What’s ahead for life insurance underwriting?

If you’ve tried to purchase life insurance and been turned off by the lengthy analog process, I don’t blame you. Removing barriers to coverage is why we’ve worked so hard to bring this essential product into the 21st century with an all-digital platform. 

One of the most exhilarating parts of that innovation journey has been underwriting. Underwriting depends on data, and data—how we source it, how we analyze it, and how we use it—is evolving at an exponential pace. With things moving so fast it’s important to pause to acknowledge how far the industry has come, and ponder where it might be going. 

The initial phase
Underwriting—the concept of which goes back many centuries—began to slowly evolve in the 20th century, with additional health and risk classes added beyond the initial one of age. The smoker/non-smoker designation that appeared in the ’70s, along with advancements in blood drawing in the ’80s, provided a more accurate risk assessment. But the administration of underwriting still included in-person appointments and hand-written paperwork, with a hefty price tag for labor costs and lab testing. 

In short, it was viewed by many as an unbeloved process and the act of applying was seen by these folks as a lengthy and laborious chore. Despite consumers’ perspective on the underwriting process,  it stayed relatively unchanged during the 20th century, perhaps because there was no real incentive to change it.   

A digital awakening
One of the hallmarks of the 21st century is getting anything you want instantly and online, whether that be banking or getting approved for a loan. Life insurance is now also available instantly and online. 

But not all digital underwriting is equal. The launch of “simplified issue” products enabled a more desirable front-end experience, but those have come at a cost for the consumer—quite

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Why The Time For Digital Life Insurance Is Now

Jamie Hale is the CEO and Co-Founder of Ladderthe life insurtech helping more people get covered in an instant, easy, and affordable way.

My journey with life insurance began over 30 years ago as a personal story. My dad passed away when I was 11. He had a simple life insurance policy, which allowed my family to stay stable in a time of extreme uncertainty. My father’s act of love has stayed with me. When I founded my company in 2015, I knew firsthand not only the long-lasting effects a good life insurance policy can provide for families, but also that the industry badly needed disruption.

I believe many in the industry have failed to keep up with consumer expectations in a digital-first world, relying on analog practices for an intangible product that should be as simple to get as making a bank deposit is. Anyone who has tried to get a traditional policy has likely felt just how drawn-out, clunky and manual the process is.

thankfully, things have been changing rapidly. Awareness for life insurtechs among millennial active shoppers has climbed almost 30% in the last 10 months. The pandemic has brought mortality front and center, with 31% of millennials saying they were more likely to buy coverage now. Financial influencers have been flourishing on social media as consumers actively seek better control over their financial lives.

And technology has matured. Technology-first insurance players can now solve increasing complex data problems, thus developing better underwriting outcomes that benefit both customers and the bottom line.

Life insurance is at a tipping point. I predict that over the next 10 years, the bulk of the life insurance market will shift over to digital players. Here’s why.

The opportunity to disrupt is enormous.

I mean that literally: The

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