“Therefore, advisers generally want to embrace tele-underwriting, but insurers all do it differently.”
We wanted to gain a feel for adviser preferences so, prior to writing this article, we carried out a mini survey amongst the members of the Protection Distributors’ Group (PDG).
We found that most members prefer to interact with clients over the phone, as opposed to face-to-face or online. This is perhaps unsurprising considering the year that is. And the fact that we find ourselves in another lockdown.
Most members commented on the importance of a good customer journey and some highlighted the benefits of time efficiency and de-risking the process.
When asked what they would like to see changed about application processes, we received various responses from “De-risk it” and “The removal of extraneous questions that have already been answered earlier in the process” to “Insurers designing application processes with advisers, rather than independently of them”.
While portals do not tend to have every single provider on board, there are still big advantages for any advisers looking to de-risk and/or streamline the application process, which can be summed up in three words: single question set.
Instead of going through the onerous task of completing different questionnaires, via different routes, to obtain different quotes from different providers, advisers can often access the market via one questionnaire to obtain ‘buy now’ fully underwritten prices across various insurers.
That said, it is worth noting that this can still be dependent, albeit to a much lesser degree, on specific insurer processes. For example, sending a link to the client to complete medical questions might not always be enough to provide an accurate quote. Also, where the risk is non-standard, more information will inevitably be required.
For this reason, some advisers such as Cura Financial Services – which offers specialty protection advice for those with high-risk occupations or pre-existing medical conditions – prefer not to use a third-party to do tele-interviews.
Alan Knowles, Managing Director at Cura, says: “We prefer to retain control and believe the customer experience is better by only having to deal with one firm. There are other brokers that do the polar opposite. I guess it’s about having options for both models.”
Here, we take a look at some of the portal options available (in alphabetical order).
The Exchange from Iress is an online quote and apply portal for advisers. Mr Miller comments: “The Exchange provides unlimited 24/7 access and is supported by all the leading providers and 30,000+ users. It includes a comprehensive range of protection, annuities and equity release products.