View more on these topics

The IFA&#39s role on underwriting

As the protection market becomes increasingly competitive, underwriting is gathering importance as a key differentiating factor for advisers when choosing a provider.

A critical factor is the ease and speed with which the provider is able to underwrite their client&#39s case. IFAs rate quality of service in the same league as competitive rates and commission. An integral part of the IFA service is the quality of the underwriting team and the service it provides.

Many IFAs may have been frustrated when dealing with a traditional underwriting department. As underwriting refers to a very personal aspect of a client – their health and family history of health, the way that underwriting is handled from the provider and IFA perspective can often be critical to the IFA/client relationship.

It is important for advisers to be aware they can play an important role in helping the underwriting process. There are three principal ways in which this can happen. The central theme is greater information flow between both sides – which will ultimately benefit the consumer.

First – point-of-sale questionnaires being completed alongside standard application forms. These questionnaires are generally linked to medical conditions and pursuits, such as diabetes or dangerous sports. Industrywide statistics suggest that, in 85 per cent of cases, where POS questionnaires are included with the application, cases are accepted without the need for a GP&#39s report. Most advisers are aware it is often the need for referring on for further medical evidence that can slow up the process. Online applications make it easier still for advisers. Intuitive systems prompt advisers to answer additional questions where required.

Disclosure of medical and other underwriting information, such as lifestyle details is another key area where advisers can help the underwriting process. It cannot be emphasised enough how important it is for advisers to encourage their clients to be frank and open. The more information an underwriter has at his disposal at the time of application, the easier it is to make a quick and well informed decision.

If the adviser is in any doubt, it is far better to include more rather than less information. Some companies have worked towards helping IFAs understand how they can persuade clients to be up front when disclosing medical information. Not disclosing can result in a claim being unpaid.

Third, and possibly to help achieve both of the above, advisers should make more use of the advice flows from providers. Many providers offer underwriting helplines, email information services and a wealth of literature support to guide advisers in areas where they may be uncertain. The rule of thumb here is, if in doubt, refer to the provider and at all costs avoid making value judgements.

Matt Rann is head of underwriting and claims at Scottish Equitable

Recommended

Gartmore – Gartmore Portfolio: Cautious Strategy Fund

Type: Oeic multi-manager fund of funds Aim: Income and growth by investing in UK bond funds, UK equity income funds, property funds and cash Minimum investment: Lump sum £1,000, monthly £50 Investment split: 100% in UK bond funds, UK equity income funds, property funds and cash Isa link: Yes Pep transfers: Yes: Charges:Initial 5%, annual […]

National roadshows from Woolwich Plan Managers

Woolwich Plan Managers are on the road from September 27th to introduce their new products, the global distribution bond and accelerated growth plan. Events will be held in twelve cities across the UK and attendees will have the chance to win a bottle of champagne as well as qualifying for one hour&#39s CPD points.

630 IFA firms miss the FSA&#39s fees deadline

Over 600 IFA firms, including some of the industry&#39s biggest companies, have failed to pay all their FSA fees on time and risk enforcement action. The deadline for the payment of a combination of Financial Services Compensation Scheme, FOS and FSA fees passed last week on September 9, with 16 per cent of firms invoiced […]

Newsletter

News and expert analysis straight to your inbox

Sign up

Comments

    Leave a comment

    Close

    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 advice.

    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

    Email: customerservices@moneymarketing.com