Aviva is setting up an underwriting academy to help advisers understand the process, following a successful pilot.
The underwriting academy, to be implemented as part of Aviva’s broader adviser academy structure, has been developed to improve advisers’ understanding of the underwriting process, including the reasons for loading or declining an application.
The pilot sessions, held in December and January, covered underwriting law, medical conditions, disclosure and non-disclosure.
Aviva protection director Richard Verdin says: “At the moment the industry and insurers focus on the financial aspects of protection so this was to prepare for the non-financial aspects. We wanted advisers to be prepared so they could better prepare their customers for that underwriting experience.
“For a majority it is straight-through but for the minority it isn’t and advisers need a way of dealing with that.”
Verdin says many IFAs fear underwriting and see it as “a black art”. He adds: “We wanted to deal with the fear factor and give advisers confidence in that process.
“As an industry, we have ignored the benefit of educating advisers on non-financial aspects. This is Aviva’s attempt to change all that. We are now working on how we get that into our broader academy structure.”
CBK Colchester principal Peter Chadborn says: “The skill of the adviser is managing their clients’ expectations and it is very difficult to do that if you have no real understanding of what they rightly call the black art of underwriting. Any education that can be given to advisers to understand that process better and manage their clients’ expectations has got to be a good thing.”