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Unum boosts underwriting to offer group income protection to more people

Unum will now offer group income protection to employees who have had a serious illness such as cancer, a heart attack or back pain in the past.

The firm has adopted a new medical underwriting method which it says has allowed it to offer cover to people who are usually refused it, or only offered partial cover, due to previous health conditions.

Unum says its new biopsychosocial medical underwriting model, which involves asking employees about their attitudes and behaviours, gives it sufficient information to determine the likelihood of illness or injury causing long-term sickness in an individual.

The firm is no longer underwriting a diagnosis in isolation and can be more optimistic than most insurers regarding some potentially incapacitating medical conditions, it says.

The model was first trialled by the firm in 2006.

Because there are no routine medical evidence requirements, Unum says it can get cover in place a week after receiving the application form.

Chief medical underwriter Andrew Potterton says: “All of the changes we have made are founded on sensible analysis of our claims experience and the use of the new application form. At Unum we have always placed a great deal of importance on not just going through the motions, but constantly aiming for bold and innovative ways to do things better. As part of this we are continuing to explore other ways to ease the underwriting experience, for example by gathering application data or info by telephone or even in a worksite interview.”

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