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  • February 2015
  • 5 minutes

Global Claims Views - Foreign Death Claims

Overcoming Challenges Associated with Foreign Death Claims

  • Jennie Calder Brown
  • Peter Barrett
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In Brief
For most insurers, experience of death claims will be limited to their home or neighboring countries. When a death claim occurs in a foreign territory, assessors can confront many challenges. This article summarizes the Global Underwriting Manual proprietary Overseas Death Claims Guide. 

When a death claim occurs in a foreign territory, the unfamiliarity youof the necessary documentation and the procedures surrounding registration and investigation of the death often leaves claims assessors feeling hesitant.

As one of RGA’s Value-Added Services, we provide in our Global Underwriting Manual (GUM) a proprietary Overseas Death Claims Guide. This guide, an on-line manual incorporating a range of assessment tools and guides, includes:

Country Guides

This directory provides guidance on the practices, procedures and documentation used to evidence death in several countries around the world. It includes information and examples of certificates relating to evidence requirements, such as death certificates, medical evidence, guidance on death registration and documentation, and formalities surrounding deaths that require additional investigations such as suspicious circumstances or sudden deaths.

This guide is a living document, and is reviewed periodically. However, we also need your help to enhance and develop the guide by sharing your own experiences and knowledge. If you can help, please contact your local RGA office or Jennie Calder-Brown at

Death Abroad Questionnaire

A death abroad questionnaire is a useful tool for gathering details about the circumstances of death, purpose of travel and the funeral/burial arrangements. It is a good starting point for any overseas death claim assessment. A sample questionnaire template is provided for assessors to use.

Red Flags

The guide provides an overview of key factors that can be indicative of potential fraud, including: 

  • Policy Red Flags such as claims occurring shortly after policy inception or expiry of the contestability period.
  • Circumstantial Red Flags such as domestic or financial difficulties.
  • Evidential Red Flags such as inconsistencies and inaccuracies in the evidence.
  • Claim Red Flags relating to the causes and circumstances of death.

Fraud Risk Ratings

A Fraud Risk Rating indicates the likelihood of fraud occurring in a particular region. The ratings have been compiled based on the risk of corruption, dependability and quality of official documentation, the sophistication of each country’s infrastructure and socioeconomic factors, and the quality of health services and accessibility of evidence.

Supporting this guide is our Risk Calculator, which calculates the extent of the risk for individual claims. The tool uses specific features of a claim to assess the likelihood of fraud occurring, the appropriateness of  further investigations, and provides advice on obtaining evidence for overseas death claims.

How can one access this information?

You can access our guides by logging onto RGA’s GUM website. Contact your local RGA office for help.  

© 2015, Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated. All rights reserved.

No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the prior permission of the publisher. For requests to reproduce in part or entirely, please contact:

RGA has made all reasonable efforts to ensure that the information provided in this publication is accurate at the time of inclusion and accepts no liability for any inaccuracies or omissions.

Meet the Authors & Experts

Jennie Calder Brown
Claims Research Development & Training Manager, RGA UK
Peter Barrett
Peter Barrett
Senior Vice President and Global Head Underwriting, Claims and Medical