Illness, injury, and death can arrive at our doorsteps when we least expect them–bringing with them the threat of financial disaster. How to manage these risks in a cost-effective manner has become a steadily more pressing question. Furthermore, as health care costs continue to spiral, regulations become ever more tangled, and new insurance products are brought to market each week, the need for expert guidance has become critical. Our team can design a personalized risk management program for your employees or family that strikes the ideal balance between price, coverage, and flexibility. Our decades of experience, commitment to analyzing new risk management products, and ability to offer a very wide range of risk management vehicles allow us to provide coverage designed for your needs at low cost. We deal only with insurers that demonstrate superior financial strength as these products can provide the security your family or employees need to face an uncertain future.
Our Risk Management Services
Protecting your Wealth (Life Assurance 360™)
Whether you are evaluating existing coverage or seeking new insurance, The O’Neill Company uses a unique five-step process called Life Assurance 360™ to make certain that your policy fits your current needs and continues to serve its intended purpose for the duration of the policy.
By taking a comprehensive, 360° approach to designing, implementing and managing life insurance, we believe that the outcome produced for our clients is better than when each of these steps is addressed in isolation…that the whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts.
In this step, we use our proprietary Life Assurance Design Questionnaire to educate you about your life insurance options while gathering information about your goals, preferences, and risk tolerance. Additionally, our one-page Pre-Underwriting Questionnaire helps paint a high-level picture of how your medical history may factor into the overall plan design.
Prior to submitting an application, our experienced underwriting team gathers and reviews your medical information and begins clarifying all missing or incomplete details with your physicians to present your case to the carrier(s) in the most favorable light possible. For larger, more complex cases where privacy and confidentiality are paramount, our staff underwriters and licensed physician conduct a private medical evaluation to fully assess your medical risk while protecting your identity from the Medical Information Base (MIB).
After the initial fact finding process and underwriting assessment are complete, our underwriting and marketing teams develop product recommendations based on your goals, risk tolerance, and preferences regarding the five areas of product design: safety, flexibility, equity, certainty, and premium.
After product recommendations are developed, we create meaningful analyses of each plan and present the recommendations in a cogent format that empowers you to make informed decisions.
After you make your choice from among the recommended plans, we initiate an on-going process that monitors and measures the performance of your plan to ensure that your benefits remain on track for the life of the policy. We regularly review the plan’s performance with you using a concise, yet thorough, policy review document.
ValMark Concierge Services simplifies the life insurance application process by providing a confidential and highly personalized service to help coordinate the client’s application paperwork and necessary medical requirements. These services are offered exclusively to the clients of ValMark Member Offices and their allied professionals.
These private insurance services are made possible by:
- Proven methodology and technology
- A dedicated team of experienced insurance operations specialists
- Strong relationships with the industry’s leading insurance carriers
- Over 50 years of experience providing private, sophisticated services to valued clients of ValMark insurance professionals.
Navigating Policy Pricing (Underwriting Advocacy)
A Proactive Approach to Obtaining Favorable Underwriting Offers and Policy Pricing
What many people don’t realize is that one of the single greatest impacts on the price of a life insurance policy is professional management of the medical underwriting process.
Using our knowledge of how carrier underwriters, medical directors, and actuaries make decisions, we proactively position your life insurance application it its most favorable light.
We accomplish this through a proprietary informal underwriting process where we complete 90% of the underwriting BEFORE an application is submitted to an insurance company. This preliminary process enables us to pre-qualify underwriting offers from insurance companies, while protecting your Personal Health Information from the Medical Information Bureau so that your insurability remains unchanged.
SITUATION: A couple in their early 70s needed $30 million of coverage for their estate plan. The husband was uninsurable due to multiple heart attacks. The wife was also considered uninsurable due to obesity with a history of multiple “mini-strokes”, high blood pressure, asthma, and sleep apnea.
APPROACH: After reviewing the case, the Underwriting Advocacy Team determined that the wife might be insurable. They worked extensively with the wife’s physician to demonstrate that the “mini-strokes” were, instead, migraines. They showed that the wife’s high blood pressure was well controlled, and the asthma and sleep apnea were mild.
RESULT: $30 million of coverage was issued at standard (vs. rated) rates.
SITUATION: A couple in their early 60s with a net worth in excess of $100 million needed $50 million of coverage at a more efficient price. They had $30 million of coverage in force.
APPROACH: Coordinating the applications for coverage with multiple companies was essential in this case. The Underwriting Advocacy Team first used a private inquiry process to secure initial offers from the companies. Secondly, they coordinated three applications in phases to avoid exceeding carrier capacity limits. Lastly, they arranged to have the clients examined only once for all three applications.
RESULT: $50 million of joint coverage at preferred rates which increased the overall efficiency of the couple’s insurance portfolio.
SITUATION: A 60-year-old male diabetic needed $2 million of coverage. He had a history of burst vessel in his eye and also an abnormal amount of protein in his urine (an indication of a possible kidney problem).
APPROACH: The Underwriting Advocacy Team reviewed the client’s medical records and highlighted the client’s excellent history of diabetic control and normal urine findings. They also provided a detailed summary of the client’s medical records, which reduced the amount of assessment time required by the insurance company underwriters.
RESULT: A standard offer was received for the entire $2 million of coverage. The Underwriting Advocacy Team’s knowledge of which carriers viewed diabetics favorably as well as their ability to address the abnormal protein finding were critical in securing coverage at standard (vs. rated) rates.
Individual results may vary.
Before submitting an application, we collect all of the evidence required to render an underwriting decision so we can ensure your information is accurate. Any gaps can be clarified with your physicians before any evidence is submitted to the insurers. Also, contextual information can be added to help insurance company underwriters understand the big picture – why you are seeking insurance coverage, what you are doing to address any health issues, etc.
Most surprises in an underwriting evaluation come from the medical exam and lab work in connection with the life insurance application. Our confidential, private evaluation allows our team to review your exam and laboratory results prior to them being submitted to a carrier. These results, combined with a HIPAA-compliant confidential review of your medical records, allows us to assess your life insurance risk, address any abnormalities which may be present in the exam or lab results, and determine which carriers will have the most favorable evaluation of the application.
By proactively providing the home office underwriter with a clarified and coordinated presentation of your medical information, we remove as many surprises as possible and can usually help positively affect the evaluation of your risk.
Next, we submit your case to multiple insurance carriers using a carefully-structured methodology. This is where Underwriting Advocacy can be especially impactful in addressing the complexities of coordinating large amounts of coverage with multiple carriers.
Each carrier has a limited amount of risk it is willing to accept on a particular life. One large case submitted inappropriately to too many carriers at once, can flood the market. This can essentially block you from gaining access to higher amounts of coverage.
MEDICAL EXAMS: Although several companies may be selected at the beginning of the underwriting process, the Underwriting Advocacy process enables you to use one medical exam for all companies, avoiding the inconvenience of unnecessary or duplicate tests. The medical information can be shared with all companies in a format designed to present your case in its most favorable light.
UNDERWRITING INTERVIEWS: During the home office underwriting evaluation process, we conduct phone conferences, as needed, between your physicians and carrier underwriters so that the proper information and positioning is provided to obtain the most favorable offers possible.
After underwriting offers have been received, we consult with you and your advisors to select the best products and offers from the most appropriate insurance company or companies.
Key to the success of this proactive approach is expert implementation by a world-class underwriting team made available through our relationship with the ValMark Companies. Our consulting team includes several former insurance company Underwriting Vice Presidents and Medical Directors, a licensed physician, and a senior staff of case management, business processing and policy service specialists. Together, they confidentially represent, clarify and coordinate the details of your application with multiple insurance companies throughout the underwriting process.
Enhancing your Insurance Experience by Bridging Expectations with Results
Through our relationship with the ValMark Companies, we have access to The Policy Management Company which provides policy monitoring and management services for our clients’ in-force life insurance policies.
This is accomplished through an effective combination of technology, a dedicated team of policy management experts, and a professional process developed from ValMark’s 50+ years of experience with sophisticated life insurance policies.
Together, they form a durable bridge connecting your expectations of promised policy benefits with actual results. Our goal is to give you the assurance of ongoing policy performance while creating what we believe is a superior insurance experience. Potential advantages to both policy holders and trustees include:
- Assurance of ongoing policy performance
- Access to all policy information in one centralized location
- Assurance that your insurance needs are always covered
- Automated trust administration and documented policy performance
- Assurance of ongoing service by a trusted third party
SITUATION: A 50-year-old entrepreneur purchased a $2 million Guaranteed Universal Life policy with an annual premium of $50,000 and a lifetime guarantee.
CHALLENGE: In Year 2, the premium was two weeks overdue and the entrepreneur received a termination notice from the carrier giving him the option to pay $50,000 and receive a one-year guarantee or pay $145,000 for a lifetime guarantee.
Upon investigation, the advisor learned that the late payment had automatically caused a rate change that would have cost the entrepreneur $95,000 to reinstate the lifetime guarantee
RESOLUTION: The Policy Management Company was called in and was able to leverage its relationship with the carrier to reinstate the lifetime guarantee without additional premium. Of note, had the policy been originally supervised by The Policy Management Company, this situation could have been avoided due to proactive services such as premium alerts and advance notices.
SITUATION:A recently-retired, 65-year-old corporate executive purchased a $3 million Universal Life policy for a single premium payment of $850,000. The original policy was projected to sustain the death benefit to age 100 based on the current interest rates.
The client, who is now 85 years old, was notified that his policy is projected to lapse at age 89 due to the sustained low interest rate environment.
CHALLENGE: The carrier gave the client the choice of paying an annual premium of $129,079 to extend coverage to age 95, or $173,338 per year to extend coverage to age 100.
TAKE AWAY: This particular product design has the greatest risk of lapsing early due to the current low interest rate environment. If the policy would have been monitored more closely over the years, early intervention could have significantly reduced the amount of premium required to maintain coverage until age 100.
Individual results may vary.
Our strategic back-office partner, Valmark Financial Group, has developed a unique marketing system called The Life Settlement Advocacy Program™ to guide us through a life settlement transaction to work to provide the highest level of value for a client’s life insurance policy.