Just Retirement has reached a deal with Openwork to distribute a new phone underwriting service designed to improve the way people shop around for retirement income.
The service, which goes live today, is run by a team of over 50 medical professionals who conduct a short phone interview with the customer.
The medical team ask clients a series of questions to provide information to Just Retirement’s underwriting systems.
Just Retirement external affairs director Steve Lowe says the firm will look to offer the service to other distributors and providers.
He says: “This takes away all the aggravation from the IFA, who might not want to spend 30 minutes interviewing the customer and it gives them comprehensive information so they can search the market.
“Rather than just whingeing that the open market option is not working, we have put our money where our mouth is to provide a solution to make it easier. If we can prove this works with Openwork, we can start rolling this out across other distributors, hopefully with other product providers joining in.”
Hargreaves Lansdown head of advice Danny Cox says:“Telephone underwriting has not worked in the life insurance market, so it is difficult to see why it might work in the annuity market. Essentially, it is adding a stage to the process and, with all those medical professionals, it is a very expensive stage.”