After writing a comprehensive CE (continuing education) course on the late underwriting implications of childhood/adolescence cancer, it was clear to me that companies doing teleunderwriting need a specific drilldown questionnaire to adequately address this subject.
More and more childhood/adolescence cancer patients survive for decades after apparent cure. Many experience significant complications arising years to decade after completion of all treatment.
This lecture was presented at a conference hosted by the brokerage association NAILBA in Chicago on May 13-14. It is based largely on the results of the 2009 SCOR Global Life Re Teleunderwriting Survey and focuses mainly on survey findings for North American companies doing teleunderwriting.
This survey was undertaken by sending questionnaires to 55 North American life and health insurers.
Of that group, 45 responded. Not bad.
It is ﬁrmly against my policy to name companies in the context of any survey or to make them identiﬁable in any way based on their responses. Sufﬁce to say that the majority of the TOP TWENTY life carriers are here.
Teleunderwriting embraces multitudes. It is, at the same time, both a technical process that reconfigures day-to-day home office underwriting and a dynamic process that affects every aspect of how we select risks.
Let’s explore the technical aspect first. Teleunderwriting makes extensive use of the telephone as an information gathering resource. One day, the Internet should play an equivalent role…but, for now, the telephone is our focus.
In the November 2007 issue of General Re Life and Health’s Risk Insights publication there was an article by Dave Nicholas, Underwriting Manager in the United Kingdom, titled “Using the Telephone as an Underwriting Tool.”
In other words, teleunderwriting.
I discovered this piece a bit belatedly and then learned of a more recent piece by Dave in the March, 2008 issue of this esteemed periodical.
After reading both carefully, I e-mailed Dave and asked if he’d mind me writing about what he said, adding my own observations and comments.
Dave had no objections whatsoever (thank you, my friend!)…
At a recent lecture I did for a state underwriting association, a management underwriter for a P&C-based life insurer mentioned her continuing frustrations in trying to convince their sales representatives (once again, I use this as a synonym for agent, broker, intermediary, etc.) to accept teleunderwriting.
In this case…and so many others…the nidus for field resistance was their “concern” for “loss of control” over their clients.
The “control” myth had reared its predictable head once again!
In this final essay in our teleunderwriting series, we will focus on how insurers can capitalize on the introduction of teleunderwriting to make important changes in underwriting practices. It is imperative that insurers use this window of opportunity wisely for two reasons:
It is open to you by virtue of the huge positive impact teleunderwriting will have on turnaround time for your sales force. They will be excited about this and other payoffs to them from this new process and you can leverage this to your advantage.
Almost every company in the industry has changes that need to be made regarding requirements and other practices which harmonize with teleunderwriting and/or bring advantages in other ways. Making them invariably means treading lightly. Perhaps less so in this context than at any other point.
Most arguments advanced in support of embracing teleunderwriting have to do with overall corporate and underwriting-specific objectives.
We usually don’t think of teleunderwriting in terms of its broad contribution to assuaging the concerns of those who sell our products (thus, giving us a reason for being on the payroll!).
This essay is a direct result of a survey report summary, published in the November, 2007 issue of Insurance Marketing. This high-quality monthly circulates widely within the North American agent/broker community.
We have just completed a survey of 18 American life companies currently engaged in teleunderwriting. The findings should be of interest to all life and health insurers using or considering teleunderwriting. Therefore, this essay will review the results of that survey, with added commentary…as readers have no doubt come to expect from this underwriter!