Insurance industry urged to be 'agile' to help customers

This is even more important now, considering the various reports of heightened mental ill health and anxiety as a result of the Covid-19 lockdown and isolation.

Ms MacLean said it was important for insurers to keep improving, not just do a quick tech fix. She added: "During 2020 we’re focusing on a programme of continuous improvement, so we’ll see ongoing reviews on a monthly basis, particularly looking at the most frequently disclosed conditions.

"What this means for advisers is that the process for the majority of their clients will be easier and quicker. We’ve had great feedback on our underwriting capability from individual advisers."

Guardian also provides online pre-sales support, offering advisers an online underwriting tool, Qi, designed to both manage client expectations and save advisers time. The tool gives advisers a ‘quick indication’ of the terms, medical evidence requirements, plus any exclusions for a client with an existing condition, before starting a full application.

She said it was important also to listen to feedback from advisers and act on it.

Ms MacLean added: "When we first came to market in H2 2018, we did so as a challenger. Part of that meant having new ideas about how to structure products to provide the best possible cover to clients.

"As advisers got to know us during H1 2019 and new firms started to sell our products, we started to receive feedback from the market that they also wanted something else.

"For some, particularly in the mortgage sector, despite the benefits of stand-alone cover and the discount offered, there was also demand for an accelerated product specifically designed to simply protect a mortgage debt.

"Given this feedback, we listened, designed, built and launched our Combined Life and CI offer in just a few months, to add to the Guardian product suite.

"We still strongly believe in the advantages of stand-alone cover and many still choose this, but with the addition of our combined product, we now offer a product suite that appeals more broadly to all advisers and their clients."