Legal & General expands teleunderwriting

Nia Williams

September 26, 2008

The insurer aims to reduce the time it will take to make an underwriting decision and thereby issue policies more quickly.

An exclusive deal has been signed with Primecare (part of the Nestor Healthcare Group), a provider of integrated out-of-hours healthcare, to replicate Legal & General’s successful teleunderwriting model on a larger scale. Primecare’s nurses and GPs will follow up on certain disclosures made during the application process and will speak confidentially to applicants over the phone about their medical history. The telephone appointments are made at a time to suit the customer and take a friendly, conversational approach rather than using a script.

Legal & General already speaks to hundreds of customers per week about disclosures made on their application forms. Primecare gives Legal & General the capacity to cover four more medical conditions through its telephone service immediately, with the promise of more to follow by the end of 2008.

Russ Whitworth, underwriting and claims director said: “We see the benefit of using telephone based interviewing to cover medical history because people feel comfortable talking with a medical professional over the phone. It allows us to get a clear picture of someone’s medical background, which reduces the need for us to request GP reports. This means that applications are processed more quickly and the likelihood of non-disclosure is reduced. The deal with Primecare Primary Care will greatly increase our capacity for teleunderwriting.”

Legal & General’s ‘little t’ teleunderwriting service is not designed to replace the medical underwriting questions on an application (as with ‘big T’), but to follow up on those common disclosures such as ‘blood pressure’ or ‘heart murmur’ made on an application. In certain circumstances, it is quicker and more efficient to take this approach rather than request medical evidence, and the reliance on GP reports to underwrite the majority of medical conditions is becoming a thing of the past.

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