It seems, however, that the underwriting industry as a whole is fast moving away from traditional GPRs and medical examinations and looking for alternative underwriting options.
MorganAsh asks female applicants about their dress size, and male applicants their waist and collar size as a way to corroborate the height and weight answers given.
Managing director Andrew Gething says the firm is also in the process of using more psychosocial questioning when tele-interviewing, which at the moment Gething says “is confidential to specific providers we are developing this with”.
But while MorganAsh customers like this approach, Gething says the industry is still lacking in its knowledge around these new risk factors, such as lifestyling, screening and tailoring.
He says: “For example there is no data on the topic so there is no underwriting guidance. As a result, providers are reluctant to collect data that they can not use, so innovation is very slow.”
Moving forward, Gething predicts that tele-interviewing will include more open questions designed to gather information on the applicant, rather than the present ‘have you ever had’ approach, which he says “was primarily designed to protect the provider in the event of a claim”.
RGA UK business development manager Mick James goes as far as to question whether the industry could remove medical questioning for younger lives completely.
He says: “Can I see a point where no health related questions are asked of young people? Potentially, and there are examples in the Australian markets where this happens in conjunction with a pre-existing conditions exclusion. This kind of a product could have potential for young consumers in the UK.”
For now, though, medical tests are still very much in place. But Munich Re chief underwriter Paul Gyseman says the current trend is to drive down their cost but maintain risk management effectively.
He says: “It’s pointless asking for a young healthy woman to have a stress electrocardiography, when we know that the test is always going to be negative. It is a complete waste of money.
“So the upshot is, lets move away from only using age and sum assured as the two criteria, and move towards a smarter, more targeted approach that maintains risk adequate terms.”
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