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‘Tele-underwriting will take over from GP reports’

Legal & General senior operations manager Stuart Johnson believes that general practitioner reports could become a thing of the past as tele-underwriting becomes more widespread in the protection industry.

Protection experts at a Money Marketing round table last week agreed that 70 per cent of GPRs do not change underwriting dec- isions and that advances in tele-underwriting could make them unnecessary in most cases.

Johnson suggested that a separate declaration from a GP could be requested for specific illnesses but ultimately “they could be scrapped as far as possible”.

But RGA head of sales and marketing Jason Hurley war-ned that although he supports tele-underwriting per se, in some cases, it does not significantly decrease non-disclosure. Some models initially ask the IFA to take the client through questions online and will only get called by a tele-underwriter if a condition is flagged up in the automated system, that is, if the IFA and client have answered honestly.

Distribution and marketing manager Mike Farrell said he supports the system used by Royal Liver’s protection division, saying it gives IFAs choice and is supported by the security of getting a client signature, effectively moving the issue of non-disclosure from the client and IFA to the client and insurer.

Johnson said: “My personal view is that general practitioner reports will slowly be phased out and we will have to stop asking for them, leaving us to ask GPs for information on spec- ific areas. This could be coupled with a combination of tele and automated underwriting.”

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