Lincoln Financial Group is set to launch tele-interviewing for its flexible menu-based protection product Financial Foundations following a successful pilot which delivered significant benefits for financial advisers and clients.
The new service launches on 17 March and is being run in partnership with MorganAsh, UK market leader in tele-interviewing. The new service has been extensively tested since August last year and is aimed at reducing processing turnaround times and enhancing Lincoln’s reputation for service excellence.
Results from the pilot scheme showed a significant drop in non-disclosure rates compared with the old application forms system.
Keith Robertson, chief underwriter at Lincoln Financial Group,said: “The industry has struggledwith the issues around non-disclosure for some time now. Tele-interviewing provides a significant opportunity for clients to provide the relevant information we need in a convenient manner. We have always paid out on valid claims and have never sought to refuse payment because of the non-disclosure of irrelevant information. However, we are always keen to improve our business process so that we can deliver better service to financial advisers and their clients.
“We are delighted to be working with MorganAsh and believe their systems will enable us to enhance the experience of financial advisers who deal with us.”
Andrew Gething, managing director at MorganAsh, said: “Our strategy is not only to reducenon-disclosure but to make buying protection easier. Lincoln is making a contribution to the industry’s ongoing commitment to improving consumer confidence.”
Significantly, the pilot scheme for tele-interviewing showed that requests for further information from the client’s doctor were cut by almost two thirds compared with the previous system. Clients were willing to provide more personal health details during the tele-interview than they would in a face-to-face interview with an adviser.
The greater level of disclosure meant that the risk of incorrect underwriting decisions was reduced and the time taken to place the business was cut. Just a small percentage of tele-interview-based decisions differed from decisions taken after getting information from the client’s doctor.
Lincoln’s Financial Foundations is a specialist multi-benefit protection product, providing whole of life cover in one place, under one wrapper, including income protection and critical illness.
The menu also includes elderly care cover, a unique protection benefit which can provide valuable pre-funded provision for elderly care financial planning, but it is not designed nor classed as a long-term care product as defined by the FCA.
Financial Foundations allows financial advisers to provide their clients with a flexible approach to protection planning; clients can add or remove from the product menu, amounts can be increased or decreased at any time with no additional administration charge (satisfactory health evidence may be required), premiums can be set up on a minimum or standard basis, or single premium and cover plans can be pre-funded or targeted to last for a specific term. It aims to provide complete lifetime flexibility and retention and can also offer clients a potential inheritance tax planning solution.