Royal London has confirmed 94 per cent of its life cover on business and relevant life plans can now be put in force without waiting for medical evidence, as it moves to rollout its Underwrite Later option for other products later this year.
Introduced in January 2021, this option allows clients to get cover while their medical evidence is being obtained.
The industry has dubbed the difficulty to get hold of medical information from GP surgeries “a prolific problem” in the protection market, prompting calls for solutions.
Royal London’s solution has noted an increase in the number of applications which can start without medical evidence, rising from around 50 per cent to “nearly every case”, it said.
The mutual insurer also said around two in five advisers recommend and use the option with their clients “regularly”, having been most popular for cases with a higher sum assured, over £1mn.
Advisers have the option if Royal London can’t offer online terms straight away and the client meets the eligibility criteria. Once all evidence is received, the application is assessed as normal to confirm the final decision.
Roger Edwards, marketing director at Protection Review, said: “For many years, the industry has focused on product innovation, effectively adding more features and options.”
While this had led to some good customer outcomes, Edwards said the real opportunities for doing something different in future lie with enhancing service and customer experience. “Royal London has recognised this with their Underwrite Later proposition and I’m delighted it’s been successful and that they are looking to roll it out wider in the coming year.”
Jennifer Gilchrist, proposition specialist at Royal London, said the solution doesn’t put extra pressure on an already overburdened NHS, but does give advisers and their clients “peace of mind” that cover is in place and they don’t need to be distracted by the underwriting process working in the background.
“In essence it’s a simple solution that speeds up the onboarding process and makes applications easier. We made sure to involve advisers and consumers in the design and development of the feature and it has been, and continues to be, really well received.”