View more on these topics

Neil McCarthy: A smarter application process works for everyone

A new protection quotation system could streamline the application process, improve customer expectations and help boost convertion rates.

Neil McCarthy MM blog

Historically the protection industry has not made the advice process an easy one for advisers.

Unfortunately, given the regulatory backdrop, rather than complete an application form in a fully compliant manner, it is often easier for a customer to ignore protection all together, rather than enter a journey that is not always as conducive to the final purchase of a product as it might be.

Elsewhere in financial services a common application process is being established. While the protection market has yet to reach that point, and arguably will never do so enabling providers to maintain their underwriting differentiation, earlier this year it backed the next best thing – an evolution to the universal application process, called ‘Quote+’.

With almost universal industry backing Quote + is currently undergoing live testing with one of the UK’s leading aggregators, ahead of the adviser roll out.

Quote+ standardises the basic screening of applicants on current underwriting factors to identify particular needs. It seeks to address the huge fall off between initial application and final conversion which, for some products, can result in less than half of applicants purchasing a policy.

The new process tackles the fundamental issue of providing a price to a customer without having obtained meaningful data – the perils of a ‘one size fits all’ assumption.

By adding 14 simple pre-screening questions the technology will be able to direct customers to the insurers that are most likely to cover the applicant.
It achieves this by automating the selection/de-selection of provider by an applicant’s personal risk profile.

There are several key benefit of this process. It creates massive time savings for advisers by getting rid of multiple applications, or ‘multi-apping’ and also prevents advisers applying to the wrong provider and so will deliver higher conversion rates. It also gives a relevant and personalised indicative underwriting requirement for each client.

This application process will therefore help resolve the issue of acceptance criteria at the illustrations stage, and ensure that clean lives can be fast-tracked with simpler acceptance processes with the minimum of additional application requirements.

It also accurately identifies 70 to 80 per cent of rated cases, enabling them to be handled more appropriately and by the most suitable provider.

A spin off, but none-the-less beneficial impact of this process, is that it also allows providers to innovate and compete on their underwriting criteria.

Providers have a much clearer view, alongside the data that reveals the how and why a decision was made; why they lost a case and how far it went. Ultimately we see this as allowing providers to deliver new solutions and better customer outcomes.

For more complex cases there is also a tele-underwriting service to support, or completely manage the process for advisers, allowing them to apply different resources to different risks, while still ensuring a ‘high value’ customer will receive the appropriate service and products without eating into the adviser’s time.

Quote + rewrites the rule in unprecedented ways. In an age where the customer is king, and technology is his servant, it will help equip the protection industry with the transparency and functionality the modern customer demands and understands.

Neil McCarthy is sales and marketing director at Direct Life & Pension Services Ltd


Investment and pension FOS complaints on the rise

Investment and pension complaints referred to the Financial Ombudsman Service have risen significantly over the year despite strong stock market performance. The FOS’ annual review shows in the year to 31 March, complaints about investment-linked products such as investment Isas and bonds rose 42 per cent from 3,308 to 4,697, while complaints about stockbroking and […]


Rob Clifford: Help to Buy should broaden brokers options

To say the Help to Buy scheme has had a mixed welcome is a bit of an understatement. It has been described by some as the shot in the arm the market requires but feared by others as the unwelcome starting point of a UK housing bubble. Under the plan, the Treasury has committed £3.5bn […]


Ukip to push for flat-rate income tax and £13K transferable personal allowance

The UK Independence Party is considering proposing a radical shake-up of personal taxation by scrapping all National Insurance contributions while introducing a transferable personal allowance and a flat-rate income tax of 25 per cent. However, experts warn the plans could cost £100bn and are based on “back-of-the-envelope” figures. University of Georgia economics professor David Kamerschen […]

Five biggest platforms’ market share falls 20%

The market share of the biggest five UK adviser platforms has decreased by 20 per cent in the last three years, falling from a 90 per cent in 2010 to 70 per cent in Q1 this year. Research from The Platforum shows the dominance of larger adviser platforms has decreased significantly. The figures show the […]

To be and not to be – Multi asset investing with conviction

At Pictet Asset Management we believe active management of asset allocation is the most important generator of returns. What is not to be in our portfolio is just as important as what is to be because good performance is determined as much by the assets you avoid as by those you hold. The FP Pictet Multi Asset Portfolio managers are not wedded to any particular […]


News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up


    Leave a comment


    Why register with Money Marketing ?

    Providing trusted insight for professional advisers. Since 1985 Money Marketing has helped promote and analyse the financial adviser community in the UK and continues to be the trusted industry brand for independent insight and thought leadership.

    News & analysis delivered directly to your inbox
    Register today to receive our range of news alerts including daily and weekly briefings

    Money Marketing Events
    Be the first to hear about our industry leading conferences, awards, roundtables and more.

    Research and insight
    Take part in and see the results of Money Marketing's flagship investigations into industry trends.

    Have your say
    Only registered users can post comments. As the voice of the adviser community, our content generates robust debate. Sign up today and make your voice heard.

    Register now

    Having problems?

    Contact us on +44 (0)20 7292 3712

    Lines are open Monday to Friday 9:00am -5.00pm