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Categories:Protection

PruProtect warning over access requests

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PruProtect has criticised insurers’ use of subject access requests to bypass GP reports when obtaining customers’ medical information.

In March 2010, the Association of British Insurers and the British Medical Association agreed a £97 fee for GP medical reports, with a 21-day maximum turn-round.

The agreement expired in March 2011 and was not renewed. Insurers and advisers have complained that GPs are now taking too long to supply the reports.

A number of insurers, including Legal & General, have instead started using SARs, where a client can ask their GP for access to their full medical records for £10. SARs must be supplied within 40 days.

PruProtect head of account development Phil Jeynes (pictured) says: “This is not what subject access requests were designed for. If insurers start inundating GPs with these requests, the turnround time will slow to the 40-day maximum limit, which may not be quicker than a GP report. We want to find smarter ways of obtaining this information.”

Jeynes says PruProtect outsources the collection of medical information to Medicals Direct, which sends a nurse to visit the customer to gather the required details.

He says: “This is cheaper, it comes back substantially quicker than a GP report and it can give us much better information.”

L&G individual protection claims and underwriting director Russell Whitworth says: “An SAR has to be returned within 40 days under legislation, which means we are able to process customers’ applications much quicker so they get the cover they need.”

Risk Assured head of underwriting and claims Jerry Brown says: “I do not think we will see companies paying to have nurses running round the country to do this on every case. I do not think it is scalable.”

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Readers' comments (3)

  • Even when the agreement was in force, only a tiny percentage of GPs surgeries followed the 21 day turnaround, in reality I would estimate the average turaround was nearly double 21 days.

    There are also a large percentage of reports that are received incomplete and this then causes further delays to the process. The GPs also request payment for this further information, a cost that is inevitably passed onto the consumer in the long run.

    Nurse screening works well but it is not practible for most cases that require GPRs, for example cancer suffers very rarely know the grading of their condition and therefore only the oncologist's reports on the applicants notes are the only way of accurately underwriting the risk, this could never be obtained by a nurse visit.

    We submit a large amount of business through L&G and we have seen a vast improvement in the short time they have been trialling the Subject Access Requests, the cost of these are less and they come back with all the information needed without having to write back to the GP.

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  • In this day and age surely something can be set up electronically even the payment to the GP for their services. Especially when the GP is sent a targeted report and the full report is not required by the provider. It is very frustrating to chase a GP for there report to find that they have requested payment before they will complete the report, then they wait to cash the cheque before even starting the report. There is too much at stake here to rely on snail mail... The ABI and BMA need to get together to bring the process up to date in terms of technology. Security shouldnt be an issue as any emails can be encrypted or sent securely- Like Bright Grey KFI's sent by email- surely a system can be developed to even have a central database that can be securely accessed after the details are requested then input? I am not that technologically gifted but surely it wouldnt be that difficult?

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  • I think we are all in agreement that GP reports are ineffective and if SARs can offer better service then great. My point is that focussing on smart solutions which save money and more importantly time such as nurse screenings and, more often, tele-underwriting is preferable. We are looking to avoid asking for GP requests in the first instance which delivers better outcomes for us, our brokers and their clients.

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