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Everything you need to know about “Severity Grading” in the DUA & DMA


When reviewing our Digital Abstracts, you may notice that the impairments are displayed in different colors. This is an intentional design choice to help the reviewer prioritize the impairments by severity; red for ‘high’, blue for ‘medium’, and black for ‘low’. While there is some subjectivity to these levels, we loosely defined them based on general definitions as they pertain to mortality and morbidity risk.

High severity is defined for Life Underwriting as a condition that would generally fall between a rating of Table 4 all the way to decline. There are also some conditions, like diabetes, which can have a wide range of ratings between standard through decline depending on complications and level of control. For this example, we’ve classified diabetes as a ‘medium’ severity due to an average of mortality ratings for the impairment.

We also set separate definitions of morbidity risks as they pertain to Disability & Long-Term Care insurance; seeing conditions like rheumatoid arthritis categorized as ‘high severity’ for these products.

Our severity classifications are intended to be used by the reviewer only as a prioritization guide as they review our abstracts. We do not actually assess the risk or attribute any ratings to the impairments. These severity classifications enhance the usefulness of the abstract as the reviewer can quickly see which conditions may need to have a deeper review into the medical history to assess the risk for themselves.

Below is a chart which helps illustrate how we’ve set the severity definitions for each insurance product. You will note that in addition to the ‘high’, ‘medium’, and ‘low’ classifications, we also have ‘ignore’. Since DigitalOwl utilizes AI to summarize the medical records, we needed to define conditions that were of such low risk that they would not affect the rating of a case and did not need to be initially displayed. Acute orthopedic injuries are therefore not elevated onto our Chronological Overview for the Life product. However, they would still show up as a condition within the abstract as the impairment is captured & the reviewer may want to assess these risks separately for certain morbidity riders.




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