The Principal Speeds Life Insurance Underwriting to Within 48 Hours Without Labs

The Principal Accelerated Underwriting data platform combines existing technology with new capabilities to capture, store and integrate data in order to speedily process applications without use of exams, blood work, third-party data or credit sources.

Life insurance underwriting presents a promising opportunity for the application of “big data” to what has historically been a protracted and unpleasant experience for customers, but Principal Financial Group’s Accelerated Underwriting Program shows that the quality and treatment of data can be more important than sheer volume or variety. Eligible applicants can be approved in 48 hours or less without third-party data or credit sources, according to the insurer.

“We are excited to bring this new capability to our customers as it will improve their interaction with us by making the underwriting process quicker and easier,” comments Doug Fick, VP and CIO of United States Life Insurance Solutions.

Doug Fick, VP and CIO of United States Life Insurance Solutions, Principal Financial Group.

Doug Fick, VP and CIO of United States Life Insurance Solutions, Principal Financial Group.

The Principal Accelerated Underwriting program uses traditional sources of underwriting information, including a check of MIB, motor vehicle reports and prescription records, according to a company source. Interviewers use Principal’s TeleApp electronic application to collect an applicant’s personal history. Applications of qualifying individuals can be approved within 48 hour with a Super Preferred or Preferred rating. Eligible applicants include individuals aged 18-60 applying for any retail life insurance products for face amounts up to $1,000,000.

“Our studies found that almost 50 percent of eligible individuals tend to have a high number of favorable health factors, so lengthy exams and blood work are simply not necessary,” comments Neal Halder, assistant, VP and chief underwriter, individual life, The Principal. “The faster turnaround vastly improves the individual’s experience.”

However, the capability to identify good risks depends on good data, according to The Principal’s Fick. “Therefore, the strategy was to leverage our existing robust technology platform while adding new capabilities to capture, store, and integrate data in a manner to ensure fast and accurate results,” he comments. “Collaboration and an Agile environment were key to our success in developing this data platform.”


Anthony R. O’Donnell // Anthony O'Donnell is Executive Editor of Insurance Innovation Reporter. For nearly two decades, he has been an observer and commentator on the use of information technology in the insurance industry, following industry trends and writing about the use of IT across all sectors of the insurance industry. He can be reached at or (503) 936-2803.

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