Firing line  

VitalityLife boss on dealing with health risks amid a pandemic

Mr Jobanputra has been with VitalityLife since 2007, when he joined as actuarial and product director.

Power of data

Mr Jobanputra says: “We have the benefit of 25 years of data. We use the power of data to tell us what works and what does not.

“We have 50m life years’ worth of data that support this model; that tell us the links between physical activity and mortality.”

This year, that data – perhaps unsurprisingly – has indicated the impact of the virus on people’s mental health and the increase in the number of people looking for life insurance.

A Vitality survey in October revealed that more than half of those surveyed said the pandemic had given them perspective on what is important in life.

It has caused people to reassess whether they are prioritising what matters most to them.

The survey revealed the top priority for most people is spending more time with family (28 per cent), improving health by losing weight (22 per cent), improving mental health and emotional wellbeing (20 per cent), taking better care of personal finances (19 per cent) and making healthier choices with what they eat (18 per cent).

Company changes

As a result, Mr Jobanputra says the insurer has been rolling out changes to make it easier for advisers to process applications.

For example, VitalityLife has made changes to its underwriting process with the aim to reduce the time taken to get underwriting decisions, improve the efficiency of the underwriting process, and make it simpler to take out a protection policy with the insurer.

It is committing to making underwriting decisions within one working day and ensuring easier access to its underwriters by providing advisers with the option to discuss feedback on all cases.

The introduction of Vitality’s Evidence Analyser enables Vitality’s nurses to upload the results of member blood tests to the analyser during the VitalityLife nurse screening. 

The Evidence Analyser will interpret the results and provide an underwriting decision within minutes without the need for an underwriter to manually review the nurse screening results.

VitalityLife also has a pre-sales underwriting tool that can quickly tell the adviser the level of premium the policyholder is likely to pay, before they decide to go through the full application stage.

The tool, rolled out in October, is entirely digital and requires no telephonic contact with underwriters in order to acquire an underwriting decision.

Going into the winter, the insurer is now looking at how it could impact people’s lives.

“We are launching a winter pack, looking at [how we can] push out tools that will help members with their mental health and rewarding them for doing so.”