Prudential is believed to be placing a lifestyle questionnaire at the heart of its re-entry into the protection market after nearly a year's absence.
Despite historically being a major protection player, its move last April to hike rates and remove guarantees on new and pipeline critical illness has left the Pru writing virtually no protection business.
Its new proposition, which is in the final design stages and is set for launch in the third quarter of this year, is understood to include a questionnaire which would see policyholders' premiums significantly reduced depending on their health.
Customers would be asked questions about their diet, whether they smoke and how often they exercise, with premiums being determined by the answers.
The company recently signed a deal with a private medical insurer in South Africa, where lifestyle underwriting is used extensively, and it is thought that this may have been the trigger for introducing the concept to the UK market.
Pru would not comment, saying only that it will use technology to improve underwriting but sources close to the company have confirmed that it will use a lifestyle questionnaire.
Portfolio Insurance Consultancy & Mortgage Broker Brian Lentz says: “The problem with lifestyle questionnaires is that they may make swathes of the population uninsurable.”
John Joseph Financial Services IFA John Joseph says: “Lifestyle questionnaires will be common practice by the end of the year and all the major players will be involved in it.
“They will narrow down the underwriting process to make it a precise art.”