Advisers praise efforts to slash underwriting times

Advisers praise efforts to slash underwriting times

A national insurance adviser has praised providers for quickening the underwriting of life and protection policies by linking up with medical software firm Niche Health.

Recent years has seen a flurry of insurers and protection providers pen agreements with software companies that have existing links with GP surgeries. Aviva, Scottish Widows and Legal & General, for example, all have an agreement with medical reporting software firm Niche Health.

Advisers say that these deals have been instrumental in reducing underwriting times from four months to just days, making life easier for the client.

Tom Conner, a director at Drewberry Insurance, said his colleagues have been impressed by how much turnaround times have improved.

Mr Conner explained that a member of the Drewberry team recently submitted an application to Legal & General, only to hear the insurer had received medical information back from the surgery in less than three working days, with a medical screening appointment arranged in record time, for a policy that “hit all medical limits".

He said: “Its lenient approach to underwriting showed the insurer is doing a lot of things well, which some insurers are falling short on.”

Niche Health's partnerships with insurers enhance underwriting efficiencies, reduce turnaround times and allows firms to standardise data sets.

Scott Cadger, head of underwriting and claims strategy at Scottish Widows, said:‎“When GP surgeries engage with the Intelligent General Practice Reporting (iGPR) service, we see a significant reduction in turnaround times.

"During a recent targeted performance study, it took an average of 5.47 days to complete a request and some were returned on the same day. Traditional paper-based requests from a GP have previously taken an average of 25 days."

He said that, with further developments to iGPR software on the horizon, insurers would be able to further improve tracking and processing capabilities and continue to reduce the timescales involved.

However, Mr Cadger added: "To make this a long-term success, the industry must raise awareness of the benefits and ensure it becomes GPs’ default option for insurance reports. Doing so will improve the experience for all involved – advisers, customers, GPs and insurers."