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Why more insurers need to be transparent on their approach to underwriting post COVID

Why more insurers need to be transparent on their approach to underwriting post COVID

Without doubt the big story for protection advisers, brought to you exclusively by Protection Guru, was  Adam Higgs’s Scottish Widows refreshing and transparent approach to loosening underwriting restrictions for new proposals insight. I want to amplify Adam’s sentiment in this piece. Unless we see specific legislation precluding vaccination as an underwriting factor it is inevitable that we will see peoples’ vaccination status increasingly used as an underwriting criterion.  

This is an emotive subject, many people have strong views, but we cannot get away from the fact that data proves that vaccination can be demonstrated to reduce both the chances of catching COVID and the severity of the illness. While there will be a relatively small number of people who cannot for medical reasons be vaccinated, Scottish Widows have rightly said they will endeavour to look at these sensitively. Advisers frequently tell us what they want from insurers is more clarity. I suspect several other insurers are already taking a similar approach but are not talking about it so openly. Personally, I think those who follow Scottish Widows lead will win friends among advisers so I would encourage them to take this approach. 

It has been suggested that we are likely to see different COVID variants become a regular feature of life in the same way flu varies each year, so I personally I see it as inevitable what we will see vaccination questions on applications before too long, indeed I would not be surprised to see insurers offer discounts on rates for vaccinated people although in practice I expect that rates will harden and that the discounted rates are more likely to be in line with current premiums. Ironically there could be an argument that anyone who has strong anti-vaccination feelings might want to get cover in place now, before the issue becomes a core part of the underwriting process. 

Before I move to my weekly summary of everything on Protection Guru can I flag that Cover have opened the voting for their Provider Excellence awards. If you feel that Protection Guru has been particularly useful to you, you may wish to vote for us in several categories including: 

Outstanding Added Value Service (Third Party) 

Outstanding New Technology Offering 

Maybe you would feel our latest team member Rob Harvey deserves to win in the Rising Star award 

Equally should Adam Higgs win Insurance Leader of the year for his diligent work bringing so much detailed analysis to advisers  

You can vote for us, or for anyone else you thinks deserves you vote from this link.  Whoever you vote for the votes will be appreciated 

So, it was a very busy week on Protection Guru with Adam Higgs starting on Monday with an insight for Men’s Health Week, which looked at How do critical illness plans cover prostate cancer?  Later the same morning Rob Harvey published his commentary on Legal & General removing majority of Covid underwriting restrictions.   

Rob asked Are two single life plans better than a joint life plan? in his insight on Tuesday and later that morning we updated LV=’s Critical Illness Showcase Page to highlight key USPs in their proposition. 

Wednesday’s insight from Amanda Newman Smith investigated What are the limits for children’s critical illness cover?  We also published highlights from our May Protection Forum meeting which focused on the first part of the discussion about Helping advisers sell more protection.   

On Thursday, Rob looked at What protection insurance options are available for clients with diabetes?  We finished the week with another of our summary insights, this time looking at Insuring fathers – everything you need to know. 

Just a reminder Adam Higgs is on his #LongestDayGolfMarathon today to support MacMillan Cancer if you would like to make a donation you can do so here.  

https://longestdaygolf.macmillan.org.uk/Team/majormasters 

At the time of writing Adam has covered 23,000 steps and expects to end the day at around 50,000 steps. 

Over on Benefits Guru Tuesday saw a guest insight from Danny Meehan, Cushon’s Head of Workplace Savings exploring Realigning the link between climate change and pensions.  Cushon are running a live event “Pensions – the sector that digital forgot” on Tuesday 22nd June at 9.30am.  Speakers include former Pensions Minister, Baroness Ross Altmann and journalist Iona Bain.  To register for the event click here. 

Thursday’s insight from Jason Green focused on Payroll integrations – which providers integrate with Just Global & Pegasus Payroll.   

Our Adviser Software site published an analysis on Wednesday from Adam Flowers on How InvestSuite are using algorithms to make reports clearer.  This should be of interest to anyone who wants a better understanding of how automation can increase adviser efficiency.   

Forums 

Next Tuesday we have our Investment Forum virtual meeting from 11am to noon.  This will focus on Suitability Report Automation and will feature an expert panel discussion of both advisers and technology providers. On the panel we will have Chris Glazier from Trusted Financial Advice and Adam Smith from Fairstone as well as ATEB and Genovo two of the main technology suppliers in this area. This session is proving very popular with an unprecedented number of people already booked to join us. If you want to be involved advisers can  register for a free ticket via this link.

Chris Glazier riding to support the William Waites Memorial Trust, a charity that he has supported for the past 10 years, which was set up by the Waites family in celebration of their son who was tragically killed when travelling in Central America.  The charity helps the most disadvantaged young people keep away from a life of crime and violence, and fulfil their potential by supporting charities that engage young people through the mediums of sports, arts and education.  

The charity bike ride takes place at the end of June 2021 and the link to donate is here

Our next Protection Forum meeting on Tuesday 6th July at 11am.  The agenda for this session is: 

  • What impairs advisers’ ability to sell income protection as part of a mortgage advice process or to existing mortgage holders? 
  • What are the potential impacts of the proposed new FCA consumer duty on protection advisers?

Advisers can register for a free ticket to join the meeting via this link.  

Enjoy the game this evening, may the best team win and have a great weekend.

About The Author

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Ian McKenna is the founder of Protection Guru. A 40 year veteran of the financial advice and related technology markets. Having worked for insurance and financial advice firms in 1995 he set up Financial Technology Research Centre, which publishes Protection Guru over a decade before “fin tech“ was recognised as an industry term. He believes passionately that far more people can be protected by life insurance and related contracts if we can demystify these and make objective comparative information on policies more accessible.

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