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Get to know Summit Experience

Best-in-class service for your large case insurance needs.

Sometimes it takes years of relationship building before a client gives the nod to their advisor to proceed with a sizeable insurance application. Knowing full well the high stakes involved, Manulife’s underwriting team has spent years perfecting a solid process for these complex large case applications – a process known as the Summit Experience.

“Summit Experience is the ongoing story about the support Manulife provides to advisors and their large case business,” says Susan Kerr, AVP, Large Case Underwriting. “We are very well regarded and respected in the large case market, and it’s time to advertise this service.”

Large case clients have specific insurance and estate planning needs requiring attention to detail. Chief Underwriter Karen Cutler says that the Summit Experience team understands the time an advisor may have invested in an application and takes its responsibility very seriously.

“I’ve spoken with advisors who’ve been actively working a case for 10 years – from introduction to application – and keeping that relationship warm,” says Karen. “So, there’s an enormous amount of trust involved when advisors hand over their large case clients to us. It takes a lot of confidence in our process, that we’re going to turn their hard work into a success.”

By the numbers

Large case clients are often focused on wealth preservation, tax strategies and business succession planning, which can lead to remarkable complexity. These applications include life insurance with a minimum of $5 million face amount or $50,000 of annualized premium, critical illness insurance with a $1 million face amount or $10,000 annualized premium, and disability insurance with a $20,000 monthly benefit or $10,000 annualized premium. 

For the Summit Experience team, ensuring that the client fully understands the application process is what matters most.

“I’ve been on calls directly with clients where I’ll spend 45 minutes explaining the process, answering questions and ultimately helping the advisor secure the transaction,” says Karen. “A lot of effort goes into bringing an application to the finish line.”

The Summit Experience team works collaboratively, always looking for creative ways to solve difficult problems:

  • The Tax, Retirement and Estate Planning Services (TREPS) team can work directly with the client’s accountant, lawyer and other advisors
  • Field underwriters with experience in large cases can help develop and package cases before they are submitted to underwriting
  • Product experts can advise on the best product solution 
  • The advanced sales team can provide customized illustrations and sales concepts
  • Staff doctors are available for peer-to-peer conversations
  • Manulife wholesalers are available to discuss options and answer any questions 

AIDA always improving

Large case applications are complex and take time, but in the spirit of innovation, Manulife’s underwriting team is exploring new ways to continuously improve the process. 

“There’s a lot of competition in the large case market, but I’d like to think that once you’ve experienced Manulife’s approach, there are noticeable differences,” says Susan. “Manulife has a history of groundbreaking firsts, which include providing insurance coverage for people living with diabetes and HIV. And we were the first insurance provider in the world to use artificial intelligence (AI) for underwriting.”

As the underwriting team partners with technology to help reduce the processing time for large case applications, the AI system known as AIDA continues to evolve. AIDA, which stands for “artificial intelligence decision algorithm,” determines whether an insurance application can be approved on straight-through processing, or a human underwriter is required for further review. 

The latest iteration of AIDA now includes Family Term insurance applications for customers aged 18 to 60 with face amounts up to $2 million. It’s also capable of processing applications for permanent Par and Universal Life products for customers 18 to 60 with face amounts up to $2 million. 

Proprietary resources 

Along with AIDA, Manulife utilizes a proprietary Life Underwriting Manual that allows underwriters to access the most up-to-date guidelines, tools and resources. And with one of the highest retention rates in Canada, Manulife can bind with reinsurance partners on routine cases for higher amounts, which translates into faster turnaround and issuing cases sooner. 

“We offer something very special, and when you work with us through the Summit Experience, you’re working with a highly qualified team that understands large case,” says Karen. “From our introductory calls with the advisor, we learn about the years of work that have already gone into this client relationship. It goes from being a set of facts on paper to a deep understanding of the people involved, their needs and what they are trying to achieve with this application.”

For more information, please contact your wholesaler and visit the Summit Experience section of Advisor Portal.

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