What is an attending physician statement?
An attending physician statement (or APS) is a document that can be requested by an insurance company if you are applying for life insurance or living benefits products. It allows the insurance company to better understand health risks associated with an applicant. Typically, this document is requested from your family doctor and the insurance company pays a fee for the request.
Do insurance companies always request an attending physician statement?
No, insurance companies do not always request an APS. In fact, most fully underwritten insurance policies do not need an APS. It is more likely to be requested for large coverage amounts, for elderly applicants, and people who have health issues. When possible, insurance companies prefer avoiding it as it comes with a fee that the insurance company has to pay.
Which insurance products might require an attending physician statement?
Life Insurance, Disability Insurance, Critical Illness Insurance, and Long-Term Care Insurance are among insurance products that might require an APS. As mentioned earlier, not every application will require an APS. It is only for select cases such as large face amounts (coverage limits, e.g. several million), known health issues, or elderly applicants.
Who completes an attending physician statement?
Typically, it is your family doctor who completes your attending physician statement, but there are situations when this can be not possible, e.g.:
- Family doctor retires
- No family doctor available (e.g. newcomers)
In these cases, an application may be postponed until someone has the required records. In some cases, insurance companies can reach out to specialists – this will likely increase the application processing time.
What does an attending physician statement cost?
Each attending physician statement can cost around $350 for the insurance company to pay. That explains the fact that insurance companies prefer to not request it unless it is really necessary. Some companies, such as Humania, try to move away from the APS by using intelligent underwriting that assess other underwriting factors with help of artificial intelligence (AI).
How long does it take to issue an attending physician statement?
An attending physician statement issue timeline can vary greatly, anywhere between two weeks and six or more months. It varies greatly from doctor to doctor. If an insurance company has to contact a specialist, it can take even longer. Some doctors still do not use email and will only respond by fax.
Can an insurance company decline your application based on the attending physician statement?
Yes, an insurance company may decide to decline your life insurance or living benefits application based on the information in your APS. In this case, you have an option to apply with another carrier (which might decide not to request an APS) or apply for no medical life insurance, which does not require an APS. Please note that different insurance companies have different underwriting protocols and parameters.
Attending physician statement, example
Here is a sample Attending Physician Statement from one of Canadian insurance companies, RBC Insurance
Source: RBC Insurance
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