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Underwriting and Claims

Life at the Sharp End

Surgical Mortality Risk

Life underwriters and medical directors are likely to see an increase in the number of cases involving surgical mortality risk. This is a natural consequence of an ageing population, continuous medical advancements and better access to surgical treatments. 

For many operative procedures it is not always necessary for life underwriters to postpone acceptance of the risk. Most common elective surgical treatments are considered to be quite safe in the modern era, and an applicant who is healthy enough to undergo surgery could be an attractive risk. Insurers need to understand the risks and carefully consider all the factors before accepting or postponing an applicant awaiting surgical treatment. This article focuses on a few common types of elective surgery likely to be seen by life underwriters.

Reprinted with permission of ON THE RISK, Journal of the Academy of Life Underwriting (

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The Authors

  • Yunus Piperdy
    Bsc, FCII
    Vice President and
    Head of Underwriting
    Innovation Strategy 
    RGA UK
    Send email >
  • Dr. John J. Lefebre

    Vice President and Medical Director
    Global Medical
    RGA International

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  • infectious disease
  • insurance medicine
  • medical advances
  • medical innovation
  • medical underwriting
  • mortality assumptions
  • mortality experience
  • mortality trends
  • old-age mortality
  • older age mortality