One takeaway to note is the importance of producing or collecting documents and premiums within the U.S. so that they are supported by laws within the U.S. jurisdiction.
Our last U.S. Market√Check industry review on the topic found:
- Claims – None of the survey respondents indicated claims were worse than expected.
- Locations – Among most survey respondents, the most prevalent locations for HNWFN clients were Canada, Mexico, and/or South America. Latin America and East Asia were the next most prevalent regions. Business from Western Europe and the Pacific Rim was noted but not widespread.
- Mortality Risk – One of the biggest challenges to companies is trying to appropriately assess mortality risk for HNWFNs without the availability of traditional U.S. underwriting tools. Prescription database checks, motor vehicle records, U.S.‑like Attending Physician Statements/electronic health records, background checks, third-party verification of income and net worth, medical claims data, credit attribute scores, or tools such as LabPiQture, may only be partially available or not available at all.
Considerations for Insurers
Based on Gen Re’s experience with HNWFNs, along with our industry research, we’ve compiled a checklist for insurers writing business, or thinking about writing, in this niche market.
It’s important to know a country’s laws and regulations regarding their citizens buying life insurance from U.S. insurers. The laws governing the sale of life insurance may apply beyond the country or jurisdiction.
- All policy correspondence should go to a U.S. address. This includes starting from the solicitation and all related aspects of the sale/application – from the initial contact, completion of application, medical exam, inspection report, and any other requirements. All should take place within the U.S. – up to and including the policy delivery.
- Cover letters and other aspects of sale/application should be completed in English to facilitate underwriting, unless companies are staffed to work with other languages.
- For ease of doing business and to avoid litigation around the understanding of contract language, proposed insureds should be fluent in English. Some companies may not find this to be necessary.
- Unless your company is licensed outside the U.S., don’t allow delivery or provision of company written materials or references, or any related workflows outside of U.S. jurisdiction. This includes not allowing workflows through U.S. consulates, embassies or “in transit” locations such as an aircraft or watercraft.
- A U.S. bank account should be required to pay premiums.
- Don’t allow only a U.S. domiciled trust or LLC to be an acceptable nexus for writing the business.
- Don’t allow offshore ownership. Historically, this has too often been associated with fraud.
- Consider requiring that the proposed insured be physically present in the U.S. for at least 30 days in the prior 12 months. (For information on how proposed insureds can provide such information, see the U.S. Customs’ website: https://i94.cbp.dhs.gov/I94/#/home.)
- Ask for a copy of the proposed insured’s passport to understand foreign travel, and to see when he/she enters and departs from U.S.
- Ask the applicant to respond to a foreign residence/travel questionnaire. If help is needed with designing this questionnaire, Gen Re is happy to assist.