morgan Chase. Today, Bostick stands as the co-founder and life segment leader for MVP Advisory Group, a management consultancy focused on enabling small to mid-sized insurance carriers to improve their profitability and competitive standing.


Cheryl Johns

CVP Underwriting Standards, New York Life Insurance Company

Cheryl Johns is an experienced life insurance executive with a demonstrated history of implementing technology and process change. She has overseen successful change initiatives in all areas of insurance including underwriting, policy administration, claims, client experience, finance, compliance, data warehousing, data analytics, human resources, and information technology. She spent 15 years of her four-decades-long career as the VP of Underwriting and New Business at the AAA Life Insurance Company.