"Some people believe that any characteristic over which we have no control, such as gender, race, and age, should be excluded from insurance underwriting and rating practices" (Baranoff, Brockett, & Kahane, 2009, p.157). This argument reflect the idea that the factors used by insurance companies should be based on the behavior of the people instead of the quality on which they are born.
Risk Classification 风险分类
Risk classification plays an important role in the pricing of the policy. The premium that the customer pays will depend on the category he/she belongs to. Underwriters classify the applicants into four types of risk groups: standard risk, substandard risk, preferred risk and uninsurable/declined risk.
Standard risk. Individuals who have a likelihood of loss or the probability of filing a claim that is not significantly greater than the average are classified as standard risks. Based on the underwriting standards of the insurance company, the people in this group are given a term of insurance without being charged for any extra fees or be subjected to any policy restrictions and they are charged with the standard premium rate (Clark, et al, 2011). Most individual life and health insurance policies are issued at standard premium rates.
Substandard risk. Insured that are classified as substandard risk or rated risk, are those that have a greater chance of filing a claim. Applicants are classified in this group because of their health and/or other factors that makes them more likely to die earlier than those who don't possess these kinds of risk factors (Clark, et al, 2011). They are usually charged a higher than standard rate because of the added risks that they possess. Examples of people that may be in this category are those who possess a history of high blood pressure, diabetes, drugs and alcohol. Or maybe they engage in some dangerous activities like skydiving or rock climbing.
Preferred risk. Applicants classified as preferred risks are those who are expected to have an above average life expectancy (Clark, et al, 2011). People in this group are preferred by the insurance companies because of their health history and good habits. They are usually offered a lower rate or preferred rate. Applicants that may belong to this group are nonsmokers or people that have a good health history.
Uninsurable risk. Individuals categorized as uninsurable or declined risk are those that pose a risk that is too great for the insurance company to cover. The applicants' conditions are so rare or unique that the company may not be able to arrive at a suitable premium (Clark, et al, 2011), so their policies are generally declined. Examples of this category include people who have a serious illness and people who conduct illegal activities.