Mutual insurer Royal London has confirmed that 94% of all Life Cover on its Business Menu and Relevant Life Plans can be put in force without waiting for the return of medical evidence, following the launch of its innovative ‘Underwrite Later’ option last year.
Underwrite Later, introduced in January 2021, allows clients to get cover while medical evidence is being obtained. The solution provides a significant boost to the number of applications that can start without medical evidence, rising from around 50%, to nearly every case.
Take-up of the option has been encouraging, with around two in five advisers recommending and using the option with their clients regularly. It’s been most popular for cases with a higher sum assured, over £1m, with advisers and their clients attracted to the option of having the policy in force.
The option is available to advisers if Royal London can’t offer online terms straight away and the client meets the eligibility criteria. Once all evidence has been received, the application is assessed as normal to confirm the final decision.
In the first year of operation 81% of cases which were underwritten, as part of the Underwrite Later option, had no change to terms given at outset. Around one (13%) in ten saw premiums increased, but in those cases most terms were only increased slightly and in a handful of cases terms were improved.
The new approach to underwriting gives advisers and customers confidence they are fully covered with no additional exclusions and plans can stay in force for up to six months while evidence remains outstanding.
Jennifer Gilchrist, Proposition Specialist at Royal London, said:
“Underwrite Later was born out of a vision to simplify the underwriting process and iron out issues with the evidence gathering phase, in particular medical evidence, which encountered delays as a result of the pandemic. It also doesn’t put extra pressure on already overburdened GPs and the NHS, but it does give advisers and their clients peace of mind that cover is in place and they don’t need to be distracted by the underwriting process working in the background.
“In essence it’s a simple solution that speeds up the onboarding process and makes applications easier. We made sure to involve advisers and consumers in the design and development of the feature and it has been, and continues to be, really well received. We are therefore looking to widen out the availability of the option as part of our development activity in 2022.”
Roger Edwards, Marketing Director at Protection Review said:
“Underwrite Later is one of the few innovations to have received Protection Review’s iMark. For many years the industry has focussed on product innovation, effectively adding more features and options. While this had led to some great customer outcomes, the real opportunities for doing something different in future lie with enhancing service and customer experience. Royal London has recognised this with their Underwrite Later proposition and I’m delighted it’s been successful and that they are looking to roll it out wider in the coming year.”