Protection providers are resuming face-to-face medical examinations as part of their underwriting processes as lockdown restrictions are gradually being eased.
Face-to-face screenings were not possible during the coronavirus lockdown and had been replaced with virtual services where possible.
But many providers have returned to them as lockdown rules are slowly being eased.
Here is what four providers are doing.
Aegon has resumed face-to-face medical examinations, nurse screenings, as well as other routine medical tests. It is now accepting more income protection applications with access to more routine medical evidence.
The provider has reinstated its immediate cover facility for business protection and relevant life policies, whereby customers can get full cover immediately for up to 60 days, requesting any routine medical evidence.
Aegon has also returned to original routine medical underwriting limits, offering higher levels of cover.
Simon Jacobs, head of underwriting and claims at Aegon UK, said: “We’re now able to offer greater levels of cover to more customers. As lockdown restrictions have eased, we’ve worked closely with our medical partners to allow us to request more routine medical evidence, including general practitioner reports (GPRs), medical examinations, nurse screenings, and saliva and blood tests.
“Where it’s not possible to arrange nurse screenings or medical examinations, or where clients are uncomfortable attending face-to-face appointments, Aegon will look at alternative medical evidence such as a GPR.”
Roy McLoughlin, associate director at Cavendish Ware, commented: “The crisis has understandably led to major underwriting disruption.
“Paradoxically many advisers have seen an increased need for protection as customers come to terms with their own mortality and seek out advice. Thus, the news that Aegon is able to help us with this increased flexibility is extremely welcome.
“The average sum assured will have been driven down due to these restrictions so it is important that advisers can re-visit and cover accurate and more relevant sums assured whilst also having confidence in seeking out new opportunities.”
British Friendly has also reintroduced in-person medical screenings where a virtual screening is not possible.
Gordon Hull, chief executive officer of British Friendly, said it would assess the impact of virtual screenings on the underwriting experience "and how this might influence underwriting approaches in future".
LV has reintroduced face-to-face medical screenings with the introduction of safety protocols, including social distancing, personal protective equipment and conducting examinations in private gardens where possible.
Alternative options will also be considered for customers uncomfortable with a home visit, such as using existing medical information or reducing the amount of cover.
However LV said its underwriters will continue to review all new personal and business protection cases to assess if a physical examination is “absolutely necessary”.
Virtual screenings will also be used for life insurance applications where a face-to-face examination is not appropriate.
Vitality has resumed face-to-face screening appointments for prospective protection customers, enabling them to obtain higher levels of cover.