Life_Sales_header_i_700
Life_Sales_header_i_700

Take the guess work out of life sales

Removing the pain from Protection

We simplify the application process for consumers and advisers.

Restoring trust to consumers

We have eradicated non-disclosure, with only 1 contested claim in 10 years and never been referred to the FOS.

Reducing costs

Our prices flex in line with your revenues.



About

News

Blog - Future of underwriting - August 18, 2014

Smart underwriting is better than no underwriting Underwriting is out of favour at the moment, and we are seeing a trend towards simplified underwriting, simplified products, shorter questionnaires, and higher priced products taking on more risk ...

Contact

0800 028 0236
info@morganash.com

Our success

Key Facts

  • Volumes of policies up 40% in Q1 2008
  • Requirement for GPRs reduced by 52% from 48% to 23%
  • Now underwrite from the Tele-interview alone on 74% of applications, up from 46%
  • Medical limits reduced by reinsurers

The National Farmers Union Mutual (NFUM) sell their protection products across their tied agency network of 350 agents. On the general side the agents transact the business themselves but with regard to life insurance they act as introducers to the 120 Financial Consultants.

Over 90% of NFUM customers have more than one insurance product from NFUM, and their customer loyalty is probably the best in the industry. However, the sales of protection are far lower.  NFUM therefore took a strategic move to upgrade their protection business, with a concerted effort to improve sales and penetration across loyal NFUM customers.

The first goal to improve sales was to remove barriers to selling, notably the long turn around times of on average 3 months, inconvenience and resistance to selling protection.

NFUM decided to move to Tele-Interviewing and, after an extensive review of the market, selected MorganAsh to provide its Tele-Interviewing services.

MorganAsh commenced Tele-Interviewing on the 1st August 2007 and immediately improved the process.  All applicants are interviewed over the phone about their health in a confidential situation and at a convenient time for them by MorganAsh nurses.

Due to the existing poor confidence in protection, NFUM used the launch of Tele-Interviewing as a catalyst to re-launch protection sales. They embarked on a communications campaign to the field sales force, telling them of the improvements on the way, and the benefits Tele-interviewing will bring.  This was branded with the slogan “Life Getting Easier/We’re Coming to you”.

Although NFUM have their roots in farming, they now service a wider clientele from the rural community.  NFUM applicants are typically older than most protection providers would expect.  However, the information gathered by MorganAsh is so superior compared with previous approaches, that NFUM have managed to reduce their requirement for GPRs from 48% to 23%.

Applications can now be underwritten from the interview alone for 74% of applications, up from 46% of applications before MorganAsh Tele-Interviewing was adopted.

The net effect of the improved new business process is that NFUM have already halved the mean turn around time from 63 to 37 days, and revenues have risen significantly.

NFUM hit targets set by their Board for the processing of protection business for the first time ever in late 2007, they issued 58% of business within 30 days (target 50%) and 96% within 90 days (target 90%). In addition, in 2007 they issued 128% of the total issued 2006 protection policies.


Although there have been many changes made to the overall protection process, there is no doubting the central role that Tele-underwriting played or the impetus it instilled.

In early 2008 NFUM reported a 40% growth in volumes due to Tele-Interviewing and other new business process improvements.  This is impressive considering the market had generally declined by 10%-20% over this period. 


“To support Tele-underwriting and to ensure that we were able to act on the report alone, our reinsurers approved major changes to our medical limits thus reducing further the need for independent evidence."

Sean McCarthy, Life Underwriting Manager, NFUM

Key Facts 

  • Volumes of business have grown by ~25%
  • Average turn around time 5 days
  • Only ~15% of cases now require further evidence,  resulting in 85% being  underwritten from the Tele-Interview alone
  • At least €50 per case saving on underwriting costs alone
  • Customer complaints almost non existent

Irish Life Corporate Business division is the largest Group provider in Ireland with 50% market share, insuring just under 400,000 lives which is around 19% of the Irish Workforce.  If the UK and Irish markets were combined then Irish Life would be the 4th largest Group insurer across the two territories.

Irish Life Corporate Business incorporates income protection products for both Corporate and Voluntary Risk Schemes. Corporate Risk is a traditional Group scheme, paid by the employer and where employees are automatically included in the scheme. Voluntary Risk Schemes are for employees who choose to join the scheme.  These are predominantly public sector employees, typically nurses and teachers.

In 2006 Irish Life faced a number of challenges.  Collecting medical evidence in the form of doctors' reports was both slow and expensive and medical examinations were also costly and inconvenient for the employee.  This resulted in poor take up rates, and the brokers being “turned off” from selling the schemes.   To increase the volume of sales and the take up rate, they needed to make selling the products easier, reduce the emphasis on doctors, and speed up the whole process.

So as a result, Irish Life undertook some Tele-interview pilots with MorganAsh, and then in 2007 Irish Life adopted MorganAsh Big T Tele-Interviewing for the Voluntary schemes.

 “ MorganAsh Tele-Interviewing has been a great success, removing the hassle and time delays of collecting medical evidence, since Irish Life introduced it our volumes have gone up by 25% on this piece of business.”

Ivan Ahern Director of Cornmarket Group Financial Services.

Irish Life introduced a simple one page application form with a few questions, if any employee answered “yes” to any of these questions, then they were passed to a full Tele-Interview with MorganAsh.

Starting with just one broker, the new process has now been rolled out to all participating brokers.

Although there was some early scepticism from the underwriters, the underwriters are able to underwrite 85%  of the business from the Tele-Interview alone and only 15% of cases require further evidence after the Tele-Interview.

The result has been an unqualified success.

Customer satisfaction has been impressive, with only 1 customer complaint after over 4000 Tele-Interviews.

The average turn around time is 5 days which is a vast improvement on the 4 weeks to gather doctor's information.

Volumes of business have grown by 25%

Irish Life calculate there is a saving of €50 per case just in the underwriting costs.

Irish Life extended the MorganAsh service in 2008 to the Corporate  Risk business using Little T Tele-Interviewing.  This has equally been a success and Irish Life will now move to full Big T for all cases in the Corporate and Voluntary schemes.


“The adoption of MorganAsh Tele-Interviewing has been an unprecedented success. I have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone else”

Ivor O’Shea Director of Risk Operations Irish Life.

Key Facts 

  • Intermediaries offered high speed, high quality underwriting which capitalised on the move towards electronic trading.
  • No genuine contended claims with arguments about “non-disclosure” at claim stage.
  • No need to collect GPRs or put consumers through the inconvenience of medical tests.
  • Need for “wet” signature from consumer removed.
  • Cases normally underwritten and given terms within 48—72 hours.

Shepherds Friendly Society started life as a sickness and benefits society and were an amalgamation of various fraternal groups including The Royal Shepherds Sanctuary Benefit Society and the Ancient Order of Shepherds, some formed back in 1826. Still known for reliability, trustworthiness, competence and care, Shepherds Friendly Society has grown from a traditional insurance provider to a modern broadly based financial organisation. More than 180 years on, Shepherds Friendly Society is now a multi-million pound operation, looking after over 60,000 members throughout the UK, with insurance and investment products.

In 2006 Shepherds decided to diversify its distribution capabilities and entered the intermediary market place. It recognised that, as a late entrant to this sales channel, it needed to offer a differentiated approach to its main competitors. Fundamental to this was the ability to offer the MorganAsh full Big T Tele-Interview.

This was to ensure intermediaries could be offered high speed, high quality underwriting which capitalised on the move towards electronic trading and, crucially, also removed the threat to the adviser posed by failing (or being accused of failing) to collect all relevant medical information.

The results are impressive, and the process has allowed Shepherds to diversify its income protection product range significantly.

There have been no genuine contended claims with arguments about “non-disclosure” at claim stage.  Claims are promptly paid, and where non-disclosure has occurred (once) it has been proven without dispute.  Hence, in the eyes of many intermediaries and customers, Shepherds can offer a product that is in their eyes “guaranteed” to pay out on claim and which protects the intermediary in the process.  

Due to the detailed and complete information provided on the MorganAsh report, there is no need to collect any GPRs or put consumers through the inconvenience of medical tests.  99% of cases are underwritten from the Tele-Interview alone.

As confidence built with MorganAsh, service improvements were introduced, including removing the need for a “wet” signature from the consumer, and removing checks on amended interview reports once they were returned by the consumer.

Once the Tele-Interview is returned then the case is normally underwritten and given terms within 48-72 hours.  This means that for 99% of cases the total turn around time for Shepherds new business underwriting is less than a week.  This is a significant market differentiator over companies that still collect GPR and medical tests on a regular basis. The only cases that cannot be underwritten within a week are due to the client delaying their Tele-Interview, or they are waiting for the results of some medical tests and the underwriting is postponed until these results are known. More recently Shepherds have moved, with the support of MorganAsh, to enabling the intermediary to electronically book the tele-underwriting appointment time for their customer.

Volumes have doubled year on year and with the introduction of their simple Income Protection product Shepherds are expected to continue to grow at this rate.

 “The great benefit is the turn round time, as we no longer have to go out for GPRs or medicals, everything is included within the MorganAsh interview report.  We can provide intermediaries with what they want – quick accurate underwriting decisions.”

Val Brookes: Claims and Underwriting  Manager  

 “Partnering with MorganAsh has been a great success, we have received a first class service ever since we started and the partnership has been central to our success in the intermediated market place.  We have had only one complaint in over 5 years!!”

“The thoroughness of the interview and our underwriting process means we have more confidence to pay out our claims, and our claims experience is better than we expected, allowing us to improve our morbidity reserving.”

Geoff Spencer, Chief Executive

 


“Partnering with MorganAsh has been a great success, we have received a first class service ever since we started, and the partnership has been central to our success in the intermediated market place. We have had only one complaint in over 5 years!!”

Geoff Spencer, Chief Executive
  • Faster processing of applications (with reduced need for GPRs)
  • Reduced non-disclosure
  • Signature free
  • More informed underwriting decisions
  • Proved: Tele-interviews provide sufficient information to enable underwriting without GPRs for many situations
  • Non disclosure varied with occupation class from 20%-35%

Friends Life linked up with MorganAsh to provide a Tele-interviewing service to speed up income protection applications and reduce non-disclosure.

Friends Life is a leading provider of Income Protection in the UK and primarily sells through the IFA channel.

MorganAsh qualified and experienced nurses undertake the interviews, at a time and place to suit the consumer.

Friends life adopted a “small t” approach and changed their medical limits, reducing reliance on GPRs. After extensive piloting with MorganAsh during 2006-7, Friends Life proved that nurse Tele-interviews do provide sufficient information to enable underwriting without GPRs for many situations.

Further, Friends Life also showed where a Tele-Interview is better value than nothing at all. Indeed, they redesigned their evidence structure completely.  Notably they uncovered the justification for varying by occupation class.

Friends Life results showed that material non-disclosure did vary with age, increasing from 25% to 33%. However, more significant was the variation in material non-disclosure with occupation class, ranging from 20% to 35%.  This is consistent with other companies where the variation with age is small.

As a result of the evidence and the analysis, Friends Life have radically changed their medical limits, after agreement with their reinsurer Swiss Re, and now differentiate the collection of further medical evidence based on the occupation class of the applicant.

The impact is that evidence is actually required on more cases overall, although GPRs will be required in fewer cases. The increase will improve disclosure as some cases which would have required no further evidence will now have a Tele-interview.

 


“The new Tele-interviewing service will speed up processing which will benefit advisers and it will enable us to gather more detailed information about the applicant’s health. This will benefit the customer as it means we can make a more informed underwriting decision. Most importantly, there is less chance that a claim will be disputed and we believe this will reduce non-disclosure.”

Mark Jones; protection products and actuarial manager at Friends Provident

PG Mutual are a specialist Income Protection insurer. Their origins lie with the pharmacy industry.  Over the last few years they have re-focused their distribution to partnering with multiple professional organisations.

PG Mutual started working with MorganAsh in 2007 and have used the Tele-interview service ever since.  This has been highly successful, reducing claims and speeding up the application process.

 

"What I like about MorganAsh, is that they bring innovation and value to our business. They are far more than just a supplier. They are a true partner."

Mike Perry, CEO, PG Mutual


"The MorganAsh service is fantastic"

Elisa Ashford, Operations Manager

Life sales for complex cases

Life_Sales_link_i

Never disappoint a consumer.

Maintain brand integrity.

Improve conversion rates.

We provide a sales process for complex cases that struggle through D2C on-line systems to ensure:

  1. All consumers, including the ill, have a satisfactory experience
  2. Any declines are offered insurance if possible
  3. Complex cases do not clog up a slick processes

This is a great fit for:

  1. Complex medical cases that are declined
  2. Complex cases that require manual underwriting
  3. Cases that do not receive an automated quotation

Hence, important brands are not tarnished by consumers struggling to progress through a process which is not optimal for their circumstances. While every process is different they often include:

  • Indicative underwriting at the beginning of the process to manage affordability expectations
  • A full medical Tele-interview to gather complex medical information
  • A personal approach, being able to adapt to individuals
  • Inbuilt qualification at every level to ensure efficiency
  • Full underwriting

The service is typically undertaken on a commission share basis, and either on a brokered basis to the market, or as a dedicated service for a single insurer.

Outsourced New Business Processing

Keep costs flexible

We provide:

  • On-line application forms
  • Automated and manual underwriting
  • Full medical evidence and underwriting service for both new business and claims.

We provide a complete service, with our own IT systems and staff.

 

Omni-underwriting

Omni, or multi channel underwriting, is the provision of underwriting by multiple channels

  • On-line, smartphone
  • Telephone, web chat
  • Automated and manual underwriting

 

Improve speed of manual underwriting

Using Tele-Interviewing and experienced underwriters, insurers can enjoy complex manual underwriting decisions in hours, without compromising risk management and disclosures

 

Full or ad hoc service

We provide our services as an ad hoc provision or on a completely outsourced underwriting service. This can be a perfect fit to automated on-line rules driven processes.

 

Powered by secure IT

Cloud based systems use modern encryption and security. Systems are transparent, so companies can see actions being undertaken in real-time, not waiting for days.

 

Keep in control

Full monthly management information is provided, so companies know service levels are being delivered.

 

Reduce cost of new business underwriting

Our Underwriting solution reduces underwriting costs by up to 35% less than traditional approaches.

  • Reduces medical evidence by up to 50%
  • Reduces reinsurance rates by up to 5%
  • Increases sales conversion rates considerably

 

Keep costs in line with revenues

With contracts based on transactional volumes, costs are kept in line with revenues.

 

Tele-Interviewing/Tele-Underwriting

Tele-underwriting is the use of a telephone interview as the primary means of gathering risk-related information about an applicant for life and health assurance. It delivers benefits to all areas of the business process:

Consumers:-

  • Enjoy a simpler, fairer and faster process
  • Are relieved of the arduous task of completing long application forms

Advisers:-

  • Enjoy an effortless and faster process, allowing them to concentrate on advising clients

Insurers:-

  • Increase the number of policies and the speed at which they are placed "on the books"
  • Reduce the number of expensive GPRs by up to 70%
  • Reduce reinsurance costs up to 5%
  • Improve the quality of business
  • Increase premiums from more higher rated cases with disclosures and increased numbers of smokers

Regulatory bodies:

  • Favour the use of objective and validated information for risk management
  • Favour the transparency and audit trails

We operate our own interview engines, or interview into existing interview/underwriting engines.

Eliminating non-disclosure

The MorganAsh Tele-Interview service has proved to reduce non-disclosure, compared to other application processing methods.

We know this as:

  1. Statistical studies show that more information is collected by the MorganAsh interview.
  2. Claims statistics due to non-disclosure have been eliminated
  3. Our customers have reduced their reserves for potential claims
  4. We have never had a case be presented to the appropriate legislative body (Financial Ombudsman Service in the UK).

The following is the combined results of statistical studies across insurance companies in the UK and Ireland.  The study group covered:

  1. 1527 Tele-Interviews assessed for quality and compared against GPRs/PMARs
  2. 9 insurers of different sizes
  3. Life, CI and IP products
  4. Differing distribution channels

Each insurer compared different data sources for the same clients, and then underwrote each case separately.  The results are the combined results from the insurance companies. MorganAsh had no influence in the studies and all such studies were included. Although the analysis did vary between companies the core issues evaluated were consistent:

  1. The levels of non disclosure occurring on Tele-Interview compared with the missing information on a GPR/PMAR.
  2. The reliability and sufficiency of the Tele-Interview for making sound underwriting decisions.
  3. The reliability of the GPR/PMAR for providing the relevant information for underwriting.
  4. The underwriting outcomes that occurred as a result of the Tele-Interview process.

Material non disclosure on the Tele-Interview compared with the GPR

The quality and quantity of the information collected in the Tele-Interview was compared with that received from the corresponding doctor’s report for the same applicant. On detailed review of 1527 Tele-Interviews there was an incidence of significant non disclosure on Tele-Interview of 4% across all products. Looking at the split between the product lines:

Life and CI                 2.8%

IP                              5.4%.

Material missing information on the GPR compared to the TI.

The companies report on where the GPR has material information missing that was available on the Tele-Interview. The significant missing information from the GPRs was 4.8% across all products, and split as below across the product lines:

Life and CI                 3.1%

IP                               8.6%

The overall view by our clients is that the completeness and reliability of the information for making a sound medical assessment from the Tele-Interview is better than a GPR/PMAR.

These figures are summarised on the two graphs below:

Quality of data for Life and CI

Comparing the application form, Tele-Interview and GPR

The results continue to demonstrate that the MorganAsh Tele-Interview far exceeds the application form for quality and breadth of information and is at least as good as the GPR/PMAR.

When comparing the GPR with the Tele-Interview the common areas of weakness with the GPR continue to be:

  1. Family history
  2. Lifestyle
  3. Current status of a condition (often not seen recently by GP)
  4. Height, weight and any recent changes
  5. Recent (new) symptoms
  6. Private consultations – treatment, tests, investigations
  7. Background/explanation of health problems e.g. mental health issues, musculoskeletal conditions/injuries, sexual health etc

Quality of data for IP

Reliability and sufficiency of the TI for making underwriting decisions

Most of the companies involved in the survey kept a record of where the Tele-Interview provided an acceptable or unacceptable underwriting decision. As an average across the companies 96% of Tele-Interviews had no material missing information. For the 4% where the interview failed to provide reliable information, that was material to the risk, this was largely due to deliberate or reckless non disclosure or where the information had changed since the Tele-Interview had taken place.

MorganAsh Tele-Interviewing has consistently shown to provide high quality information. The interviews and subsequent underwriting decisions are sufficiently robust that arguably there is little justification to seek further medical evidence on the back of age or sum assured limits.

Companies and reinsurers should examine why they are insisting on the collection of evidence purely on medical limits basis. These processes are expensive, and reduce the sales of protection. As can be seen from the data above the previous justification on the grounds of non-disclosure is no longer valid when MorganAsh Tele-Interviewing is used.

 

 

FOS and FCA view on Tele-underwriting

MorganAsh has never had a Tele-Interviewed case be presented to the FOS (Financial Ombudsman Service) the UK legislative body, that deals with insurance disputes.

In the book "Consumer Insurance Law: Disclosure, Representation and Basis of the Contract Clauses" Melissa Collett, an Ombudsman at the FOS states:

"The Ombudsman's long standing approach to complaints about non-disclosure is a three-stage one:

  1. Was there a clear question and was it answered incorrectly?
  2. Was the insurer induced?
  3. What kind of non-disclosure was it?

......."The ombudsman does not consider it reasonable to expect consumers to volunteer information, rather it is up to the insurer to ask"

......."If an insurer wishes to rely on non-disclosure as a valid defence to a claim, it must first demonstrate that it asked the consumer at least one clear question to which a wrong answer was given."

Views on face to face meetings

"Face to face meetings are rarely recorded and can often lead to dispute about what was said at the meeting....."

Views on Tele-underwriting

"Given the multifarious disputes that can arise as a result of face to face meetings, for the past several years protection insurers have increasingly used tele-underwriting. There are numerous advantages of completing the application (or at least the medical part) over the phone; primarily that the exact questions asked and answers given are recorded, leaving no room for doubt about what was said.  It also gives greater flexibility for capturing additional information disclosed during the conversation, since the whole conversation is recorded and not just the specific answers to questions.  It also removes the embarrassment factor that is present in face to face meetings, making it easier to discuss and disclose sensitive and personal medical details.  The telephone call is individual to each applicant, so again a husband need not disclose embarrassing or private medical matters in front of his wife and vice versa.  A number of tele-underwriters are trained nurses so know what is medically significant and what it not. The emphasis in tele-underwriting is on probing the applicant to obtain sufficient information, rather than rapid-fire questions and answers in order to get a sale completed. Removing the medical questions and answers form the sale also has the advantage of freeing up the adviser to concentrate on the financial aspects of the sale, which is more within their field of expertise than medical underwriting." 

 

 

Underwriting

We provide underwriting solutions on a bespoke basis to suit your company's requirements. 

Services include:

  • Total outsourced solution utilising all aspects of our underwriting department
  • Independent auditing to ensure standards are maintained and risk exposure is reduced.
  • Short term cover for temporary staff shortages as a result of holidays or sickness
  • Ad hoc Provision of underwriting support during periods of increased work or sales target deadlines

Professional underwriting staff

Our professional experienced staff, with over 15 years underwriting experience of all protection products, can be provided either remotely via secure online system access or within your office environment with stringent QA procedures in place to ensure a high standard of service at all times.

Secure underwriting systems

We use our system MERLIN to track all cases through the processes, setting ourselves reminders to call and chase to improve speed of delivery.

Medical evidence collection

We collect reports from doctors (GPRs/PMARs) and we arrange medicals through our network of doctors and specialists across the UK.

Our underwriting administration team are available to perform all aspects of evidence collection including issuing evidence requests, chasing outstanding reports, receiving and uploading evidence to either our own secure underwriting system MERLIN or to your own online system.

Key Facts

  • Volumes of policies up 40% in Q1 2008
  • Requirement for GPRs reduced by 52% from 48% to 23%
  • Now underwrite from the Tele-interview alone on 74% of applications, up from 46%
  • Medical limits reduced by reinsurers

The National Farmers Union Mutual (NFUM) sell their protection products across their tied agency network of 350 agents. On the general side the agents transact the business themselves but with regard to life insurance they act as introducers to the 120 Financial Consultants.

Over 90% of NFUM customers have more than one insurance product from NFUM, and their customer loyalty is probably the best in the industry. However, the sales of protection are far lower.  NFUM therefore took a strategic move to upgrade their protection business, with a concerted effort to improve sales and penetration across loyal NFUM customers.

The first goal to improve sales was to remove barriers to selling, notably the long turn around times of on average 3 months, inconvenience and resistance to selling protection.

NFUM decided to move to Tele-Interviewing and, after an extensive review of the market, selected MorganAsh to provide its Tele-Interviewing services.

MorganAsh commenced Tele-Interviewing on the 1st August 2007 and immediately improved the process.  All applicants are interviewed over the phone about their health in a confidential situation and at a convenient time for them by MorganAsh nurses.

Due to the existing poor confidence in protection, NFUM used the launch of Tele-Interviewing as a catalyst to re-launch protection sales. They embarked on a communications campaign to the field sales force, telling them of the improvements on the way, and the benefits Tele-interviewing will bring.  This was branded with the slogan “Life Getting Easier/We’re Coming to you”.

Although NFUM have their roots in farming, they now service a wider clientele from the rural community.  NFUM applicants are typically older than most protection providers would expect.  However, the information gathered by MorganAsh is so superior compared with previous approaches, that NFUM have managed to reduce their requirement for GPRs from 48% to 23%.

Applications can now be underwritten from the interview alone for 74% of applications, up from 46% of applications before MorganAsh Tele-Interviewing was adopted.

The net effect of the improved new business process is that NFUM have already halved the mean turn around time from 63 to 37 days, and revenues have risen significantly.

NFUM hit targets set by their Board for the processing of protection business for the first time ever in late 2007, they issued 58% of business within 30 days (target 50%) and 96% within 90 days (target 90%). In addition, in 2007 they issued 128% of the total issued 2006 protection policies.


Although there have been many changes made to the overall protection process, there is no doubting the central role that Tele-underwriting played or the impetus it instilled.

In early 2008 NFUM reported a 40% growth in volumes due to Tele-Interviewing and other new business process improvements.  This is impressive considering the market had generally declined by 10%-20% over this period. 


“To support Tele-underwriting and to ensure that we were able to act on the report alone, our reinsurers approved major changes to our medical limits thus reducing further the need for independent evidence."

Sean McCarthy, Life Underwriting Manager, NFUM

Key Facts 

  • Volumes of business have grown by ~25%
  • Average turn around time 5 days
  • Only ~15% of cases now require further evidence,  resulting in 85% being  underwritten from the Tele-Interview alone
  • At least €50 per case saving on underwriting costs alone
  • Customer complaints almost non existent

Irish Life Corporate Business division is the largest Group provider in Ireland with 50% market share, insuring just under 400,000 lives which is around 19% of the Irish Workforce.  If the UK and Irish markets were combined then Irish Life would be the 4th largest Group insurer across the two territories.

Irish Life Corporate Business incorporates income protection products for both Corporate and Voluntary Risk Schemes. Corporate Risk is a traditional Group scheme, paid by the employer and where employees are automatically included in the scheme. Voluntary Risk Schemes are for employees who choose to join the scheme.  These are predominantly public sector employees, typically nurses and teachers.

In 2006 Irish Life faced a number of challenges.  Collecting medical evidence in the form of doctors' reports was both slow and expensive and medical examinations were also costly and inconvenient for the employee.  This resulted in poor take up rates, and the brokers being “turned off” from selling the schemes.   To increase the volume of sales and the take up rate, they needed to make selling the products easier, reduce the emphasis on doctors, and speed up the whole process.

So as a result, Irish Life undertook some Tele-interview pilots with MorganAsh, and then in 2007 Irish Life adopted MorganAsh Big T Tele-Interviewing for the Voluntary schemes.

 “ MorganAsh Tele-Interviewing has been a great success, removing the hassle and time delays of collecting medical evidence, since Irish Life introduced it our volumes have gone up by 25% on this piece of business.”

Ivan Ahern Director of Cornmarket Group Financial Services.

Irish Life introduced a simple one page application form with a few questions, if any employee answered “yes” to any of these questions, then they were passed to a full Tele-Interview with MorganAsh.

Starting with just one broker, the new process has now been rolled out to all participating brokers.

Although there was some early scepticism from the underwriters, the underwriters are able to underwrite 85%  of the business from the Tele-Interview alone and only 15% of cases require further evidence after the Tele-Interview.

The result has been an unqualified success.

Customer satisfaction has been impressive, with only 1 customer complaint after over 4000 Tele-Interviews.

The average turn around time is 5 days which is a vast improvement on the 4 weeks to gather doctor's information.

Volumes of business have grown by 25%

Irish Life calculate there is a saving of €50 per case just in the underwriting costs.

Irish Life extended the MorganAsh service in 2008 to the Corporate  Risk business using Little T Tele-Interviewing.  This has equally been a success and Irish Life will now move to full Big T for all cases in the Corporate and Voluntary schemes.


“The adoption of MorganAsh Tele-Interviewing has been an unprecedented success. I have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone else”

Ivor O’Shea Director of Risk Operations Irish Life.

Key Facts 

  • Intermediaries offered high speed, high quality underwriting which capitalised on the move towards electronic trading.
  • No genuine contended claims with arguments about “non-disclosure” at claim stage.
  • No need to collect GPRs or put consumers through the inconvenience of medical tests.
  • Need for “wet” signature from consumer removed.
  • Cases normally underwritten and given terms within 48—72 hours.

Shepherds Friendly Society started life as a sickness and benefits society and were an amalgamation of various fraternal groups including The Royal Shepherds Sanctuary Benefit Society and the Ancient Order of Shepherds, some formed back in 1826. Still known for reliability, trustworthiness, competence and care, Shepherds Friendly Society has grown from a traditional insurance provider to a modern broadly based financial organisation. More than 180 years on, Shepherds Friendly Society is now a multi-million pound operation, looking after over 60,000 members throughout the UK, with insurance and investment products.

In 2006 Shepherds decided to diversify its distribution capabilities and entered the intermediary market place. It recognised that, as a late entrant to this sales channel, it needed to offer a differentiated approach to its main competitors. Fundamental to this was the ability to offer the MorganAsh full Big T Tele-Interview.

This was to ensure intermediaries could be offered high speed, high quality underwriting which capitalised on the move towards electronic trading and, crucially, also removed the threat to the adviser posed by failing (or being accused of failing) to collect all relevant medical information.

The results are impressive, and the process has allowed Shepherds to diversify its income protection product range significantly.

There have been no genuine contended claims with arguments about “non-disclosure” at claim stage.  Claims are promptly paid, and where non-disclosure has occurred (once) it has been proven without dispute.  Hence, in the eyes of many intermediaries and customers, Shepherds can offer a product that is in their eyes “guaranteed” to pay out on claim and which protects the intermediary in the process.  

Due to the detailed and complete information provided on the MorganAsh report, there is no need to collect any GPRs or put consumers through the inconvenience of medical tests.  99% of cases are underwritten from the Tele-Interview alone.

As confidence built with MorganAsh, service improvements were introduced, including removing the need for a “wet” signature from the consumer, and removing checks on amended interview reports once they were returned by the consumer.

Once the Tele-Interview is returned then the case is normally underwritten and given terms within 48-72 hours.  This means that for 99% of cases the total turn around time for Shepherds new business underwriting is less than a week.  This is a significant market differentiator over companies that still collect GPR and medical tests on a regular basis. The only cases that cannot be underwritten within a week are due to the client delaying their Tele-Interview, or they are waiting for the results of some medical tests and the underwriting is postponed until these results are known. More recently Shepherds have moved, with the support of MorganAsh, to enabling the intermediary to electronically book the tele-underwriting appointment time for their customer.

Volumes have doubled year on year and with the introduction of their simple Income Protection product Shepherds are expected to continue to grow at this rate.

 “The great benefit is the turn round time, as we no longer have to go out for GPRs or medicals, everything is included within the MorganAsh interview report.  We can provide intermediaries with what they want – quick accurate underwriting decisions.”

Val Brookes: Claims and Underwriting  Manager  

 “Partnering with MorganAsh has been a great success, we have received a first class service ever since we started and the partnership has been central to our success in the intermediated market place.  We have had only one complaint in over 5 years!!”

“The thoroughness of the interview and our underwriting process means we have more confidence to pay out our claims, and our claims experience is better than we expected, allowing us to improve our morbidity reserving.”

Geoff Spencer, Chief Executive

 


“Partnering with MorganAsh has been a great success, we have received a first class service ever since we started, and the partnership has been central to our success in the intermediated market place. We have had only one complaint in over 5 years!!”

Geoff Spencer, Chief Executive
  • Faster processing of applications (with reduced need for GPRs)
  • Reduced non-disclosure
  • Signature free
  • More informed underwriting decisions
  • Proved: Tele-interviews provide sufficient information to enable underwriting without GPRs for many situations
  • Non disclosure varied with occupation class from 20%-35%

Friends Life linked up with MorganAsh to provide a Tele-interviewing service to speed up income protection applications and reduce non-disclosure.

Friends Life is a leading provider of Income Protection in the UK and primarily sells through the IFA channel.

MorganAsh qualified and experienced nurses undertake the interviews, at a time and place to suit the consumer.

Friends life adopted a “small t” approach and changed their medical limits, reducing reliance on GPRs. After extensive piloting with MorganAsh during 2006-7, Friends Life proved that nurse Tele-interviews do provide sufficient information to enable underwriting without GPRs for many situations.

Further, Friends Life also showed where a Tele-Interview is better value than nothing at all. Indeed, they redesigned their evidence structure completely.  Notably they uncovered the justification for varying by occupation class.

Friends Life results showed that material non-disclosure did vary with age, increasing from 25% to 33%. However, more significant was the variation in material non-disclosure with occupation class, ranging from 20% to 35%.  This is consistent with other companies where the variation with age is small.

As a result of the evidence and the analysis, Friends Life have radically changed their medical limits, after agreement with their reinsurer Swiss Re, and now differentiate the collection of further medical evidence based on the occupation class of the applicant.

The impact is that evidence is actually required on more cases overall, although GPRs will be required in fewer cases. The increase will improve disclosure as some cases which would have required no further evidence will now have a Tele-interview.

 


“The new Tele-interviewing service will speed up processing which will benefit advisers and it will enable us to gather more detailed information about the applicant’s health. This will benefit the customer as it means we can make a more informed underwriting decision. Most importantly, there is less chance that a claim will be disputed and we believe this will reduce non-disclosure.”

Mark Jones; protection products and actuarial manager at Friends Provident

PG Mutual are a specialist Income Protection insurer. Their origins lie with the pharmacy industry.  Over the last few years they have re-focused their distribution to partnering with multiple professional organisations.

PG Mutual started working with MorganAsh in 2007 and have used the Tele-interview service ever since.  This has been highly successful, reducing claims and speeding up the application process.

 

"What I like about MorganAsh, is that they bring innovation and value to our business. They are far more than just a supplier. They are a true partner."

Mike Perry, CEO, PG Mutual


"The MorganAsh service is fantastic"

Elisa Ashford, Operations Manager


Never disappoint a consumer.

Maintain brand integrity.

Improve conversion rates.

We provide a sales process for complex cases that struggle through D2C on-line systems to ensure:

  1. All consumers, including the ill, have a satisfactory experience
  2. Any declines are offered insurance if possible
  3. Complex cases do not clog up a slick processes

This is a great fit for:

  1. Complex medical cases that are declined
  2. Complex cases that require manual underwriting
  3. Cases that do not receive an automated quotation

Hence, important brands are not tarnished by consumers struggling to progress through a process which is not optimal for their circumstances. While every process is different they often include:

  • Indicative underwriting at the beginning of the process to manage affordability expectations
  • A full medical Tele-interview to gather complex medical information
  • A personal approach, being able to adapt to individuals
  • Inbuilt qualification at every level to ensure efficiency
  • Full underwriting

The service is typically undertaken on a commission share basis, and either on a brokered basis to the market, or as a dedicated service for a single insurer.


Keep costs flexible

We provide:

  • On-line application forms
  • Automated and manual underwriting
  • Full medical evidence and underwriting service for both new business and claims.

We provide a complete service, with our own IT systems and staff.

 

Omni-underwriting

Omni, or multi channel underwriting, is the provision of underwriting by multiple channels

  • On-line, smartphone
  • Telephone, web chat
  • Automated and manual underwriting

 

Improve speed of manual underwriting

Using Tele-Interviewing and experienced underwriters, insurers can enjoy complex manual underwriting decisions in hours, without compromising risk management and disclosures

 

Full or ad hoc service

We provide our services as an ad hoc provision or on a completely outsourced underwriting service. This can be a perfect fit to automated on-line rules driven processes.

 

Powered by secure IT

Cloud based systems use modern encryption and security. Systems are transparent, so companies can see actions being undertaken in real-time, not waiting for days.

 

Keep in control

Full monthly management information is provided, so companies know service levels are being delivered.

 

Reduce cost of new business underwriting

Our Underwriting solution reduces underwriting costs by up to 35% less than traditional approaches.

  • Reduces medical evidence by up to 50%
  • Reduces reinsurance rates by up to 5%
  • Increases sales conversion rates considerably

 

Keep costs in line with revenues

With contracts based on transactional volumes, costs are kept in line with revenues.

 


Tele-underwriting is the use of a telephone interview as the primary means of gathering risk-related information about an applicant for life and health assurance. It delivers benefits to all areas of the business process:

Consumers:-

  • Enjoy a simpler, fairer and faster process
  • Are relieved of the arduous task of completing long application forms

Advisers:-

  • Enjoy an effortless and faster process, allowing them to concentrate on advising clients

Insurers:-

  • Increase the number of policies and the speed at which they are placed "on the books"
  • Reduce the number of expensive GPRs by up to 70%
  • Reduce reinsurance costs up to 5%
  • Improve the quality of business
  • Increase premiums from more higher rated cases with disclosures and increased numbers of smokers

Regulatory bodies:

  • Favour the use of objective and validated information for risk management
  • Favour the transparency and audit trails

We operate our own interview engines, or interview into existing interview/underwriting engines.

The MorganAsh Tele-Interview service has proved to reduce non-disclosure, compared to other application processing methods.

We know this as:

  1. Statistical studies show that more information is collected by the MorganAsh interview.
  2. Claims statistics due to non-disclosure have been eliminated
  3. Our customers have reduced their reserves for potential claims
  4. We have never had a case be presented to the appropriate legislative body (Financial Ombudsman Service in the UK).

The following is the combined results of statistical studies across insurance companies in the UK and Ireland.  The study group covered:

  1. 1527 Tele-Interviews assessed for quality and compared against GPRs/PMARs
  2. 9 insurers of different sizes
  3. Life, CI and IP products
  4. Differing distribution channels

Each insurer compared different data sources for the same clients, and then underwrote each case separately.  The results are the combined results from the insurance companies. MorganAsh had no influence in the studies and all such studies were included. Although the analysis did vary between companies the core issues evaluated were consistent:

  1. The levels of non disclosure occurring on Tele-Interview compared with the missing information on a GPR/PMAR.
  2. The reliability and sufficiency of the Tele-Interview for making sound underwriting decisions.
  3. The reliability of the GPR/PMAR for providing the relevant information for underwriting.
  4. The underwriting outcomes that occurred as a result of the Tele-Interview process.

Material non disclosure on the Tele-Interview compared with the GPR

The quality and quantity of the information collected in the Tele-Interview was compared with that received from the corresponding doctor’s report for the same applicant. On detailed review of 1527 Tele-Interviews there was an incidence of significant non disclosure on Tele-Interview of 4% across all products. Looking at the split between the product lines:

Life and CI                 2.8%

IP                              5.4%.

Material missing information on the GPR compared to the TI.

The companies report on where the GPR has material information missing that was available on the Tele-Interview. The significant missing information from the GPRs was 4.8% across all products, and split as below across the product lines:

Life and CI                 3.1%

IP                               8.6%

The overall view by our clients is that the completeness and reliability of the information for making a sound medical assessment from the Tele-Interview is better than a GPR/PMAR.

These figures are summarised on the two graphs below:

Quality of data for Life and CI

Comparing the application form, Tele-Interview and GPR

The results continue to demonstrate that the MorganAsh Tele-Interview far exceeds the application form for quality and breadth of information and is at least as good as the GPR/PMAR.

When comparing the GPR with the Tele-Interview the common areas of weakness with the GPR continue to be:

  1. Family history
  2. Lifestyle
  3. Current status of a condition (often not seen recently by GP)
  4. Height, weight and any recent changes
  5. Recent (new) symptoms
  6. Private consultations – treatment, tests, investigations
  7. Background/explanation of health problems e.g. mental health issues, musculoskeletal conditions/injuries, sexual health etc

Quality of data for IP

Reliability and sufficiency of the TI for making underwriting decisions

Most of the companies involved in the survey kept a record of where the Tele-Interview provided an acceptable or unacceptable underwriting decision. As an average across the companies 96% of Tele-Interviews had no material missing information. For the 4% where the interview failed to provide reliable information, that was material to the risk, this was largely due to deliberate or reckless non disclosure or where the information had changed since the Tele-Interview had taken place.

MorganAsh Tele-Interviewing has consistently shown to provide high quality information. The interviews and subsequent underwriting decisions are sufficiently robust that arguably there is little justification to seek further medical evidence on the back of age or sum assured limits.

Companies and reinsurers should examine why they are insisting on the collection of evidence purely on medical limits basis. These processes are expensive, and reduce the sales of protection. As can be seen from the data above the previous justification on the grounds of non-disclosure is no longer valid when MorganAsh Tele-Interviewing is used.

 

 

MorganAsh has never had a Tele-Interviewed case be presented to the FOS (Financial Ombudsman Service) the UK legislative body, that deals with insurance disputes.

In the book "Consumer Insurance Law: Disclosure, Representation and Basis of the Contract Clauses" Melissa Collett, an Ombudsman at the FOS states:

"The Ombudsman's long standing approach to complaints about non-disclosure is a three-stage one:

  1. Was there a clear question and was it answered incorrectly?
  2. Was the insurer induced?
  3. What kind of non-disclosure was it?

......."The ombudsman does not consider it reasonable to expect consumers to volunteer information, rather it is up to the insurer to ask"

......."If an insurer wishes to rely on non-disclosure as a valid defence to a claim, it must first demonstrate that it asked the consumer at least one clear question to which a wrong answer was given."

Views on face to face meetings

"Face to face meetings are rarely recorded and can often lead to dispute about what was said at the meeting....."

Views on Tele-underwriting

"Given the multifarious disputes that can arise as a result of face to face meetings, for the past several years protection insurers have increasingly used tele-underwriting. There are numerous advantages of completing the application (or at least the medical part) over the phone; primarily that the exact questions asked and answers given are recorded, leaving no room for doubt about what was said.  It also gives greater flexibility for capturing additional information disclosed during the conversation, since the whole conversation is recorded and not just the specific answers to questions.  It also removes the embarrassment factor that is present in face to face meetings, making it easier to discuss and disclose sensitive and personal medical details.  The telephone call is individual to each applicant, so again a husband need not disclose embarrassing or private medical matters in front of his wife and vice versa.  A number of tele-underwriters are trained nurses so know what is medically significant and what it not. The emphasis in tele-underwriting is on probing the applicant to obtain sufficient information, rather than rapid-fire questions and answers in order to get a sale completed. Removing the medical questions and answers form the sale also has the advantage of freeing up the adviser to concentrate on the financial aspects of the sale, which is more within their field of expertise than medical underwriting." 

 

 


We provide underwriting solutions on a bespoke basis to suit your company's requirements. 

Services include:

  • Total outsourced solution utilising all aspects of our underwriting department
  • Independent auditing to ensure standards are maintained and risk exposure is reduced.
  • Short term cover for temporary staff shortages as a result of holidays or sickness
  • Ad hoc Provision of underwriting support during periods of increased work or sales target deadlines

Professional underwriting staff

Our professional experienced staff, with over 15 years underwriting experience of all protection products, can be provided either remotely via secure online system access or within your office environment with stringent QA procedures in place to ensure a high standard of service at all times.

Secure underwriting systems

We use our system MERLIN to track all cases through the processes, setting ourselves reminders to call and chase to improve speed of delivery.

Medical evidence collection

We collect reports from doctors (GPRs/PMARs) and we arrange medicals through our network of doctors and specialists across the UK.

Our underwriting administration team are available to perform all aspects of evidence collection including issuing evidence requests, chasing outstanding reports, receiving and uploading evidence to either our own secure underwriting system MERLIN or to your own online system.


Blog - Future of underwriting - August 18, 2014

Smart underwriting is better than no underwriting Underwriting is out of favour at the moment, and we are seeing a trend towards simplified underwriting, simplified products, shorter questionnaires, and higher priced products taking on more risk ...

Contact

0800 028 0236
info@morganash.com