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50 Years of Laboratory Testing: A glance again on the function and evolution of laboratory testing in life insurance coverage danger evaluation


A newly minted faculty graduate walked via the doorways of a significant life insurer 50 years in the past.

“Child, welcome to our firm. You’re going to be an underwriter.”

Thus, begins our have a look at the historical past of lab testing over the previous 50 years. Our underwriter is familiarized with the instruments of the commerce in 1972.

  • Utility
  • MIB
  • Medical examination (Paramed exams will not be fairly but in widespread use.)
  • Inspection report.
  • Vital utilization of APSs

Accompanying that medical examination is the house workplace specimen report offered primarily by laboratories owned by a number of main mutual life insurance coverage firms. Bear in mind the “GIB lab” report? Trade trailblazer Jim Osborn opened the doorways to Dwelling Workplace Reference Laboratory, the precursor to LabOne/ExamOne, in 1972, revolutionizing the insurance coverage testing trade. Blood profiles have been reserved for high-face quantity instances. Routine blood profiles have been nonetheless greater than a decade away. The HOS report lined solely particular gravity, glucose, protein, WBCs, and RBCs.

Nineteen Seventies

Smoker/Non-Smoker charges have been simply beginning to be supplied on life merchandise in 1972. Within the absence of MIB or APS proof on the contrary, self-declaration decided which price the applicant acquired. “Smoker’s amnesia” was quickly acknowledged as a major drawback and in response cotinine testing was launched within the late Nineteen Seventies.

Nineteen Eighties

After which, in 1982, the bottom shook. A mysterious virus was spreading quickly and killing younger males on each coasts and the trade responded with widespread HIV testing, the place allowed by state laws. Who can overlook the New York Division of Monetary Providers initially prohibiting testing as they claimed there was no scientific proof HIV was the causative agent of AIDS? Right this moment, ExamOne is doing fourth technology HIV testing, a far cry from 40 years in the past.

The early 80s additionally noticed the “Cocaine Cowboys” of southern Florida and the Columbian drug cartels flooding the US with cocaine and different illicit medication. ExamOne started including cocaine screening to the urine panel, whereas the Minnesota Division of Insurance coverage famously declined an insurer’s utility that requested about previous or current cocaine use.

Nineteen Nineties

In 1996, a significant consumer approached the lab to associate on their “Radical Underwriting Redesign” mission. Producers continued to clamor for quicker turnaround, whereas accountants and actuaries appeared to scale back acquisition bills with out negatively impacting mortality. The insurer calculated the APS protecting worth for all main medical impairments and hypothesized that utilization of well-crafted tele-app interviews with focused drill-down questions coupled with enhanced lab testing may considerably cut back APS ordering and lower turnaround instances. The mission was a significant success. APS order ratios confirmed vital declines, whereas enhanced lab testing (decreasing fluid-only age/quantity limits for focused plans of insurance coverage) changed the protecting worth of the APS. Subsequent validation of the price/profit research in addition to long run monitoring of mortality clearly demonstrated the technique labored.

In simply 20 years, the “child” underwriter and the trade noticed main modifications and enhancements that have been making laboratory testing a necessary device for insurers. Do you bear in mind how issues continued to vary within the 2000s and into the brand new century?

Our subsequent weblog put up will proceed with extra flashbacks of laboratory testing for all times insurance coverage.

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