Media Releases / Industry

IRESS, the leading supplier of technology for wealth management, financial markets and the mortgage industry, today announces significant enhancement to its online portal, The Exchange, with the addition of new protection underwriting capability. The new functionality will enable advisers to provide their clients a greater degree of certainty around the impact of body mass index (BMI) and waist size calculating any required rating and the correct premium for protection quotes at the point of sale.

IRESS has enhanced the existing quote process by adding optional underwriting questions on height, weight and waist size which will allow partially underwritten quotes to be returned alongside standard quotes. The additional information gives providers the ability to return a more accurate quote relating to arguably the most common causes for an increased underwritten premium. Disclosure of occupation also becomes mandatory when additional BMI information is selected. The adviser can opt to enter the additional information for the first or second lives, neither or both.

The new functionality is initially available for Term quotes with Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer, with other products and providers already in the process of coming on board.

It is estimated 75% of protection life cover cases go on risk without any additional underwriting loading, however, statistics hide a wider issue for the advised market. The majority of direct business goes on risk with little problem, whereas a larger proportion of advised cases – which are generally more complex, sometimes older lives and often with larger sums assured – have a tendency to be more problematic. And as underwriting becomes more sophisticated advisers are becoming increasingly vocal around the fact that current processes do not help them to manage their clients’ expectations. The cases that often result in an increased premium because of underwriting are predominantly due to BMI. Obesity levels in the UK have more than trebled in the last 30 years and, on current estimates, more than half the population could be classified as obese by 2050*.

Andrew Simon, Executive General Product Manager at IRESS, commented: “Our work with advisers has shown that being able to provide more price certainty at point of sale is top of the wishlist to help them manage their clients’ expectations.That’s what we’re delivering here, through a collaborative approach with protection providers. As technology continues to play an ever greater role in our everyday lives, it’s important that market leaders in the protection industry embrace change and harness the potential of this type of technology, which ultimately leads to a much better customer experience. We’re delighted that Aviva has seen this potential and are very much looking forward to welcoming other protection providers onto the service in the near future.”

Robert Morrison, Chief Underwriter at Aviva, said: “The new service will mean that advisers accessing our newly launched life and critical illness insurance products won’t have to wait until they apply to get a decision based on one of the most common rating factors – height and weight. Accurate quotes can be given from the start, giving advisers and customers greater certainty that the premium is appropriate for their individual circumstances.”

Through the application of technology, IRESS is committed to making life easier for advisers to advise on and sell protection products. This enhancement, though simple in concept, has the potential to be transformational.

* source: NHS Choices


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