NAILBA Perspectives 2021 Q3 - Page 34

ACCELERATED UNDERWRITING

Driving towards a better customer experience

A few years ago , it was typical to see $ 1 million as the high end for an accelerated program . Now some carriers are at $ 2 million and even $ 3 million .
Bill Wysong has been in underwriting for over 35 years , 15 of those with Transamerica and has served as their Chief Underwriter Officer for the last 13 years . He lives in the Dallas , TX area with his wife Julia and their kids .
Throughout the industry , nonmedical underwriting efforts have greatly increased over the past five years . Since COVID , there has been a marked increased interest in developing processes for customers that are significantly less invasive . I believe for higher face amounts ; it may be a while before anyone is completely comfortable relying solely on data sources alone . But several carriers have begun to redefine what level of risk they are willing to accept , applying just those data sources in the underwriting process . A few years ago , it was typical to see $ 1 million as the high end for an accelerated program . Now some carriers are at $ 2 million and even $ 3 million .
Improving processes
The amount and the quality of data have changed during this period , too . What you see today is more structured data that a carrier can easily use in a decision engine , thereby automating processes and driving toward a better customer experience . There is also an effort on the part of many vendors to provide services that will help producers quickly fill out applications by accessing available customer data to pre-fill parts of the application . Vendors have certainly become very aware of carrier needs and are actively looking for ways to create value for their customers . As a result , we all benefit by creating a better experience for the ultimate customer : the insured .
Redefining the “ Gold Standard ”
As data availability becomes more common and we develop clear ways to structure that data in a usable way , a carrier will be able to make faster , more accurate decisions that will benefit the customer , the producer , and the carrier itself . We still haven ’ t seen the full benefits of electronic medical records ( EMRs ), but they are likely to have a big impact on any number of the nonmed processes in place today . Medical records have long been considered our gold standard for underwriting . Once we have the ability to collect medical data , aggregate , organize , and eventually score it , everything changes . Right now , the cost for EMRs is much lower than a normal set of medical records . Combine that with reduced expenses from fewer additional requirements and process improvements , and carriers may get comfortable taking on more risk .
Picking up the pace
The industry has been changing at a pace that ’ s never been seen before . Underwriting remains a critical part of the process , but it may look different in the future . Developing a process that makes the buying experience quicker , less invasive , and is highly focused on customer needs , while also providing an accurate risk selection process is key . Building the right accelerated programs will benefit insureds , producers , and carriers alike by improving cycle times and increasing placement rates , as long as we can also maintain mortality assumptions .
34 Perspectives Q3 2021